The above words from Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa's Kundalini Rising: Exploring The Energy of Awakening speak to me. I'm experiencing a lot of that lately. Things speaking to me. I have opened me to all of it and I am receiving a lot. Some is simply mind blowing, like, I know and feel that the universe is definitely talking to me kinda thing. And the other some is also the universe giving and me feeling it and it feels like shit. Like the worse feeling and you're thinking "Maybe I don't actually want to feel this much". But I do. I want the uncomfortable. I want the pain. I want the love. I want the joy. The sadness. The happy. All of it. ALL of those feelings tell me I am alive and that I am needed here.
In this time in my life I feel a pure vibration humming through me. It's both healing and unnerving. It's one of those vibrations that I want and love but at the same time it's so intense it's painful. I guess you could even say it's orgasmic because that's kinda that same feeling. Pleasure, pain, ecstasy. Wanting it and yet not sure if you want it because you have no idea of the intensity of it.
I am reading this book right now by Pema Chödrön , When Things Fall Apart, and it is intensifying that vibration in me in a serious way. I can feel myself just becoming one with the Divine because that Divine is already in me, already there, part of me. And it's this Divine that I embrace. It's emanating throughout all of me. It's affecting everything, down to my tears of despair. And in those moments, instead of turning away from that despair, which is almost always accompanied by fear, I push into it. As painful and as frightening as it is, I push into those sharper edges of life. Pema Chödrön described what everyone should be doing with their fear in a way I had never really thought about but am experiencing right now.
What we're talking about is getting to know fear, becoming familiar with fear, looking it right in the eye- not as a way to solve problems, but as a complete undoing of old ways of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and thinking. The truth is that when we really begin to do this, we're going to be continually humbled. There's not going to be much room for arrogance that holding on to ideals can bring. The arrogance that inevitably does arise is going to be continually shot down by our own courage to step forward a little further. The kinds of discoveries that are made through practice have nothing to do with believing in anything. They have much more to do with having the courage to die, the courage to die continually.
The courage to die? Yes. Doing it on a daily basis to keep the old ways from rearing their heads and coming back alive to dominate with fear, self-loathing, unkindness. That's what I move forward with right now. I lost my voice for so many years. I allowed others to dominate me and in place of my voice I put theirs, and any other that pushed theirs upon me. I allowed me to be put in a corner, to live a life that someone else thought I should live, and in turn I believed to be true. So I started to rot. To die. To decay. But my heart wasn't done yet. It craved to be alive again. It craved a new way of seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, thinking...FEELING. And that's what I have done and continue to do. I act with my fear. I don't squash it, I don't hide from it, nor run away from it. I move with it. And because of this, ME is coming alive. I have the courage to die daily to my old ways of doing things. Things that were not ME but someone else. And the ME just didn't groove with how I was living and what I was doing. Now I feel that radiance throughout me and it's healing. Healing. Ahhh...it's so beautiful!!
Another bit about fear I wanted to share from Chödrön's book, When Things Fall Apart, that just struck me because in it's simplicity, it rings so true is that...
Fear is a universal experience. Even the smallest insect feels it. We wade in the tidal pools and put our finger near the soft, open bodies of sea anemones and they close up. Everything spontaneously does that. It's not a horrible thing that we feel fear when faced with the unknown. It is part of being alive, something we all share. We react against the possibility of loneliness, of death, of not having anything to hold on to. Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth. If we commit ourselves to staying right where we are, then our experience becomes more vivid. Things become very clear when there is nowhere to escape...Impermanence becomes vivid in the present moment; so do compassion, and wonder and courage. And so does fear. In fact, anyone who stands on the edge of the unknown, fully in the present without reference point, experiences groundlessness. That's when our understanding goes deeper, when we find that the present moment is a pretty vulnerable place and that this can be completely unnerving and completely tender at the same time.
I'm finding that if I don't press into the sharper parts of life, the parts that hurt and cause discomfort, and instead run away or hide, well, I'm not full. You can't have just the joys, you can't have just peace. There is a balance. Dark and Light. Happy and Sad. Joy and Pain. Love and Loss. It's all about feeling it ALL. Being brave enough to do that. To experience groundlessness.
Groundlessness reminds me of one my adventures I had while out in Hawaii. Everywhere I went for adventures with my adventure partner (A.P) there seemed to be a place to jump. And not just like, off the height of a curb, no, like, an actual jump. Now I don't mind jumping but it's the free fall after I don't like. The feeling of falling, well, it freaks me the hell out. It's uncomfortable and unknown.
The first adventure my A.P. took me on was through a bamboo forest where we hiked back to a waterfall situated among guava trees. Along the way you had to climb several points, swim through water, and then you could get to the waterfall. But, as everyone knows, where you go up, you must come back down. Well, my A.P. is named my adventure partner because not much rocks his boat, well, adventure wise I mean. It's a trait that I have always admired in him, and at the same time it has always scared the hell out of me. It's always been the source of joy and pain in our relationship. He's brave and adventurous and doesn't think twice of doing something, well, at least it appears that way to me, and, well, my heart loves that. And I want to experience it as well, but most of the time I'm sacred shitless. And when I get scared, I get paralyzed in my fear, and this is when he usually pushes and I usually react. And when I say react I mean spew forth burning angry lava. Let's just say he's gotten more than his fair share of my spewing fire. And my fire, when provoked, can destroy. He's done that to me since we were kids, but even though I gave him my fearful anger what it really did inside me was to push me to press into it. I hate that I did that to people in the past, especially him. I react in fearful anger rather than talking through it. And talking is something he has always been willing to do, but I was too busy worrying about being afraid and the unknown that I didn't give that option a chance.
Well, our bamboo hike was no different. We reached a point on our way back where it was safer to jump than to climb down a slippery, rocky bit. The jump wasn't that high, and it was a clear jump straight down into fairly deep water. But I hadn't jumped in a long time. He was playfully teasing me to do it and reminding that it was safer to jump, blah blah blah. I just couldn't make myself do it. And he was looking up at me with one of his looks as he swam in the water below, the one that tells me I'm fighting something I don't need to and he and I both know he's right. Yeah, that look. And I hate that look because it means I'm wrong and I'm going to have to do something that makes me uncomfortable. Well, as I mentioned I spew anger when I am scared. This time was no different. I spoke a very clear, "Fuck you." It was meant to make him back off, leave me alone. I wasn't ready. Strong words. Harsh words. Words I'm not proud of, especially to someone as dear to me as he is but when I'm scared, when most people are scared, the reaction is severe because it is SO uncomfortable. But really and truly in our hearts we feel something different than the reaction we're giving, something probably completely opposite. See, I wanted to jump. I really did. I wanted to jump like him, like, "Hey, no big deal." And it really wasn't a big deal, it was easy. But I psyched myself out and didn't even try. Fear. Ugh.
Several more times became available for me to jump during my stay and our adventures around the island and each time I didn't do it. And each time I wanted to. I was just fearful of the feeling of falling. That unknown feeling. But on the last full day of my stay on the island,my A.P. took me to a remote part of the island, a magical place. We made several stops along our trip and one of them was at a very high jump. And really, it's the only thing to do at this place. You don't go there for any other reason really other than to jump. We had stopped because our day had just been so magical, everything flowing and going our way, and my A.P. wanted to see if this spot was open. The water in this particular place can get quite stagnant. It's fed by the ocean but the way it is next to the land means that the ocean doesn't always fully feed it and keep it moving. This time though the water was moving and grooving and all was go for jumping.
We decided to run the trail back to the jump, and in the course of running my favorite pair of flip flops broke. A sign? Not for me. I was giddy with the love and magic I had felt on the trip and I just picked it up and ran barefoot, my favorite way to have my feet. When we reached the place to jump I wavered. This was the biggest jump of all the jumps I had encountered! Was I seriously thinking about doing this? And the answer is...yes. My A.P., of course, didn't hesitate. J-U-M-P! Off he went. I just stood there looking at the spot he had been standing and "Holy shit." was all I could think.
I was shaking and laughing and just couldn't believe I was actually going to try this. I stripped down to my swimsuit and went to the place he had jumped.The more I stood, looking down from his spot, the more I told myself I couldn't do it. He was just swimming at the bottom, looking up and waiting, as he usually does for me, and then he yelled at me to try it from a lower spot, and pointed to where I could go. I scrambled down the rocks to the point I was to jump. It didn't seem so high. So, I gave myself a pep talk. "You can do this, Lauren. Just do it. Jump. You're not going to die. You're not going to get hurt." That was that. I jumped. And, yes, the free fall feeling still came but I just let go. I let it come to me and then I let it go and enjoyed the ride down. S-P-L-A-S-H!
Freeing is the word that comes to mind. I had freed myself from being paralyzed in my fear. And that wasn't even the coolest part. Remember I told you my sandal broke while getting to the jump point? Well, when my head broke the surface of the water a black flip flop was on my shoulder! At first I thought it was some sea creature but when I grabbed it I realized it was a shoe. I climbed out of the water and up the rocks to the place I had left my clothes and there two feet from my stash of clothes was another flip flop! Each one went to one foot.They weren't quite the same size, one slightly bigger than the other, but they worked and worked well. They had lost their other pairs along the way but here they both were and were a perfect match. Once on no one would even be able to tell that one was bigger than the other.
After tucking my shoes in with my pile of clothes, I went back to jump...again...and again...and again...and again. I didn't want to stop. I never did jump from the highest spot, where my A.P. jumped from, but that was o.k. He did it from where he did it, and I did it where I did it. Different points, different heights but both were where we each needed to jump from but we both landed in the same place, moving water that wasn't stagnant. Just like the flip flops. One slightly bigger (higher) than the other but it worked. We had a blast! My A.P. had to tell me we had to go because there was more to see. I didn't want to but knew he was right...again. So, I did the "One more time, o.k.?" bit and then we left. I was so high from jumping. I couldn't stop smiling. So happy I had done it and the feeling I got from jumping and moving with my fear.
So, the question everyone needs to ask themselves is What Do You Fear? Once you know that, you can sit with it, breathe it in, move with it, live with it, then J-U-M-P ! It's there. It never goes away but you learn to live with it and you operate with it. It doesn't stop you but instead makes those movements more vivid and passionate. Life is an adventure and adventures begin when the unexpected happens. Fear causes some pretty unexpected things. Going with your fear and jumping into it means you'll have one hell of an adventure. I love adventure.