A short pre-and post-lude surrounds a reading of an essay written four years ago, still beautifully relevant and soothing today.
And here is the text for “Obediance, originally published 10-5-12
DEEPLY AWAKE – OBEDIANCE
I have been writing long epistles, and although cathartic and multi-layered, and therefore satisfying, today I am jotting notes on my disobedience and return to center, sparked by a movie on Ayurveda I decided to watch this morning. I want this to be breif. I ask your forbearance if it is not.
Let me preface by saying that I let myself down so profoundly yesterday, and so, have felt very low. I had watched the debates, and I felt such panic, such turmoil as a result. I was deeply unkind to my neighbor, a rabid Republican, and my unkindness had been completely unprovoked. I made a very bad choice, and hurt my friend deeply. I hope she can forgive me, but I an uncertain that she will.
Driving home this morning from dropping my son off from school, I was told that this is not karma, this was a gift my neighbor had agreed to give me, so that I could learn what was to follow. We were complete, and although the person I know as neighbor may continue to be hurt even after all good measures of redress, her bigger self is in complete alignment and love.
I scanned how I felt, the event, the aftermath, and my body. I did not feel a heaviness, but instead a sort of a mini spin, kind of an opening, and then I felt clear. I knew that what I had been told, or intuited, was true, and I thanked and blessed my neighbor as I finished my short trip.
Once settled back in the documentary, I was introduced in small increments to a knowledge I have long forgotten. I was watching a woman assist an Ayurvedic physician, and watched how the physician laid on hands with the patient, and I was struck, really awed, by their obedience. They were highly respectful, and highly obedient to someone who was not even in the room.
This flooded me with how this feels. In my best moments, I am ultra obedient. This is the way. I remembered my childhood (I have long, fearful gaps, don’t have much memory of ages 2-12, always said I “woke up” at 12. I remember the precise moment it happened. But that is a different story for a different day. I’m tired and want to get through that now.), and how obedient I was. I was described as a perfect baby, a “good girl,” someone who never looked for trouble, and often got punished for misunderstandings.
I remembered, while watching these holy people, that I felt highly obedient, but not to my teachers, and especially not toward my parents. I considered them train wrecks, unpredictable and sometimes completely unreadable people who often acted at cross purposes with each other and with any kind of reason.
I was obedient to myself. I did not steal, lie or cheat. I let other kids win games. I befriended blind children, those with disabilities.
I see now I was much like these healers. I was obedient to God, and God alone was in charge. I knew that. I lived that.
Then there were disturbances which I really do not want to discuss. I struck out on my own. No one around me felt I was going to succeed, but I felt confident I would be OK. What followed were confounding, upsetting and unimagined difficulty. I succeeded at my studies, but I failed miserably with others. I found a few good friends, but I was lost. I felt I was unable to tolerate the strong feelings, needs and urges of others. I felt I had no control over what happened to me, surrounded as I was with people who completely overpowered me, tricked me, and manipulated me. No one was honest. No one apologized. No one looked inside themselves.
It was awful. I lost my way. I drank and drugged and stumbled through the next thirty years. I always showed up, 200%, for work, for school. That has always been my salvation. The one place I can go where everything makes sense, where people are forced to be kind and honest, or as kind and honest as they possibly can be.
Being so confounded, so confused by life, by relationship and all the lying and ugliness that went on, I made some mistakes. I took these mistakes very hard, and began to feel that God had indeed abandoned me. I had tried to live a good life, to be kind and just with others, and after a while, I decided that I was done doing that. God was not rewarding me for this. I was getting crapped on with regularity, and I was making bigger mistakes.
So, I decided, I think, to go large with it.
I decided to just take my hands completely off the wheel. That was after the Teachers left, and I went through a particularly bad break up. I decided to give up. I decided to get as dirty and as rebellious as I wanted. It did not matter, I told myself. I am down here on my own, I am not being supported, so I might as well go large.
And I did.
And today, looking back over the fabric of my life, feeling the texture of the weave as I run my fingers over babyhood, pregnancy, working NICU, high school, divorce court, 6th grade, I appreciate the knobs and bumps in the weave, and where the fabric is as smooth as satin.
I have lived a disobedient life. Since I came to womanhood, I have rebelled against my God. The God within me. I have become more and more bitter, convinced so thoroughly that I was alone, and punished randomly, even though I still tried to be a decent person.
This, I guess, is victimhood.
But that term is an almost pejorative one. It implies, at least in metaphysical circles, that the person getting crapped on is secretly, consciously, calling the crap to her.
That is not so.
I interpreted early misfortune and lack of skill as punishment, for many reasons. Unable to stanch the flow of interpersonal pain and financial worry, ill-equipped at the skills which make “success” so relatively easy for others, this early misinterpretation deepened, twisting into the belief that I do not matter. My actions are not being seen or felt by God, he is no longer guiding me, so nothing I do really matters in the bigger scheme of things.
That was my philosophy until today.
I see now that obedience is indeed something I have not practiced since I was a child. That deep obedience, where I can truly suffer any indignity, any humiliation, any surprise or defeat, because what comes to me in the form of another is really just God. And the person, the one with the face, he may not understand that. He may act badly, cruelly, wantonly, but that is not God doing that. That is the person’s littlemind. I can suffer anything now, because I understand that God is working through all things, God is the police officer ranting at me,. He is the relative who still cannot stop punishing me for their own transgressions. It is the boss who insists I work, when to do so means I miss out on a deeply meaningful religious practice. It is the teacher who is trying so hard to get through to my son. And God is my son, sleeping deeply, exhausted after a day of trying to figure out what it means to be twelve.
I can see through or past the bad behavior now. I can no longer take it personally. I wish to be obedient, This means not only listening to the messages I receive, but it means acting in my life in a better way, a different way. I no longer want to act as if I believe that God is not with me. That means there are a few things I will need to rectify, a few debts I will have to pay, and a lot of physical work to clean up my environment.
But I now see that even though housekeeping and bookkeeping are things which usually throw me into fits of purple rebellion, such anger, such rage I feel when cleaning my house (!!!!), and this reaction is so odd, so strange, that I have really been at a loss. I had to hire a housekeeper the last several years because I cannot tolerate housework, and I have made an unholy mess of my finances. Just awful.
I understand now why this is so.
Why not see how far I can go with this misery, with this non-commitment, with this rebellion. Why not explore rebellion, deep disdain for authority, willingness to buck systems and “tell it like it is”:
Those are behaviors of a petulant child who needs a cuddle and a nap. That is behavior of someone who does not understand her own value. This is not about power or competence or perfectionism. No. I used to think so, but no. This has to do with an ancient being in a soft, vulnerable body, making dumb mistakes and being hurt by others. It is the story of each of us ancients. We came in clear and Christ-like. We have each had our own personal crucifixion, from being and feeling love and support to being betrayed, to being tried, and now we are moments from our final breath extinguishing from our wracked bodies. We have done a number to ourselves, each of us, perhaps.
I recognize now that all of this has a divine purpose. I do not believe that I alone could have set all of this up. This drama has been far too rich and multi-layered and mysterious to have been set up by me. Such arrogance such a belief requires! No, God has given me this with my cooperation, so that I can bring it back to him, so that he may thrill and know and understand and love. God loves me in my broken times and now, when I am feeling more whole. God loves me so much that he had me go through all of that, melding and presenting and destroying in my swirl of days, just so that I can be given the opportunity to notice him, to see that he was never gone, that he was creating it as we went, through my skin and nerves and heart.
This has been a grand symphony, a highly dramatic and allegorical life, one which has taught me a tremendous amount.
And now when I say it is clean up time, I really do mean it.
I do not resent my messes now. And I do not resent myself for having made them. And I do not resent God for having allowed them in the first place. Now is the time to see the messes as God, as a co-creation with the Divine. Now I clean, obediently, reverently.
I wish to be obedient to God. I wish to have my life reflect the deep honor and love I have for God. Therefore, I will conduct myself accordingly. I can allow all things. I can forgive all things. I can know all things. God is mine, and I am God’s. I love God and want to show this love through my actions toward myself and my fellow man. If my fellow man acts in a crazy way, a way that is out of balance with an understanding that he is indeed God, and God is creating his life and his very emotions and urges, then I can no longer hate or reject him. I have been there. I have done that. I have done worse.
I wish to show no anger, believe no bitterness, acting only from my understanding of what obedience really means. I will now return from whence I came, a state where I could accept and deal with pretty much the worst one human can do to another without insanity or even a hiccup of bad behavior. How wonderful it is to be certain, to know, that there has now been a completion, a coming together of the circle, so the need to bear great burdens is lessened now. I know now that this is no longer the time to take on anothers’ pain, and to bless and release my own.
I will love my brother into completion in the full knowledge of my worth, and therefore will simply not resonate with anger, fear, jealousy or any of the other substratum of hell we are so eagerly invited to sample here on Earth. I will return to my wonder, my willingness, my awe at a world so complex and utterly beautiful, that it is impossible not to find something which allows my soul to hum, allows my heart to beat for and with my creator, my friend, my God.