Bring It On Home

I feel like I’d be happy if I could get rid of the things that bother me.

My right shoulder hurts. It’s been bugging me for a year or so now. I’ve tried two different types of physical therapy recently, and if anything it’s gotten worse. I figure my pain-free range of motion is down by about half.

So, I’m about half pissed off.

There are other things that bother me. I’d have to turn the lights out and go down to the basement, get on my belly and do a low crawl underneath all the other crap I keep down there in order to come eye-to-eye with some of that shit.

I’d be happy if none of this was on my mind. But it keeps coming up – my shoulder gives me a stab; somebody reads something on my face or in my voice and says, What aren’t you saying? and I don’t want to talk about it.

  • don’t want to think about it
  • don’t want anyone else to think about it
  • doesn’t fit with what I want to think of myself
  • doesn’t fit with what I want you to think of me

Something in my…

  • experience
  • attitude
  • behavior

that I don’t like
that hurts
that I don’t want to claim as mine

But I know enough to know I want some movement on this. So it gets me thinking about what wholeness means, and healing.

There’s that bible story about the guy who cashes in his inheritance and leaves home. He walks away from all his responsibility and goes on an extended binge. One morning he wakes up at the bottom of a pig pen hungover and broke, sleeping with the hogs, and says to himself, Whoa. I might have messed up. So he goes back to the farm, because he’s got nowhere else to go. His brother sees him coming up the driveway and thinks, Man, the old man is going to tear him a new one. Instead, the old man throws him a party.

One of me is sleeping it off in a pig pen somewhere.

I don’t want you to know who he is.

A few weeks ago I posted about a recent experience at Kripalu (Hit Me With A Brick).

At first I thought it was a bad experience.
Then I thought it was a good experience.
Now I just think it was intense.

I’m still receiving lessons from all of that. And one of those is that there is always something going on that isn’t about the circumstances.

We can walk around in pieces, embarrassed or hurt or angered by this or that aspect of ourselves, postponing contentment until that elusive day when all is resolved – no more bad habits, no regrets, no more achy shoulders. I’m trying to work a different way. I’m trying to stop calling parts of myself bad – or good. When I sum something up that way, the summing up itself changes the experience of the thing. It starts expectations developing that cloud my view. Once I call something bad, it gets hard to see anything but bad in it. Same with calling something good.

More important is to bring it all home. This calls for nirodhah – cessation. I want to cease discontent.

I’m thinking right now that this bit of consciousness that I am has been given the great gift of existence. I have body, mind and spirit – life in this beautiful world – and it seems a bit arrogant to say that some part of it doesn’t meet my expectations. The straight-arrow brother in the bible story had some entitlement issues. (His father led him to light on that, so no worries.) Maybe that’s my problem. Doesn’t matter. I can put that problem together with all the others and say, Welcome home.

This is not to say there aren’t things to work on. But I want to work on them without prejudice. My basement is full. I need to start bringing things upstairs. There’s a Rumi line – Joseph looked ugly to his brothers/ and most handsome to his father. I want to be the wise father who sees the beauty in all of his children.

And from there… to see the beauty in all and everything.

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20 responses to “Bring It On Home

  1. Life’s so horribly gloriously messy. Glad you’re giving up discontent and judgment (good v. bad). It all just is… Congrats on being whole and letting your skeletons out for a hug. That’s usually all they ever wanted anyway… Then they stop haunting you 😉

    I see you as… Courageous.

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  2. It is so much easier to love others than to love ourselves. totally unconditionally without saying: only if you never grow old and wrinkly and never hurt. we know and don’t care to see what is there. Help me to see what is there and to observe it without judging.
    brother you say it all so well. i”m sharing this with everyone I know.

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  3. The cessation of discontent….yes… You’re not alone, and by putting this on your blog people who read it – myself included – are invited to feel a little more relaxed into the space between good and bad.

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      • Thanks Auntie. Sometimes I get nervous that things aren’t as universal as I imagine and people reading my stuff will say – Whoa, this guy needs help. So thanks for the reassurance! And yes, the “disconnect”… nothing surprises us, right?

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        • I’m always a little amazed by how so many people say things that reflect how I’m feeling at any given moment. Often people keep things to themselves and we don’t know what others are feeling, but quite often someone will say something and I’m like, “Whoa…” You don’t need help, you have all the help you need 🙂

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  4. Bharat

    I can’t tell you what a gift it is to share in your unfolding, your inquiry. Your honesty is touching and resonates. You know, we all have to do this thing you are doing, go down in the basement and root around. Well we don’t have to but if we want to grow, if we want to know real love and compassion that is where we must travel. Your writing is bold and gripping, it is purely you. I can hear you speaking these words as I read like we are just hanging out in the Kripalu cafe. Genuine and wow!!

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  5. Dear one…know that no matter what you unearth in your basement, no matter what deep dark demons follow you up the stairs into your sanctuary, no matter what may perch upon your shoulder and scream into your ear, know that you are loved and cherished. No holds barred, no questions asked, no judgements made. Just a warm smile, loving heart, twinkling eyes and open arms await.

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  6. There is a field, I’d like to meet you there. If I could only remember where it was. I was there once. It’s gotta be round here someplace…

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    • Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
      There is a field. I’ll meet you there.

      When the soul lies down in that grass,
      the world is too full to talk about.
      Ideas, language, even the phrase each other
      doesn’t make any sense.
      ~ Rumi

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  7. O fer chrissakes! You are simply the sanest person I never met. You plug up the hole in the universe that wanderers like me fall through. This is one true story. I see that I’m in it too. That’s how I know for sure.

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  8. I go through phases when I am content with my discontent- at least in a way that I think feels like non-attachment. And then, something will trigger me and my shenpa is showing for the world to see, and then I itch and scratch…. Such a beautiful, ugly, crazy, glorious struggle this life is. Thanks Bharat.

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  9. It is all of that, isn’t it – what Zorba the Greek called “the whole catastrophe.” And, I’m not sure that it could be any other way. We have to do our work. Thanks, Oneika.

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