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Archive for the ‘Abandonment’ Category

Dancing on the Edges of my Perfect Imperfections

Dancing on the Edges of my Perfect Imperfections

Dancing on the edges of my perfect imperfections, with each sweeping step I slough off a little more of the dusty, caked on layers of experience from my past to love and see my partner and my self more clearly.

Love brings up all that is in its way to clear the path back to love.

An intimate relationship with our partner, children, or family members is a perfect place to get a good look at the unconscious soot that has covered our hearts and clouded our thinking.

“Dancing on the edges of my perfect imperfections.” It sounds so poetic, doesn’t it? Yet in those brief, chaotic moments of experiencing my judgements, heart closing down, or projection of my fears on my partner, I am far from feeling elegant or Rumi-like.

Love brings up all that is in its way to clear the path back to love.

Where else could I get such a quick and thorough dose of my own medicine?

Our nervous system is hijacked (fight, flight, freeze) when we’re triggered by something deeply unconscious, or mildly or severely traumatic (I recommend books and videos by Dr. Peter Levine PhD http://www.traumahealing.com/somatic-experiencing/peter-levine.html, trauma recovery through Somatic Experiencing). It is like being pulled out to sea in an undertow. We long for the safety of the shoreline, but there we stay thrashing about for what is usually a little while, but may feel like an eternity.

Self awareness is key to coming back to shore. We can feel and sense into part of our body that feels grounded and peaceful – a technique to stay present to what is real and what is happening to us. Attention to the breath is often a wonderful place to anchor ourselves to the moment, but at these times of heightened reactivity our erratic breath may not be the best anchor.

Conscious relationship IS a daring path to enlightenment for some of us. I think it is a warrior’s path to enlightenment – not for the meek or weak-hearted.

I am grateful for all the master teachers out there that put themselves through hell to share tools for working with ourselves (Robert Augustus Masters http://www.RobertMasters.com, Dr. Peter Levine, Lorin Roche, jsut to name a few.)
I am grateful that in this lifetime, I am naturally committed to taking responsiblity for my reactions through deep reflection, meditation, or consulting with friends or therapists.

I will end with a poem by Lorin Roche (http://www.LorinRoche.com)…

“You don’t have to change yourself.
You don’t have to sit still.
You don’t have to sit cross-legged.
You don’t have to make your mind blank.
You don’t have to calm down.”

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My good  friend Pattie wrote me this today. What a great phrase. She is my biggest fan, but maybe she should be a writer, too.

Yes, it is true. I have been to hell and back…hate to admit that, but it’s true. And who hasn’t in one way or another.

It is good to be back, though. And if hell comes again, I know that I can “unlike” it or “unfriend” it, like I do on in modern times facebook. Or simply be fully with it, and experience it like I have in the past. This juicy stuff of life never ends!

Sticky, and juicy.

Stephanie Pappas, author

Christmas 2011

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Freedom from the Leash

Freedom from the Leash

Letting go of the leash we grip onto leads to spiritual, mental, and emotional health. It frees us and those we love to let go and not hold too tightly. Lyrics to so many songs come to mind as I write this. It may be my most cliche yoga blog yet.

Letting go of the leash applies to our relationships with animals, people, houses, jobs, identities, expectations and sticky attachments of any kind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that attachment is unhealthy. But I have caused myself much emotional/mental pain and drama in the past, when I clinged too tightly, and have watched my friends suffer immensely.

After almost 3 weeks containing (as per the veterinarian’s suggestion) my recently immigrated kitty Franki from Mexico in our new Lambertville apartment, and walking him on a harness and leash in the yard, I let him go free. In Mexico, he is free to come in and out as he pleases, but he grew up there and knows the turf. He speaks Spanish. Many people told me to keep in inside. “Don’t risk it,” they warned.

For those of you who love animals, you know how tricky this can be, and know the fear of losing your beloved animal forever to unknown dreadful elements in your neighborhood.

I let him out anyway. I wanted us both to be healthy and free.

The first time I let him out he ran up the tree outside the kitchen window, as if to quickly conquer the looming Maple he had been drooling over for three weeks. Then he ran back in. I was delighted. I gave him a treat.

The second time he munched some grass, sniffed a little, and then ran back in. I was delighted. I gave him a treat.

But last night was different. We were both outside in the cool misty rain, and I turned my back for a second – he was gone.

Funny how small things like this can bring back memories of losing other things and people. I lay in bed and noticed the thoughts and little worries, but didn’t buy into them. However, I admit that I got up every half hour to see if he was around, but he wasn’t.

I finally surrendered to sleep with a sense of trust and confidence as I remembered that old, over-used expression, “If you love something let it go, if it comes back, it was meant to be, if not, it wasn’t meant to be with you.” Or something like that.

I suppose in yogic terms I would interpret it more like, “Hey, we are all living out our own karma, our own unique path and destiny. Don’t take it personally if I go.”

After two hours, I woke up and went out to call him again. It was still raining, dark, and cold. He was nowhere in sight. Then after a few minutes he playfully peeked his head over the edge of the second floor rooftop above me and meowed. Running down  two flights of steps and into the kitchen, he was back.

I was delighted. I gave him a treat.

Franki Goes to Lambertville

Franki Goes to Lambertville

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Those last moments together become suspended and frozen in time when we say goodbye. Big, hot sensations and a choking lump overwhelming the throat . The mysteriousness of life saturates the space as we look past the eyes to the souls behind them. Lots of questions flash through the mind about our destiny, chance and fate.

What will the next days, weeks and months hold for us on our separate, but connected journey?

When I see you again who will I be? Will life harden or soften me in the time in between?

And then there is that unsettling emptiness after the departure. A little numb, a little sad; the one left behind returns to the duties of the day while thinking about the talks, the experiences, and the exchanges. The last minute phone calls at the airport seem like a desparate attempt to reassure the connection through space and distance.

Lots of space. Lots of silence. Longing and love, love and longing go together in that Sanskrit chant, “Radhe govinda, govinda radhe.”

That is the WAY of it.

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Heavy heart, weight of my body on the matress, nauseous, waiting for something to happen. Suspended.

Vacant, weepy, wispy, listening to my longer exhalations.

Feeling vulnerable eating alone at the cafe today. Abandoned, but by whom?

I trace the feeling inward and backward, and back, and back, but all I find is pure sensation and a few childhood memories of being home alone sick with strep throat.

Why did I stefwalkmexopt1wake up to this today? It’s just a day like any other. The kitten wants to eat, and is trying every mischievous trick he knows to distract me from my pursuit of lonely sensation.

Let the feelings be there.

No strings attached.

No thoughts attached.

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