Diary 2/2/20 February
We have transitioned to the second month of the year. Today it was sunny all day, a wonderful rarity, and the temperature got up to fifty-four degrees. I do not object to the effect, only that I surmise the cause for this unseasonable warmth is not good news. I went out to Buttonbush pond to see that the green grasses of fall are way underwater though only the very center of the pond remains covered in ice. Bulbs in their beds are confused about whether to keep sending out shoots or not. Mostly the early bright sprouts are in a kind of suspended animation. There was a strong breeze sweeping in this warm front and by mid-week, it is supposed to drop back to thirty degrees again. I whisper to the gardens as I pass them outside, “Pull up the covers and go back to sleep.” I hope they can hear me.
I have been working with a sentence that was read to us in a small gathering of Quakers on New Year’s Eve. It went, “In our meetings, we gather in silence to sit at the edge of Everything.”
This phrase entered in like such a sharp knife, I barely noticed it had lodged in my heart. My mind tumbled the words around until it felt comfortable. All of my thoughts, my beliefs, my perceptions, and experiences will fall into everything. That feels right. But, then everyone’s thoughts, beliefs, perceptions and experiences fall in as well. All of Ohio’s, the country’s, the world’s, the entire manifest universe- all of it is Everything. So is Nothing part of Everything.
Then my mind is finally stopped. My mind cannot possibly comprehend Everything. That is when the seed planted in the heart of silence took root. In the Silence beyond my mind I taste limitless, spacious unbound Everything. For my mind this is terrifying and there is simultaneously a sense of intense freedom. The edge of Everything is neither comfortable nor uncomfortable. Those sweet tastes radiate from the moment of knowing through to my dense everyday self and brightens the corners where I like to hide. The corners are habitual obfuscation where I imagine that I am other than I am, which is thoroughly human and fallible.
I long for the sharp edges when I am complacent and yet, I am learning to embrace unconditional joy more often as it arises. I am less invested in doing my practice. I am given to and shaken and taken to new places more than I could ever assume that I was responsible for manifesting by myself. Listening in a meeting, sitting with others in silence, purposely sitting on my own or lying down at the interstitial moment between wakefulness and sleep- Everything is itself and I am also Everything.
This was written as a response to the prompt. “If I could”, that I was given in one of my writing groups.
If I Could in an Unraveling World/ 1/14/2020
If I could still happily skip everywhere
like I did as a little girl
despite my dysfunctional family
If I could still climb
two thirds of the way up Mt. Katahdin
as I did on my honeymoon
despite the invisible creep of MS
If I could still split open with joy
at the birth of my two daughters
despite illness closing down my body
If I could relive the moment my husband’s body
was taken from the silence
when I ran into our empty bedroom
laughing AND crying to the only one
who could’ve understood,
“Richard, you’ll never guess what just happened.
If my heart could still bear
I might better remember how
to hold both
unfettered delight in loving my new grandson
and my utter grief
for his apparently unraveling world
P.S. My grandson is two months old today. In twelve days, Richard will be gone for two years