Backstroking Through Vivid Forgiveness

Before I got in the pool this morning, I was ridden with anxiety and fear.  But I knew that even just seeing my life guard James’s kind, smiling face would put my quivering heart at ease.  James.  He is such a good person.  So is Jason, the other half of the dynamic life guard duo.  Even just writing about them right now makes my heart want to explode like the mother of all fireworks.  Because come on… life guards do NOT get paid that much.  It’s not a high profile, glamour job.  I used to consider being a life guard from time to time when I felt desperate and confused about my path… All of the other life guards that work at my pool are way less generous of heart.  They are generally younger and look like they are bored out of their minds and actually resent me for the fact that they are “forced” to be sitting there climbing their own hidden walls for ten dollars an hour.  But not James and Jason.  It’s obvious that they give a flying fuck, a fuck that flies courtesy of a pair of over the top, gossamer wings~ if you saw them you’d wonder if someone slipped some acid in your cappuccino when you had your back turned… I love those kind of winged fucks!

Ahem.  Flying fucks.  James and Jason are some kind of saints or angels in disguise as highly normal men.  But I feel so loved and loving every time I take a morning swim.  Jason and I have this secret hello we exchange, usually as I make my goose bumpy mad dash, fresh and wet from the shower, out into the frigid morning air (that’s right, who’s alive?!?!) in my little two piece athletic swimmy (term of endearment for “swim suit”) and flail into the not quite warm water.  We exchange a modest “wave”, involving the repeated bending and straightening of our right index fingers.  (Goodbye is the pinky).  James is an older black man.  He wears clean, crisp, brand name athletic jumpsuits.  I think he’s missing a tooth or two, and the ones still hanging on to their gums look like they could use some TLC from a dentist.  His finger nails are usually extra long and dirty.  His laugh is deep and resonant.  Rich, slow and gurgling with authentic joy.  It reminds me of a negro spiritual… Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, or Wade in the Water.  Jason… I’m pretty sure he’s hot for me.  For being a pretty average guy, he makes fantastic eye contact.  I know my lifeguards got my back.  And I don’t take it lightly… usually.  God, please give back to Jason and James a thousand fold of what they give to us devoted swimmers…

James greeted me this morning and I tasted that delicious, hoped for hope.  The water felt extra warm, which was so soothing to me.  It felt sensuous, tropical and womb-esque.  I swam with the intention of being at peace.  I thought of Amma.  She will be here next week.  Thank GOD.  I am so ready to fold into the safety and divine comfort that waft from her like an inherent fragrance.  Many times I begin to cry, inexplicably, from the depths of my being when she enters the temple.  I love watching her sit in meditation.  Her obvious absorption in the folds of holy peace is so soothing and inspiring to me.  So I swam through tropical waters, fixing my mind on this embodiment of unconditional love.  This mother of the universe.  Except my mind kept slipping back into its well-worn groove of fear.

I realized that I am like an infant on my path to God.  Except way more self loathing than your garden variety infant.  It would serve me to be more infantish… in the way of innocence, presence, forgiveness.  How many times does an infant fall down when they are learning to walk?  A gazillion.  They may or may not cry… but they certainly don’t beat themselves up.  And here I am… learning to live in deep trust and alliance with the All Pervading Love of the universe and beyond… but forgetting so often that I am not alone, that I am loved and held and deeply precious.  And every time I wake up and remember that I have forgotten~ A-GAIN, I feel disappointed in myself.  I feel hopeless and frustrated.  I just want to wake up already.  I want to perceive the light inside, already…  I want to feel a love that has no reason, no beginning and certainly no end.  I guess an apropos word for my experience is impatience.  As I moved through the warm, buoyant, aqua heaven, I thought I’d like to be more like an infant.  When I fall from remembrance, I will simply forgive the fall, the hard ground, my lack of coordination and just pick myself up and merge right back into my natural state of presence induced wonder.  If I’m not as perfected yet as I wish I was, the next best thing to be is humble and patient, I suppose.

What IS this world?  I want to look upon the multiplicity of forms with such unapologetic severity that I penetrate the illusion and see the underlying something that lives in everything.  Today I want not just to see, but to SEE.  Do you know what I mean?  I mean that I want to dive beneath the waves of my ever fluctuating mind and experience a quiet presence.  Right here.  Right now.  I want to be deafened by the roaring sound of OM, that singings everything into holy existence.  This lonely, single syllable.  I want to merge with this lonely, single syllable, so that I am proactively singing as the entire choir of creation.

That reminds me… I keep having dreams about playing my harmonium.  I yearned to have one… so that I could paint invisible, inner space with “sonic lotuses”… So my very divine, very biological mother gave me one for my birthday last year… And like many of my heart’s dreams and desires, it sits, neglected, collecting tragic dust as I procrastinate and flounder in fear of the arduously slow unfolding of the lotus otherwise known as my Destiny.  But it has been calling to me so loud and clear from the nocturnal folds of my psyche.  I must play my harmonium.  I don’t know how.  But who cares!  I know I could just BE with it, and it would tell me a lot about who it is and who I am, and how we can form a divinely inspired alliance and create sonic lotuses to grace to this world, who perpetually thirsts for offerings of sacred beauty.

I forgive.  I forgive.  I forgive.  I forgive.  I forgive.  I forgive.

Amen.

Cedar Waxwings, Ducks and More Carrots, Of Course!

I could have sworn that today was going to be an auspicious one.  First, when I was doing my kicking laps in the outdoor pool this morning, I heard a chorus of holy voices.  Immediately I knew the source of the song~ cedar waxwings, my most favorite bird.  (But let me set the record straight, I don’t use the term “favorite” as an absolute term, but only to serve as a vehicle conveying passion, enthusiasm, joy… that whole strain of shimmering feelings.)  Have you ever seen a cedar waxwing?  They always travel in flocks.  Big flocks.  They are not big birds, they are not especially small birds.  They are compact and sleek.  When I gaze upon them, I always feel like I am looking through a soft filtered lens~ you know, the kind they use in the movies when they want to illustrate that someone is falling in love?  The object of affection shows up so softened and glowing.  Cedar waxwings look like that without even needing the aid of Hollywood special effects!  Their feathers are modest shade of tawny earth.  On their cheeks they have a soft, circular spray of red, downy feathers, so that they are in perpetual blush!  They wear black feathered masks around their eyes like sexy, angelic love bandits.  They feast on berry bushes, while singing the praises of Heaven.  I don’t see them very often (though I do hear them pretty frequently.  Their voices are what birds would sound like if they purred!), so when I do, I know I am blessed.

Then, as I was getting out of the pool, a mallard couple landed gracefully on the surface of the warm, crystalline, chlorinated water.  I heard their slick landing as I walked, through the frigid, yawning air to the locker room.  Then I heard their goofy voices (Duck voices.  Is there anything sweeter???) announcing the presence of Love and I turned to prick posterity’s bubble, not believing what I heard.  Yes indeed, they paddled their beautiful, buoyant bodies along the lap lines and my heart tickled so bad it cracked open multiple times, like a whole nest full of duck eggs.  I heard myself shriek and squeal.

But now I feel lonely.  The ducks were a pair.  The cedar waxwings were a flock.  Athena is alone.  Café 504 is busy.  How do I know that I am lonely?  It’s this feeling in my heart.  A black hole comes to mind when I focus on the sensation.  This insatiable hole, from which sadness could ooze like an endless honey stream if I let it.  But maybe if I just allow it to be… maybe if I create a new story to surround the sensation.  Maybe it is a sensation of sacred vulnerability.  Maybe.  Maybe it is love.  Maybe it is not meant to be filled.  This must be what the banks of a raging river feel like.  I can just let this feeling pour through my shyly awakening heart.  It feels like raw desire.  Desire~ the reason that we keep casting our rods out into the future, hoping that a particular delicious, gracious, winged carrot will swim up and bite our line… and then this feeling of outrageous yearning will be quelled and real life will begin.

Real.

Life.

Will.

Begin.

I know I talk about this a lot, this illusion of future happiness… but I am determined to break on through to the other side.  I am determined to claim my home right here, right now, make my nest, stake my claim, own my throne.  Here.  Now.  Even with this ache in my heart and this auspicious, wishful fishing pole, perpetually on the hunt for carrots that swim with fishes.  Isn’t that a pretty image?  Inside my mind is a viscous substance, the offspring of the torrid affair between love and water.  Aqua-golden and warm as moonbeam jelly.  In it swim schools of slender, flaming orange carrots with iridescent scales and exotic, twinkling eyes.  Long, flowing fins that flow like silk scarves blowing in tropical breezes.  Who wouldn’t want to fish for carrots as beautiful as that?!?!  I bet when I finally find the heaven inside, I’ll see Jesus, Krishna and Saint Theresa chillin’ with forties (peeping out from crumpled brown paper sacs) on the end of a pier, dippin their holy poles into the viscous sea of love potion, waiting for a sacred carrot to bite their golden lines.

I have been setting the alarm on my phone to go off every hour, so that I can affirm today’s course in miracles lesson and sit in sacred silence for five minutes, inviting effulgence into the cracks between my habitual bondage thoughts.  While I was sitting in sacred invitation, my phone chimed with the revelatory news of a text message.  After five minutes of affirmation that “God, being Love, is also Happiness”, I saw that one of my most stellar (and long lost) friends, Amrita had texted me, informing me that she was in town for the day and would I like to meet up later!  I haven’t seen her in over a year.  So the cedar waxwings and the ducks did NOT lie after all!  Athena too shall be graced with auspicious company today!!!  When I am with Amrita, I feel like a shooting star.  Or maybe the ticklish blackness giggling uncontrollably as light whizzes anonymously through Her endless body of spacious something.

I said that I would tell you more about Glide Church.  But honestly, going to church is no more or less spiritual than any other experience that I have.  It is confounding to me how spirituality has become this compartmentalized, teensy patch within our glistening existence.  Or how bout those people who ardently declare, “I am not a spiritual person”?!?!  As if there is anything else to be!  I suppose this is another ingenious tactic used to bind our minds to illusion.  I am guilty.  I seem to be stuck to the concept that finding the light inside will be something that “happens to me… SOMEDAY”.  The quintessential Mother of all carrots!  How can it possibly be here now?  How can it be here now as I sit in this  moderately comfortable chair, my butt becoming flattened and stiff, my heart an empty frame hosting a vast, black hole and my mind relentlessly clawing for an understanding that saves my small fearful life, if even for a split second.

Don’t ask me how, but the Light is here, now.  Don’t ask me how, but this is IT.  There is nothing more.  No, wait, ask me.  Ask me how!!! Come on, ASK ME!!!  LOVE is how.  Mostly I hate when people tell me that.  Like my friend Dan.  He’s all bent on Love.  Like a holy obsession.  (As far as obsessions go, that one gets the thumbs up from nine point four out of ten angels… but only two out of eighty seven Popes, believe it or not)  And when love lives like an elusive concept far from available to me in any given steaming slice of Now, I feel desperate and frustrated.  LOVE?  Where?  All I feel is X, Y, Z…. What’s love got to do with THAT?  But I can feel it right now.  This feeling of brimming appreciation for all these divine dream creatures, blind as worms, wriggling about in our outrageous fantasy of separation.  Is it enough to just say YES to this feeling of reverence, this outpouring of sweetness?

Spiritual.  It does not have to be such a serious word.  Spiritual.  It is spiritual to breathe.  It is spiritual to ache.  It is spiritual to laugh, to cry, to yearn, to eat, and CERTAINLY to drink high quality cappuccinos(!!!) to pee and poop, to be a couch potato.  Ewwwe, I cringed as I wrote that last one.  I am not a fan of couch potatoes.  But you know what?  Who cares?  What I am fond of does not equate to what is spiritual.  Even the couch potatoes will eventually re-member this MAGNIFICENT light.

AMEN.