Friday, August 12, 2005

Blues in E

Don't ask me where that title comes from. It just sounds good for the mood, the weather, and the overall *bleh* that is suffusing everything lately. When I hear blues in E, I'm instantly transported to that funky-butt bar in the French Quarter on that steamy summer Friday night when some guy ran out into the street and grabbed me away from my friends, dragged me inside, and made me dance with him. Hot sweat is running down the back of my neck, but the sweat on the bottle of beer that finds its way into my hands is blissfully icy. I'm a little drunk and I dance with my eyes closed.

I swear, it's got to be this damn weather. I finally broke down and slept with the air conditioner last night, much to the cats' relief, and mine. I hate sleeping in air conditioning; I'm a huge fan of fresh air (though the air in our polluted little part of Brooklyn is questionable at best, what with the waste treatment plant, Newtown Creek, and the impending power plant) and can't stand sealed buildings and their recycled air. But last night, I just couldn't face the idea of powdering myself down like a chicken cutlet for the fryer before going to bed.

I did something last night I probably ought to have done last week when I felt these blues coming on; I spent the last five days feeling miserable and self-absorbed and by turns sad and angry. Basically, being human.

Then someone left an incredibly mean-spirited anonymous comment on my blog, which interestingly, seemed to mark the bounce point for me -- you know, you fall and fall and fall down the hole, and at some point you bounce. This poster actually did me a favor, because once I got over being annoyed, I actually started to feel better. So I went off to the nonprofit where I am a volunteer with a heart that was a little bit lighter...

Then after my volunteer stint, I got home and instead of "going unconscious" by turning on the television, I just sat. I sometimes forget how to be quietly alone with myself and just sit. We live in a society that is so conditioned to be stimulated all the time that most people don't know how to be with themselves. Particularly in New York, where the sensory input is there all the time, there is almost no place to escape it. So I've learned how to be okay with the stimuli that surround me, and not necessarily tune it out, but more to incorporate what is there without adding unnecessary "noise." Be it the television, the radio, a cheesy chick-lit novel -- they're all noise and ways of going unconscious.

So I sat. And sat some more. And tried to pay attention to what was going on. I thanked ego for playing this week, I thanked ego for its input, but realized that I don't have to believe anything it says (about me or anyone else). I thanked those who challenge my temper and make me angry, because those are the ones who are sometimes my greatest teachers. Not because I learn anything from what they have to say, but from observing my reaction to what they have to say. They are not pushing my buttons. I'm pushing my own buttons.

I reached for Cheri, as I usually do in times like this, and a couple of things I came upon resonated with me (and, I believe, contributed to me finally having a good night's sleep):

It's easy to love ourselves when we're being good and meeting our standards. The practice is to love ourselves when we're not.

Everytime you do something you disapprove of, instead of beating yourself -- "I shouldn't have done that" "I should change" "I always say the wrong thing" -- open your heart to compassion. This is the only "change" you need. After all, it's the parts of ourselves who are suffering who need our unconditional love.

"But how can I become a good person without disciplining myself?"

Remember, one process does not lead to another. Punishment does not lead to love. There is no "good person" outside of compassion. When we truly know this, when in the deepest part of our heart we find that compassion, we won't continue to disappoint ourselves...

In this practice we don't punish people -- internal or external -- because they don't meet our standards or because they don't do what we want them to do.

The practice is finding compassion no matter what.

From That Which You are Seeking is Causing You to Seek. Cheri Huber, 1990.

and this:

Projection, or How We Create The World We See

We experience the world the way we do because of who we are, not because of how it is. We project our thoughts, feelings, values, etc., onto everything. If we are unaware of this fact, we believe that what we see is true "out there."

Well, our projection at any given time might or might not be true for whatever we are projecting onto, BUT IT IS ALWAYS TRUE FOR THE PERSON SEEING IT. (Notice whose head it appeared in and whose mouth it came out of.)

Also, we tend to "give away" negative qualities and feel better, while we "give away" positive qualities and feel lacking.

Once you know that what you are experiencing is the result of how you are, of how you see the world, you will be less involved with trying to change the content of your experience.

You live in the world you have chosen.

Your world continues to be the same, not because that's the way the world is, but because you continue to make the same choices...

What you see is who you are.

Anything that happens could be experienced in millions of ways. What happens is not important. How we react to what happens is very important. It is not what we get that matters, it is what we do that matters. We can let go any time we are willing....

What is, is.

Many of us have learned to believe that we can improve ourselves by a very cruel system of self-rejection and abuse. We call this the "Building a Better World Through Hatred" school of thought. The slogan is, "You, too, can hate yourself into being a better person."

If you are hating, you are doing/being hatred. The only way to be loving is to love.

There is nothing real in the universe that requires you to hate. Nothing real expects you to punish, reject, or be cruel to yourself or anyone...

You will never learn to be a loving person through a process of hating.

Excerpts from The Key, And the Name of the Key is Willingness. Cheri Huber, 1984

Weather today in my mountain town: 58 degrees right now with a high of 67 in the forecast. Isolated thunderstorms. I loved the storms there -- they seemed so much more elemental at 10,000+ feet. Mambo wasn't loving them. Zack, full of ennui as usual, didn't give a shit.


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