Humble appreciation

This picture was my folks house on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. They lived here from when I was 11-18 years old.  They built this small but spectacular home after buying land overlooking Cane Garden Bay.  My father would go up after work with a machete to clear the site of the tiny home.  the unique thing about this rustic home is that only the two bedrooms and kitchen had screened in walls. the rest of the living area just had a roof and where walls and windows normally would have gone was just a raw unobstructed 180 degree view of light blue ocean and the neighboring island. 

My mom would require us to to join her every evening to the right of this photo in the "living rom" to take in the golden hour sunset show with the sounds of Cane Garden Bay drifting in from below. It was living in connection to something greater than my teenage self.  Then the dark would take over with the chorus of the island tree frogs sweetly croaking "coqui coqui".  So much so visitors found it too loud to sleep. My folks are continuing their legacy of finding residence alongside the beauty of raw nature now up in Orcas Island. Their joint quest for what is true to them has always been an inspiration and even if not understood at the time a humble joy to witness.

The things we have to let go of..

 I was talking to a friend the other day about this fabulous stove I had found at an estate sale.  The brand is an elite french label Lacanche and although the stove was maybe more than half off of it's normal price of $7500 at $2300 it was still way above my budget. But it was so beautiful and surely would just make my kitchen completely pop.  I almost justified the purchase and for days, I actually mourned it's loss although it was never quite mine AND it is a fucking stove.

Letting go has never come naturally for me I have had to work at it.  I have always had the hardest times saying goodbye to loved ones and my first love relationship that ended took me years to recover from simply because I would not let go. If I let go I would have to let the emptiness and uncertainty  in and I would go to great lengths to avoid doing that. Even so far as to stay in an abusive relationship. 

 I recall the exact class in college where I learned about Buddhism and impermanence and how that forced my mind to stretch to such uncomfortable places and how I knew deep in my bones it was the truth of life. And as the Buddhists say not accepting this truth ultimately is the cause of all suffering. I saw then and there that is hard being human AND it is ok.  I started inviting friends to join me in letting go rituals and sought to find shelter even in the unknown as simply being was much easier than running from shadows.

This year I have had to let go of things much bigger than a fancy french stove. I have had to let go of my marriage, my identity, my made up future, my pride, my "whole" family, my home, my security blanket. I have had to strip down naked and kneel and wail and grieve all that I thought was mine.  This has easily been one of the hardest years of my life and yet I still stand.. I still am growing.. I still laugh and love and let go over and over again because that is all I have. I rise up and reach out empty handed so that I might touch something bigger than myself.

The Need to Please..AKA abandoning yourself

This is a seductive trap we all fall into once and a while. Underneath the surface is usually the value of belonging.  Yet our saboteur sneaks into this golden value and tarnishes it so that we can hardly see our own reflection any longer.  Instead we only see what others want us to be and we get confused thinking this is the pathway towards love acceptance and belonging.  We think we have to become worthy as if that is a thing to attain. We forget we already own that but have given it away over and over again.

You see when we go for pleasing others or chameleoinzing we usually abandon ourselves in the mix.  This leads to a compartmentalized life that doesn't feel good. What if instead we chose to live from an embodied joyful place where first we check in with self and then other in a loop of awareness.  Would this not be radical? Once we learn to check in with ourselves we can then turn our attention to other but in a much more compassionate gaze. Only at that point or we able to ask, "What is it that they are feeling and needing?" We ask this from a genuine place of empathy rather than pleasing. We may not be able to fulfill their needs however once we fill ourselves up we give others an opportunity to be heard and seen.  This creates a sense of belonging in the truest sense.