I wrote the following piece two mornings ago. Then I read it out loud to a friend. Her response was such that I decided to read it out loud for you as well. You can listen here.
I made you a video as well about skillfully and more gracefully working with your emotions. You can watch it farther below.
It was 4 o’clock in the morning, when I was awakened. Still dark. Everything quiet. I sat straight up in bed as I heard a voice say “Go outside and meditate under the sky.”
I got up in the chill early morning, grabbed a blanket, socks and a pillow and went outside into my back yard.
Wrapping myself up I reclined in my lounge chair. Snuggled up under the grand old pear tree in the far back corner, I dropped into a still, no mind state.
A few months prior after spending several days with my teacher Guru Sewak my mind had suddenly completely stilled. I had dropped into a state of bliss and equanimity. As I moved through the world it seemed as though I was completely still. Unmoving. It appeared that rather the world was moving around me.
During our time together Guru Sewak had shown a group of us an open eye mediation looking at the sky. This is what I was doing as I reclined under the majestic pear tree in the dark that early and chilly September morning as the world slowly awakened.
As the sky began to lighten, my gaze wide and unfocused, I noticed the flickering light of the TV come on in my neighbor’s living room across the street. A few minutes later I heard the basement door open and my neighbor start to head across the street toward my house.
She mounted the old worn cement steps into the garden and started across the path toward my back door. I called out her name and she said in shock, “Planes have hit the World Trade Center in NY. People are dying.”
I sat up and went to her. We spoke for several minutes in the predawn, dew-laden garden. Two small humans, under a vast sky, trying to take in what was taking place. The date was September 11, 2001 and the world changed in some fundamental way for so, so many. And still I was in a state of bliss and equanimity.
I did not have TV at that time and have ever since been immensely grateful that I have never seen footage of that tragedy as it unfolded. An entire nation watched it over and over, again and again, etching the trauma deeply into their psyche, profoundly changing them. And those whose reign and stock in trade is terror – that is the victory they achieved that day. The terror instilled in the humans who watched, who witnessed, whose nervous systems were forever changed by repeatedly witnessing that horror.
I drove across the farmland that day to my acupuncture appointment listening to the NPR coverage as I drove. Not sure what else to do but to keep moving forward one step at a time. Parenting. House-holding.
And still… I was in a state of equanimity and bliss. Quiet. Completely still inside. Listening to the silence and the occasional knowing that would drop in like leaves floating on the wind.
There was no anger. Only compassion for ALL those involved. And quiet awareness.
The first few days passed. All flights were canceled. The US Naval Air Jets from the base close by amped up their presence – circling, circling, circling night and day – but no other air traffic could be heard in the eerie silence when they were not. The silence was so profound that I remember suddenly sitting up in bed awakened one night from a deep sleep. A helicopter going right over the house on its way to the hospital carrying someone in need of urgent care – what once was normal, had become startling.
And still – my mind was quiet. I was peaceful. Blissful. Quiet joy inside my being. Open. Listening. Noticing.
I was aware of the shock, grief, pain, rage, terror and more that was circulating in the decidedly disturbed and upended collective. I could hear it, feel the force of it buffeting and permeating everyone and everything – and yet not be in it.
The divide between my own experience and that of others became wider and wider. I had no one to speak to of it. My beloved teacher was in Brazil, unreachable and there was no one else I could confide in. As the days went on I felt more and more alien. Outside the fold.
For three full days I was undisturbed. A small pond of calm in the midst of a devastating storm.
And then on the evening of the fourth day I surrendered my bliss. I let go of the quiet. I painfully joined the Collective.
What right did I have to be happy when everyone else was suffering so? How could I be content, feeling joy when so many were in such pain? Survivors guilt landed squarely in my being – completely consuming joy.
Yet, that return to “ordinary” reality was not the end of the story. My surrender disturbed me so much that I began to chew on it over and over and over. Trying to understand, trying to make peace with what had happened inside of me. How could the quiet simply vanish?
I journaled endlessly. Prayed for understanding. For answers. For the return of peace to my inner world.
I made an appointment a month or so later with my naturopath, a deeply talented homeopath I have been fortunate to know for three decades. I spoke to her of my experience that morning of 911, of the bliss I continued to feel as the days went on and the eventual abrupt slide into survivors guilt – a carryover of childhood and early family life.
Her response was “Oh, you were one of the ones I saw in the sky supporting the transition of those leaving their bodies!” And then she gave me a remedy to untangle the underlying survivors guilt I had felt since childhood. And still I chewed on and mourned the loss of the quiet, joyful state I had spent months in. The first real peace I had ever felt in my life. The answer to so many heartfelt prayers – vanished like smoke.
Several months passed and Guru Sewak came back to the US. I spoke with him of what had occurred. His deep listening and compassionate presence helped to drain the grief, confusion and endlessly looping thinking about it all from my being once again.
He was also very stern with me.
He said, “Melani do not EVER let anyone make you feel guilty for experiencing joy. For being happy. For the experience of peace, quiet and steadiness in your being! You have worked many, thousands of lifetimes for this. You have earned it. Worked for it. Let go of this guilt. Allow yourself to be happy.”
Those words, though deeply helpful, did not bring back the steady and unshakeable peace. They did however help me immensely as the years have passed. Especially when not long after that my dear teacher, this beautiful man who touched me so deeply in such a profound way, in a small handful of meetings – left his body.
Since then I have learned, practiced and experienced much.
My mind since then has completely stopped for periods of time. States of pure bliss have arrived and fallen away – now almost daily. States – they come and go. That is simply their nature.
The deep peace however is now anchored firmly into my core. My experience. Even when the mind has its momentary way with me – tossing me about – the Peace, the Joy, the Quiet is always here. Never moving. Only moved away from.
I now know that it is natural to experience well-being as the steady stream of Life – which includes every single thing we can or possibly may experience as a human being here on planet Earth.
We are here to experience. To drink it in. To allow Life to have its way with us. To open us. Crack our shells of defense that armor our hearts, our minds, our bellies so that we can know who and what we truly are.
This River of Life we are riding – that is carrying us and holding us – has many bends, twists and turns. Many moods.
There are tense and wild moments that test us. That take us to the very edges of our mental understanding, our physical limits, pushing our emotional extremities, reconfiguring our spiritual understanding.
The River of Life is always stretching and expanding our capacity, carrying us homeward to ourselves. To the deeper truth of our Wholeness and Magnificence.
To the extent that we allow the sorrow, the pain, the ugliness within ourselves to be met with acceptance and unconditionality – is the extent to which we are able to feel Joy, Equanimity, Peace. Bliss. Like the river that flows, all emotions are meant to flow… to move taking us ever homeward to ourselves. Uncovering the shining beauty within each of us.
In order to do this we MUST understand that we and we alone are responsible for our happiness. Our joy. Our well-being. That no one can ever take anything away from us that is ours, that is already part of our Soul. And your Soul – my Soul – carries an infinite wellspring and capacity for Joy, Love, Peace, Bliss and so, so much more.
This is your birthright. This is the birthright of each and every human on the Earth.
Do not ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Anything else is a mis-understanding, a veil, an obscuration – that is simply covering what is already you.
Even in the shadow of terror, of horror – DO NOT surrender your own inner well-being.
Yes – allow the emotions that are arising from within you to move… flow, release, let go until peace once again arises as well within your being, for it will. (I even made you a video to help with that – you can find it below as well.)
Then tend well to the joy, the peace, the quiet and contentment. Cultivate them. Invite them into your everyday experience. These are the precious and priceless jewels of your being.
Turn away from rehashing and stirring up distress simply for the sake of being one with the collective.
Stop singing the song of misery.
Yes, look. See what is there to see, but do not get caught up in the addiction to the drama of it all – to the lure of horror and fascination that only perpetuates the destroyers dying siren song.
You choosing your well-being is the most powerful force there is on the planet for creating peace, equanimity and equality for all.
From this place true restorative and regenerative action takes place.
Healing solutions arise.
Reparations are made.
Listen instead to the deeper voice within your own being. Your own Soul Song that always, unerringly will lead you home to your Self, your One True Spot that only you can ever fill in the entirety of the infinite Cosmos.
Understand this – that spot, your one true spot in the Cosmos, is more vast and magnificent than you can possibly imagine.
This tending to Soul takes Awareness. Takes Courage. Takes Commitment. Takes Willingness. Compassion, Kindness, Forgiveness, Patience, Tenderness and Unconditional Love – ALL toward yourself first.
Because it is only when we truly endeavor, when we commit to love, embrace and unconditionally accept ourselves that we are able to stand beside another and hold them in the same light and love.
This is a moment to moment practice that extends the length and breadth of a lifetime and beyond. One which, by its very nature, quite naturally unwinds what wants unwinding, leads us to our own solutions, inner brilliance and recognition of our Wholeness and connection to the All.
A practice which requires a certain kind of devotion – to yourself, to Source, to Mother Gaia, to Love, to Life.
May these words be of Service to the All. To the ever unfolding of Love. To the New Reality we are collectively creating in each moment.
Deepest love and reverence for you, for all beings, for Life, for the All That Is.
From Collingwood, New Zealand – I love you,
New – Video for Working with Emotions
I made this video to support you to work more gracefully and effectively with difficult emotions. To allow them to flow.
To support the freedom and liberation of stuck and/or uncomfortable emotions.
To allow and open up space for more ease, flow and joy in your everyday experience.
To unwind the multi-generational patterns of suppression long held around the healthy and most natural expression of emotions.
This is one of the most vital and timely things we can do as individuals at this moment in history.
Allow the emotions that are present to move. Allow the emotions we have long held to flow.
Allow the emotions that want to move through us to be liberated – most especially fear – which in my experience is the root of most of the other emotions we experience.
I have had many requests over the years from clients and those that have been in my small groups for this video. My prayer is that it be supportive and useful in allowing you to experience more of who you truly are.
If you have feedback, questions about what I’ve shared, further clarification or other bits you would like support with, that would be useful along your own journey – please let me know.