Saturday, December 26, 2009

Another Biopsy, Living In The Stream Of Life, Enthusiasm, Rest, & The Spark Within

On the way home from Stanford last Wednesday with my friend Beth (oh, by the way, my biopsy went well and the 2 sites are almost healed), she reminded me that too much striving to do what I have been calling, “breathe and meet the moment” might objectify the moment and the whole endeavor could get sabotaged. The moment is not a thing. The moment is fleeting, and is connected to another moment, and another, and another. . . Focusing on a moment is like looking at a photograph of a dance and thinking you know the dance. Being present in the moment is a dynamic and constantly changing process. It’s not a goal or a destination.

This idea will be interwoven into the Continuum exploration in Beth’s January class. If you are interested in Continuum or exploring the fluidity of the body, the fluidity of our perception of time, and living and moving in the stream of life, check out Beth’s website and schedule for her monthly class:

In the midst of all the many and varied things I’m feeling these days, I have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm about writing and some other projects I’m brewing. My friend Carole (Jungian analyst and Continuum Teacher) tells me that the root of the word “enthusiasm” is “enthos,” which means, “God is in you.” I love this exploration of the deeper meaning of this word. What an empowering concept!

I often ponder the significance of the waves I feel of fatigue, pain, and disease, that are inevitably followed by enthusiasm. I can feel awful one minute and inspired the next. Sometimes I feel both simultaneously! If I surrender, and allow myself to rest when I am tired and hurting, I always end up ready to get out of bed and write or cook or go outside and enjoy the day. Enthusiasm is not external; it is an internally generated milieu.

I struggle with getting judgmental about lying down and resting. Life seems so precious and there's so much I want to do. I have to keep reminding myself to respect the rest phase, which I might have been negligent in doing in my previous life. Now that I am living with cancer, I literally have no choice. There are days when I fall asleep in the middle of a sentence while sitting at the kitchen table. I get to a point almost every day where I would keel over if I didn't lie down. I often remind other people that if all we did was inhale, we’d explode. Life is phasic. We inhale, and then we exhale. Life requires a balance of both. There is no enthusiasm without rest to support it.

Emilie Conrad loves to remind us that “God is not elsewhere.” You might also say that "God is everywhere." As long as I don't separate myself from what I think of as God, I haven't externalized and objectified the Divine Life Force that expresses itself through my enthusiasm. In my study and experience of many religions, I find a common thread in all of them that is consistent. Enthusiasm is the voice of the potency of the life force welling up from within. When rules and rituals are taken literally and imposed as external laws, I suspect a power-play is at work, as opposed to a true spirituality.

I had a spiritual teacher many years ago who would say to me, "I love you, and it has nothing to do with you." No one "makes" you feel anything. What you call a "feeling" is generated from within yourself. If something external has sparked your feelings of love or enthusiasm, remember that the spark is yours. If you celebrate Christmas, feel that spark within you from where the celebration arises. God is not specifically in a tree, or a church, or a present, or a family gathering. God is in you, and that is true whether it's Christmas day or the day after Christmas when everyone has gone home and there's lots of garbage and recycling to deal with. The holiday props and the story we tell about the holiday are just reminders to get us to feel connected and live it from within.

My holiday wish for everyone is that you find something to feel enthusiastic about, and deepen your life from within.