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For the past few days I have been feeling blue, but overall moving forward. I am not the person I thought I would be. I distanced myself from someone I considered a friend although I never fully trusted her. I have felt the pain of loneliness keenly, and the ever present shame of my realized fear of not being the person my parents wanted me to be, especially in regards to my turn towards Buddhism, which at least right now seems to be a liberating spirituality that releases my inner joy!

There is also the lingering sorrow it is hard not to beat myself up about- the fact that I wasn’t confident and mature enough to get back together with my ex when I came back to Paris and now I see him with new eyes and he’s unavailable. I know it’s not all on me, but I am still disappointed in myself, especially now that I realize he was the nicest guy I ever was involved with. If we had been together I think there are some parts of growth I wouldn’t have experienced, but right now I just want someone to hold me and I wonder how great I am be without a partner, without my basic emotional needs met.

I’ve also been moving forward in terms of the small habits that will help me take care of myself- I’ve been recording what I eat, keeping an eye on my accounts, and I did start cleaning my apartment. Though last week I only went to the gym once, I have been seeing and feeling a difference, and it scares me in a way. I am proud and happy, but it scares me.  I must believe that I deserve it, and look in the mirror and see the changed person and own that this is me.

I am a completely different person than when I was depressed.

I know this even more deeply since I have hesitated in my choice of holidays between a return to India, to see Ladakh near Western Tibet, without much of a fixed itinerary, and South AMerica, where I could see most of the highlights of Bolivia, Peru, and a bit of Chile in a whistlestop tour. I think I have found the balance though, and will leave some of the highlights for another time so I have a little more than a week completely at play, unscheduled. And since I just discovered a Tibetan restaurant within 15 minutes walk from my apartment and I already go to the Tibetan Buddhist center, perhaps there’s no need to go all that way, and I feel like I will get there eventually.

So in short, I am not the person I used to be.

Where I once sought, trying to find a home in one of the Abrahamic god’s many mansions where I spent my life feeling ashamed of my humanity, I have found a man of India who claims I am already a Buddha.

Where I once wanted to see all the treasures of the world as fast as possible for fear of missing out, I now seek depth in addition to breadth, and I know travel (and life) is about what can’t be captured in a photograph.

Where I once recoiled from life in learned helplessness, depressed and constantly at war with myself, I am slowly but surely becoming a friend and taking care of myself no longer feels as strange.

Where I once wanted to be normal and to fit in, especially with my family, I am haltingly coming to a place where I feel complete and good in myself. As friend told me, “You don’t need validation, you need a mirror.”

So things are going well, and I am fighting with myself less and less, becoming more and more honest, and letting many things go.

I am going to a new place I have never been before, to become a new person. I have already had to leave so many of me behind, and I know now that once a self is sloughed off like a snakeskin, it is gone forever. With its faults and its false comforts, its pleasures that will not be experienced as such again, its particular pains that have become so familiar they are almost a comfort, its familiar cage proscribing my range of motion.

 

The Panther- Rainer Maria Rilke

His vision, from the constantly passing bars,
has grown so weary that it cannot hold
anything else. It seems to him there are
a thousand bars; and behind the bars, no world.

As he paces in cramped circles, over and over,
the movement of his powerful soft strides
is like a ritual dance around a center
in which a mighty will stands paralyzed.

Only at times, the curtain of the pupils
lifts, quietly–. An image enters in,
rushes down through the tensed, arrested muscles,
plunges into the heart and is gone.

What is a panther when it leaves its cage? Space and joy- all conditioned things are impermanent.  Both the cage and the panther are an illusion. This next stage of Meganness is but a shadow play upon the wall.

And the light, rather than coming from the beauty of the forms, of the ideal of pantherness or of cage, comes from the truth of formlessness, of infinite potential, of the fact that all things were and are and will be and could be and are not.

I am not real, I am a dream, and I am the dreamer.

“I” is not real, “I” is a dream, the dream is one with the dreamer.

Where is the sorrow in that? That fairy stories are no more true than I make them, and I cannot force them to be.

 

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