“We can open up to greater love in moments of sorrow because our vulnerability and our compassion are intertwined.”- Pema Khandro Rinpoche
Letter to an unexpected guest:
Dear oldest friend,
Hey, I love you. You left for a very long time, so long that I forgot about everything. All is love. All that matters is that you are here right now. Yes, here you are in the most unpredictable and most unlikely time and place. Now, here you are, rubbing our backs and tapping on our shoulders like you never left, and here you are, reminding us that it’s all okay again. I am writing you this evening to share some of what I’ve learned since you’ve been gone. Most of all, I just want you to know that life is so much stranger than you could ever possibly imagine, more than I ever thought possible. Standing now, at my true height, in my true, authentic perception, I can honestly say that I believe in endless possibilities. Now that I am right sized, I know how to love right sized. I now know what it means to not know, so these gifts can continue to blossom, look at us.! I mean, look at you here now, and at the heart of everything, I just want you to know that you were always my best friend, and I just want you to know that, all things aside, I never stopped loving you.
All my love,
You remember who
I skim through Lion’s Roar magazine and stumble onto a story about the golden bee. Around the 2nd paragraph, I read; “because we are sentient beings”. This is significant to me in a way that I do not understand, so literally, I gasp and lift my chin from the page staring out to the center of the living room; Sentient, I say to myself. Sen-tient, senti-ent. I say it over and over again allowing myself to get louder and louder so that the word covers more space. The word takes up more volume, with my increasing volume, with waves expanding throughout the living room and beyond. I pause and open the word in Dictionary on my phone before adding it to my on going list of “words I love” in NOTES. Sentient; means to be able to perceive or feel things; (capable of feeling). This word is now my favorite. This word has my full attention, so I sit and press the tiny speaker icon next to the definition allowing an audio pronunciation to play out again and again. “Sentient“, and again “sentient“. I make no effort to stop myself, so I continue on, pressing and pressing the audio pronunciation because listening to it over and over again, feels a little off. It feels a little uncouth in its own way, like cutting loose. Like I am secretly letting myself go all out there and WILD through this small ridiculous act of rebellion. “Sentient”and again, now we say it together buzzing SENTIENT. The golden bee and no boundaries. I let myself get lost in the beauty of this word. I let myself fall further and further. I fall so far and deep down the creative tunnels of my mind that I am already hearing the word as its own song, an arpeggio of sen-t-ient. Because it pounds and feels good like a mantra. Because I read something about the seed of sound, and because I do not want to stop. More than anything though, it is because this is my version of swinging from chandeliers and riding the razor’s edge of my life like it means nothing: except this time it means everything. I like pressing hard on a button. I like sitting with an electronic voice backing me up to a vocabulary song, alone in the living room. Expanding love is sentient I finally say to myself and settle down a bit while letting the vibrations from all of this commotion ring through me. They will still be here long after I’m done typing in a- humm while I am in yoga and — Wait. Three golden flower petals just whirled down onto my laptop. These petals are velvety and possibly the deepest shade of gold I’ve ever seen in the natural world. In this moment we share limitless value. This is a gift. My larger than life sunflowers are starting to loose their petals, and I am a sentient being who understands and appreciates their time as a gift. Off to yoga.
It is the end of class. I roll myself around onto my side, summing up another candlelight vinyasa at Yoga pearl. We all turn like one body and exhale around like one set of lungs to finish up. We raise hands to heart center, and when we open our eyes, I see it : the same velvety golden gift again. The same deep shade of gold from my sunflower petals waving back at me through the flicker of this flame in this candle. The warm light is the same light in my chest right now stretching across my body from collar bone to collar bone. It warms me as we fall down deep into savasana. The humming remnants of sentient still echoing through the knobby parts of my spine and back body. It begins like a movie, like a story unfolding slowly and clearly without any effort or understood memory on my part.
My brain projects a visualization of despair in the shape of a woman. She holds something like a body. Sand is everywhere like this is the inside of an hourglass. She weeps uncontrollably and squeezes onto someone’s body. She cannot even think of total expansion or sentient, but I see her as a sentient being. Maybe this isn’t just a woman I think, and sand starts blowing, but is that me? I cannot tell, but she sits in a hunched-over position, lazily folding into her knees. She drapes herself over someone’s body like a last resort or means of protection, but I see the truth. What she really means is: I do not know what to do anymore! I have lost something that cannot be replaced, so I weep! I weep with her from whatever perspective in my heart that allows me to see all of this. She weeps because I am weeping and vice versus. Her hair, or my hair, whips and whirls around through the sand tunnel as wind picks up speed. It becomes more and more difficult to see her through the swirls of sand and blowing wind, so it’s hard to make it all out anymore. Am I getting pulled in closer to her with the sand, or is this me? Am I this woman? If I am this woman, and she is herself at the same time, we are the same. I do not know, but the pain and positioning of her knees is something I do know. I can taste the sand in her vulnerability. The wall of wind and sand thickens. Finally, she looks up from the body through crinkled eyes and opens her mouth. It widens with every cry though I cannot hear it. I can feel it on my tongue watching the sand pour into her mouth. Her wails gain momentum just like sentient. She is stuck in her pain. She is sentient. I am sentient. She is in the heart wrenching pain of loss, and my heart expands in her vulnerability. She expands her heart until the sand swallows her image. Class is over. I take my time getting up and collecting my things. It is all for something. I am this woman, so I know I can use this pain to open up more and more. I know how to cry with so much love that it is all encompassing. This is healing. I am a sentient being who can love when all around us people are afraid of letting go and closing everything off. I am compassion. This is dreaming, soberly in golden bees. This is healing. ❤