I’m at the ocean a lot, so it’s true, I have many, many pictures of the ocean. Maybe it’s because I lived so far from it for so many years that I never tire of it and could keep posting pictures of it and I don’t know about all of you, but I would never be bored.
When I lived in Santa Fe winter would come too soon and it was already a quiet life but it would get tortuously quiet. During the day I would hike on my favorite trail that wound its way through the woods and along the stream that was iced over. It got dark so early and it was so cold. In the last place I lived I would spend maybe $350 a month on heat but it never got warm. I would get in bed just after sundown because I ached so much with the cold. And the quiet I’m talking about is the quiet of having everything slow down so much to the point where there literally is little distraction and all you’re left with is what feels like the burning of your soul. My therapist connected it to winter solstice, a natural time to turn inward and to contemplate soul matters, suggesting, I think that what was painful was actually helpful and perhaps even necessary. For people who care about the nature of their souls, that is.
I’m kind of feeling some of that burn now.
Even though I live in LA and the world here is full of distractions. Endless distractions. Distractions, distractions, distractions. And sunshine. And the beautiful ocean.
Tonight I was listening to a Ted talk given by a singer who stutters. Her singing voice really moved me and it made me think of what it is to let your true voice out into the world and how beautiful that is. Maybe there’s the voice in all of us that falters, that shows our fallibility, our vulnerability, AND there’s the voice that is our true voice that rings like a clear bell.
I was thinking about how I can let more of own voice out and what stops me from doing that.
The other morning I felt an old, familiar spike of anxiety (aka fear). I went to a group meditation session, one I hadn’t been to before, and the facilitator brought our focus to our heart space. I hadn’t thought of this on my own but it really was the cure. It came to me that the reason for the fear had to do with some old trauma that had entrained me to shut down my heart light in certain situations. In the meditation, with my eyes closed, I suddenly saw, with my inner eye, my heart space as a wild, undulating flower made of many delicate petals of vivid hues: fuschia, orange, pink. It was incredible, almost a shock to me. To feel myself plunged, wonderfully, back into the feeling of my heart. My heart as a flower that naturally wants to open. That unnaturally also wants to shut down.
Maybe the way to live with these conditions, however they manifest, whatever we want to call them, is to be like the stutterer: to work with the barriers of language and the brain and simultaneously to find what comes easily and to
do that. Do it as much as possible. Work with the limitations, certainly. But spend as much time going into what makes us naturally and easily want to open.
Maybe that’s what it looks like to design a successful life?