From the moment of birth we reach, arms wide, fingers opening, closing, for something out there: Mama’s smile, scent, breast, embrace.
We get older and continue to reach, for our phone, a chocolate, a drink, retail therapy perhaps. A hit. Some dopamine, please.
Another year passes, we reflect on our choices. Good? Bad? Indifferent?
The outside world is always indifferent. I read somewhere that the Universe is ambivalent and I believe it to be true. Does Omicron (throughout the holidays I called it Grinchicron) give one whit that we’re fed up with the pandemic? No.
Here I sit, another January, and if I wasn’t locked down by a pandemic, I’d be locked down by snow and ice. A flash freeze has sidewalks and trails slick and dangerous for walking on. I watch snow fall in great white chunks, hesitant, drifting sideways, up, then down, dancing and whirling, like teenagers flirting. I’m here, no here, no over here. Come catch me if you can. Multiple tales of young love. Gentle. Sweet. Coy. Silent.
If it could give voice to its feelings, the snow, what would it say? Nature is abundant. Resilient. Look at how many of us – each a unique and sparkling creation – exist? In unison. No complaints. We fall, like magic. We endure. We fall, only to melt at the next warming. Only to be trampled underfoot. To be shoveled, scraped off, tossed aside. To be scoffed at, complained about. Do we care? We fall anyway. Why? Why not?
The conditions were/are right for us snowflakes to come about. I heard this in a meditation. About patience. Acceptance. People are the way they are, certain conditions exist, there is no use fighting against such things. One may not be able to control people or events, out there, but one can exert “influence”. You change your attitude, your approach; you speak, act in certain ways, control yourself, you notice later, perhaps, that conditions around you are altered. Patience, my dear.
Instead of reaching out? Ah. What would the great golden Buddha say? “The way is not in the sky; the way is in the heart.”
And also this, from Indigenous knowledge keeper Chief Darrell Bob of the St’at’imic Nation: “The longest journey we will ever make as human beings is the journey from the mind to the heart.” It may be the “longest journey”, but it’s an important one, wouldn’t you say? For the heart is so much smarter than the mind, yes?
The incredible – and wise – singer/songwriter Jewel laments on this in her must-listen-to podcast with Joe Rogan from October, 2021. Okay. I know it’s a looong one at three hours and forty minutes, but you will be so much wiser, and I daresay more compassionate – at the very least a more grateful human – for having taken the time to listen.
Jewel talks about the “allegory of the golden statue” coming to mind while processing the fact that her mother, as her manager for the previous decade, stole more money from her than most will see in their lifetime. Not only was she deceived, her mother offered up no apologies, just vanished.
This “golden statue”, of which I’d never heard, gifted me with synchronicity, which is always cool. I heard about it from Jewel on the weekend then, just after writing about it? Author (Trusting the Gold: Uncovering Your Natural Goodness) and clinical psychologist Tara Brach brought it up on a Ten Percent Happier podcast I was listening to!
There are various versions of the tale, but basically it’s about a pure gold statue of the Buddha believed to have been built around 1403. In 1757 the Burmese Army was invading Thailand and, because they were known to steal gold artifacts and melt them down, monks covered the statue with plaster and inlaid it with bits of coloured glass. The golden statue remained thus concealed until 1957 (which also happened to coincide with the 2500thanniversary of Buddhism) when a monastery was being moved. Either a crack, or rains, revealed the golden light emanating from within the clay.
Comparing our origin to the golden Buddha, Jewel says, “What if it’s that a soul, or your nature, or whatever you want to call it, isn’t like a chair or a cup that can be broken? What if it exists perfectly at all times, like a quantum thing? You can’t break it. And so, what if I just have to do a really loving archaeological dig back to my true nature?”
What stops us from reaching in more than out? Pain? Fear? Shame? Does it feel safer out there than in here?
Sitting with hard things, “demons”, is challenging, scary, but it is the first step in that long journey from brain to heart. Ah, this is what that pain, fear, shame feel like in my body. Give them time and space to reveal themselves, then say, “See ya later, bye.”
And if, no when – perhaps you have already? – you uncover that golden soul the outside world buried, splattered with plaster, and you can finally let it shine? How free, joyous and real will you feel?
This is me! I was here all along. I’m eternally golden. The world, other people, can try to break me, but it’s impossible. I am everlasting, of more value than can be quantified. As recent Kennedy Center Honoree Joni Mitchell sang years ago in her song “Woodstock”, “We are golden.”