I swallowed my breath and went deep, I was diving, diving
I surfaced when all of my being was enlightened.
I sit here among a crowd of loved ones and friends having the time of my life. It’s been a while since I’ve seen some of them, but here we are talking it up like we just got together yesterday, telling old war stories. I laugh, I smile, and every once in a while I chime in with some witty one-liner that gets everyone laughing.
The trouble is that it’s all fake. I feel lonely here. It isn’t them, it’s me.
I used to belong here amongst the laughter and revelry. I used to fit right in as the story teller, the comic relief, the clown—but now I feel like I am watching the play instead of starring in it. I don’t want to be here, but something tells me that I need to laugh, I need the companionship, I need the time away. Some thing tells me this…
I do love these people, and they love me. I can feel it from them as surely as I can feel the tequila burning my throat. It isn’t the lack of love I feel as I’m very fortunate to count so many people as “loved ones.” Many of these same people have walked with me during the various transformations I have undergone in my life. And here they are, still my friends and still people I love very much. They’ve seen the best and the worst, and they’ve loved me enough to not only stick with me, but love me as few could. That, my friends, is truth.
Another truth is that I feel very lonely in the crowd. I don’t feel this way when I’m alone. In fact, being alone is becoming much easier for me than being here is. I’m not playing a role as I sit in silence. I am simply sitting. I do not play a role as I suddenly get up and do some asanas in my living room. Here, I’m hiding from something. I’m drinking this tequila to hide from something. I’m laughing to hide behind something. I’m telling jokes and poking fun to hide from something. It’s a numbing practice that exposes the deeper part of me to the part of me that’s watching. I am not where I want to be. I’m in hiding.
Better yet, if I’m not in hiding, I believe this feeling is trying to tell me that I should be.
Who am I? Well, I’m Not a Mango
Uh oh. Not that question!! I ask it to drive someone crazy actually. I’ve been told that asking that question is counter-intuitive to personal growth, that we should be “eating the mangoes” instead of asking how they got there. The trouble with that analogy is that I don’t care how the mangoes got there, I care about how I got to the mangoes. I care why they taste good to me, why this place is so beautiful to me.
That understanding only comes with with an understanding of who I am. I’d have to eat some lemons in order to appreciate the sweetness of the mango. There’s a reason I’d want to get “all messy” in the juices. There’s something that has brought me here, and I want to know it. Not so that I can forget about this beautiful present moment, but so that I can value it.
What makes the sunrise so beautiful? Usually it’s the darkness of night. What makes the warmth of a fire so awesome? Usually the bitter cold of a winter’s day. I can best value the wonderful present moments I have if I understand what makes them so wonderful. If I fail to realize that, then that moment’s true potential is lost for eternity.
So, I want to understand the path that brought me to the mango grove. I want to know the cuts I got as I cut a rose for my beloved. I want to appreciate the bruises she got climbing her mountain because it will help me best value the moment when she arrives all battered and torn. It doesn’t detract from the moment, it enhances it. To ignore the journey is to not fully realize the destination. At least this has been my experience.
If I fully want to appreciate the mango I need to experience the lemon. In this way the lemon has equal value to the mango, and they are both perfect.
Going to the Mattresses
Okay, so here I am. I’m sitting here laughing and talking and drinking and getting all sloppy. A cute blonde is hitting on me, but I have no interest in doing anything but feeling all lonely and sloppy. I still feel a tie to my past, to her, and that means that I’m not going home with anyone but myself tonight.
I check my cell phone to see if she has sent a text, or an email, and then I look at her picture. I obviously am either stuck in the mango grove or in some past hedgerow.
What if the blonde is the mango and “she” is a thorn bush keeping me from the fruit?
I laugh at the idea and wish I could share it with her. She wouldn’t appreciate the irony of it all, but who else would get the reference? Damn, irony sucks and so does this present moment lost so eternally in what should be.
I check out the blonde to see if I have any moment of doubt. She’s very attractive and this would have been a “no brainer” months ago. Still, she doesn’t have her eyes or her mouth. The blonde puts her hand on my leg and whispers in my ear, “I don’t live far from here and my house is empty.”
“I do, and I have to get up early tomorrow after a very early day today. Once this buzz wears off, I am outta here. Sorry.”
We swap phone numbers and next times, but I lose the number about three seconds later. It just doesn’t feel right. I’m so ready to leave this place. I have two competing voices in my head, one calling me a fool for passing up a night with a hot blonde, and the other calling me a fool for even thinking about it. My smaller head is screaming at the larger one, and the larger one is screaming back, “Don’t blame me, it’s that damn thing in his chest that is fighting with us both!”
That damn thing in my chest is telling me it’s time to head for the mattresses (if you need to know what that means, watch the Godfather). I need to clean out some inventory, clear out the cobwebs and figure this shit out. I feel like I need to become a hermit for a while, meditate and find whatever it is I am searching for. I need to find some love for me. I need to forgive myself for what I have done.
That damn thing in my chest wants to share itself with others. It wants a special woman to share itself with. It wants a lover to appreciate it. It wants to learn and apply those lessons to the betterment of everyone who touches it. It wants both the larger and smaller heads to do its bidding.
It’s time to go into hiding. It’s time to “go deep” and not to surface until “all of my being (is) enlightened.”
I know where I want to be and I know how I need to get there. What I’m not sure of is whether or not I have the balls to do it. If I don’t, well then as some wise Master once told me, I will repeat these patterns over and over again. I don’t want to be here again suggesting déjà vu. I want to be free.
Editor: Lynn Hasselberger
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