Partial, Crooked, Empty, Dying

One of the wonderful YOI (Year of Inquiry) groups met yesterday and our topic this month is on the body.

Perfect for me, right?

With a torn hamstring, last week’s surgical repair, constipation and nausea from pain medications, my hair feeling flat as a mat and itchy from not taking a shower or bath for 8 days, I would say this body is not in the most tippy top shape you’ve ever seen it.

I object! I have some complaints!

There is nothing like a sincere, thoughtful group to stay patiently with the questions of inquiry known as The Work. I LOVED that we all gathered together to examine the body.

  • this body can’t be counted on
  • I am too _____ (fat, thin, old, young, soft, round, short, tall.)
  • things would be better if my body were healthy, fit, attractive
  • I hate that this body is temporary, declining, will one day die
  • there is something wrong with my body, with me
  • I am this body, this is ME, this is my identity

These are deep, gripping beliefs. At least I’ve found them to be.

After our wonderful group today, I kept considering the turnarounds and the beauty of the work, and more underlying beliefs.

As I lay here flat on my back, not able to even move more than a few inches to the left or right (by the way, check out the end of this email of me and my grabbers) I remembered two of my most haunting images.

One is being buried alive in a coffin about 20 feet below the ground. Ewww. I hate even thinking about it. What a horrible nightmare!

The other is born out of a National Geographic cover last year of free-climbers at Yosemite. I am falling, imagining the fall, seeing the rock cliff wall speed by, heading towards earth like a speeding bullet.

(Sorry to give you this stressful image!)

But what I realized before, and again today, is that these are simply pictures, movies playing in the mind. They are not real.

Isn’t that amazing?

All these terrible things that can happen to the body: accidents, injuries, damaging things, illness, disease, death, change, aging, destruction…

….is it true that it is all terrible? That it is all YOU?

Yes! Everyone knows it’s true! People have a rough time after accidents! I think I’m one of them, right now!

But can you absolutely know that it’s true? Really 100% can you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all those images and destructive changing morphing things that happen are terrible?

Are you sure that body is YOURS, that it is YOU?

Are you sure you are having a terrible, awful, devastating time?

No. I just ate peanut butter and apples and they were delicious. I’m writing this Grace Note.

Come to think of it, I’m lying in a gorgeous, comfy bed.

In the very moment the other day that I was throwing up, or in the moment that my stomach ached from constipation, I was not actually thinking “this is me” or “this is devastating”.

I was just being that…if that makes any sense. I was following the simple directions. I couldn’t help but follow them.

I notice it is usually AFTER something is over that I get worked up about how terrible it all was, how horrible, and how I almost didn’t make it.

Except I did.

How do I react when I am believing that this body here is my identity, that it is who I am in total, that it is sad that all this is temporary, or that there is something wrong with this body?

I am scared. Horrified. I see images of terrible things happening over and over. My body reacts with adrenaline. I believe the world is a dangerous place, where bad emergencies could happen at any moment.

So who would I be without the thought that this is true? Who would I be without the thought that having this body is a rough deal, that being in a body is dangerous?

Turning my thoughts about this body around, I find the following are truer:

  • this body can’t be counted on to stay perfect, and it CAN be counted on to do what it does, halleluia!
  • I am just right the way I am
  • things would be NOT be better if my body were healthy, fit, attractive
  • I love that this body is temporary, declining, will one day die
  • there is something right with my body, with me
  • I am NOT this body, it is not me, it is not my identity

Who would I be without the thought that aging, deterioration, accidents, injuries, sickness, or death were frightening? Or that they were ME?


Not feeling threatened. Noticing there is no need to be careful, nothing to worry about, a great unknown ahead.

A great unknown right NOW.

“Do not be afraid of what appears to be chaos or dissolution–embrace the full measure of your life at any cost. Bare your heart to the Unknown and never look back. What you are stands content, invisible, and everlasting. All means have been provided for our endless folly to split open into eternal delight.” ~ Adyashanti

(I note the words “split open” and how they do sound just a wee bit scary).

But chuckling here with the mind and it’s nervous interest in bad things, I notice also how I have watched two white lilies in a vase go from tightly closed bud to wide open flower as I’ve been lying here in my bed all these days.

I think they have definitely been split open into eternal delight.

And then they’ll decay and someone will throw them in the compost container.

“If you want to become whole, let yourself be partial. If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. If you want to become full, let yourself be empty. If you want to be reborn, let yourself die. If you want to be given everything, give everything up.” ~ Tao Te Ching #22

2013-12-17 10.06.07

This is me, Grace, using Grabbers to fetch my ice pack which I call Little Baby Creature From The Black Lagoon. And practicing crookedness.

Much love,
P.S. 8 week teleclass on food/eating starts again on January 15, and the Year of Inquiry for the Addictive Mind YOI starts on January 10th. Click below to read more!


5 Replies to “Partial, Crooked, Empty, Dying”

  1. Kathleen, I am so glad to hear the emails help. Very touched to hear of your son, thank you for sharing this and although it is beyond these words, love, love, love to all of it, and to you. –Grace

  2. Hi Grace
    Your emails help me so much
    At the moment I am sitting at the bedside of my son in the end stages of a long chronic illness
    I notice how my suffering increases with each story about how awful this is and how overwhelmed I feel at times.

    Hope your healing continues and things go well in that department!
    XX kathleen

  3. So funny! And even though I had help actually sort-of taking a shower last night, I couldn’t stand in the shower long enough to actually wash my hair. But I did manage to soap up and rinse off the body! Baby steps! ;)

  4. Gee, I didn’t think your hair looked as bad as you described it. Oh wait, did I miss the whole point of the Grace Notes today?! Glad u r feeling better. Made me smile to see your smiling face:)

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