I’m so touched by the online mini-retreat just shared by many this morning. It was magical and heart-breaking.
To get the link of the recording and listen-in, visit this Summer Camp information page HERE. Scroll down to the Opening Day recording link.
I was so moved by the beautiful, genuine inquiry and sharing people brought–from the people who spoke, but also from those who commented in the chat and shared their thoughts and questions.
Those who listen are also a significant part of this inquiry. The energy is alive and somehow palpable, like when a whole hall of people sit in meditative silence together.
Words are not required.
The inquiries brought to the call today were such beautiful examples of human awareness of change, loss, agony, feeling left or criticized….and working with these hurt feelings, opening up to understanding our pain and suffering.
Oddly, we’re not trying to get to any special place, or find that one missing answer, or figure out exactly what to do about this predicament….we’re bringing clear awareness to the story we’re telling ourselves. We’re not looking for advice.
We’re looking at the pain through the mind, the one that “thinks”, that sees pictures and images of loss or fear or anger or disappointment and never-ending unhappiness.
Strange, but it’s as if the inquiries brought to the Opening Day First Friday mini-retreat were perfectly placed, in just the right order, for opening up the story of separation.
I could relate to each and every story. I’ve done The Work on all three. All so painful. All incredibly powerful moments to question.
First, someone shared about a moment with someone close where the relationship was uncertainly defined. Are we friends or more than friends? Where is this going? I wanted something more. This is disappointing. I feel so hurt.
Next, a longer-term partnership (marriage) potentially moving into divorce. One person is moving out into another place to live. We feel crushed. He’s constantly criticizing me. He focuses on my flaws. I need him to say loving, kind things to me and notice what’s wonderful about me.
Finally, a family member has died tragically from cancer. So many people suffering, missing him. I want him to live. He shouldn’t die.
What is this suffering we’re experiencing in these situations? Does it mean, if I don’t suffer, that I won’t care about this person, or recall them? I won’t be close, or love? I won’t cry?
For me, this never turned out to be true.
In fact, as I’ve done The Work and even do The Work today with all these beautiful inquirers on the call, I find that without my thought that I should be with this person, or they should be alive….
….I stop resisting my thoughts of them. I talk to them, even out loud.
I might even listen to them when I ask “Why are you leaving? Why did you go? Do you know how much I love you?”
I hear their answers, with inquiry, even in my own head. I feel it all. I’m not holding back anymore.
NOT suffering does not mean my heart isn’t breaking and swelling into a million pieces. NOT suffering doesn’t mean being numb, or disconnected, or never thinking of them. NOT suffering doesn’t mean pretending things are OK when they actually aren’t, or trying to be a different person with a different reaction.
For me, what I find NOT Suffering actually looks like is being more connected with these people I adore than ever. At least that’s what I keep finding with The Work.
Instead of repeating the exact same painful thoughts about what’s happening with that person over and over again, I’m sitting with the difficult thought and looking at it from every possible angle.
I’m realizing, by doing this Q and A with my story, that I actually can’t confirm or deny that love is not present in this relationship, in this situation.
Most recently, in fact, when my former husband died, I felt the most strong, big, wide love for him I’ve felt in a long time.
I’ve reflected (and still am reflecting) on some of the unfinished wonderings not taken to the deepest inquiry yet about our parting, and separation, and divorce, and continued connection and friendship and co-parenting and deep support for one another through all these 31 years since we met.
These moments of having the heart pierced with grief and love (they are both there) can only happen with people who are significant and important to us.
“Your story is your identity, and you’d do almost anything to prove that it’s true. Inquiry into self is the only thing that has the power to penetrate such ancient concepts….When I learned to meet my thinking as a friend, I noticed that I could meet every human as a friend. The end of the war with myself and my thinking is the end of the war with you.” ~ Byron Katie in Loving What Is pg. 294
Someone asked today on the call how long registration is open for Summer Camp and I responded…Oh wow, I don’t know. LOL.
You can really join any time, and my thought is, you’ll probably enjoy more time, attention, practice and care for yourself and your thinking if you come on board sooner than later. Plus you’ll get to participate in our Pop-Up private summer camp forum for a greater amount of time. I’d suggest joining this weekend sometime.
But does longer mean better? Do you really have to attend all seven weeks to get the best results? Does more minutes in inquiry add up to more clarity in the mind? Is it better to spend more time in a marriage? Is it better to be partnered than not? Is more life better than less life? Is it better to live until age 95 than 35?
I can’t absolutely know that it’s true.
Maybe one profoundly powerful inquiry can open us to unknown worlds we never thought possible. Maybe asking ourselves “is that really true?” just once about a thought that something shouldn’t happen….can end our suffering and angst about life.
What I notice is that life is passionately, profoundly on the move in the form of people coming, and then going. When there is this experience called loss, or disappointment, or sadness, or rage about people coming or going, perhaps it is not as terrible as I am thinking and believing is it.
I notice I am filled with a startling sense of feeling when these incidents happen. I’m brought to my knees in the present moment. Tears flow. Heart breaks open. Is it not the ordinary. It brings me to The Work.
Could this be true love?