the circle game

“…the seasons they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down
we’re captive on the carousel of time
we can’t return we can only look behind
from where we came
and go round and round
in the circle game…” – Joni Mitchell

SUES dharma wheel

As a kid, I didn’t do well on amusement or playground rides that went in circles.  I recall being held by the arms and swung in a circle by others but can’t imagine why I let them. I am predisposed to nausea and dizziness…even now blood pressure issues, hormonal swings, and a propensity to ear stones keeps me in a nearly constant state of vigilance for dizzy spells. I dread that feeling, the room spins, and the nausea that follows almost more than anything else.

Perhaps it’s that feeling of complete disorientation, vulnerability, and fear that holds the key to my practice, and search for the dharma (the truth about the way things are and will always be in nature and the universe).  I know that challenging situations and people are my greatest teachers. I believe they are coming at me so relentlessly in recent years because I have not yet learned what I need to learn about surrendering to the circuitousness of life.

A new friend created the Dharma Wheel above for me…what a gift!  I particularly love how the center evokes the warmth and brightness of the sun.  The eight spokes remind me to practice the eightfold path. I am really struggling with truthful communication without harm.  While I believe my intent is positive, clearly it is not always experienced as such by others…and I am simply too attached to the idea (my ego!) that they will experience me otherwise.  

But it seems my real attachment is to the hurt of my past.  In a Tricycle teaching by Tsulrim Allione in an adaptation from her book Feeding Your Demons, this former Tibetan Buddhist nun explains that demons are not ghouls waiting to harm us but rather the core of our ego-clinging.  I followed her five step instruction of finding my demon in order to feed it what it needed and ultimately integrating it as an ally.  I was surprised at how quickly and assuredly my demon provided me with profound insights.  

When asked what my demon wanted from me, the answer was to be left alone.  Likewise the response to what it needed from me was to be allowed to die.  The demon assured me that it would feel free and at peace as a result.

So how has it served me to keep this wounded soul alive for so long? I have been compelled again and again to hold her up as a victim, demanding she be seen and her hurts revenged.  The minute anyone disregards or attacks me, I immediately pull out this painful past and parade it over and over again in my mind.  No rest for the demon, no rest for me.  Completely irrelevant to the external world.  

In the exercise, as I envisioned feeding the wretched soul of my demon as much nourishment and nectar as she could take in, she transformed into a tiny, translucent and luminescent being.  I took my tiny Thumbelina lovingly into my heart and learned she would always be there to warm and protect my heart, I just needed to breathe mindfully into my heart to access this demon turned ally.

I realize this may sound kooky to most people.  Yet it’s a powerful thing to own these attachments we have that cause us and others such suffering.  What the mind creates, the mind can transform.  Assaulted by nearly constant pain, I’m willing to commit to whatever practice or process carves out a new path of being…knowing the circuitous nature of the universe will likely keep bringing me back to that pain until one day it won’t hurt quite so much.


the king and i

the king and i
sister selfie
Is it really good to be king?
The whole idea seems full of countless traps of the ego and attachment to a cherished outcome. But then what situations don’t bring those challenges?

After experiencing what Buddhists refer to as samvega last summer~a cataclysmic transformative shift has occurred within me. In spite of the immense suffering I endured, I am grateful.

No longer will I contort myself to fit the reality of others. No longer will I seek the reflection and approval of others to find my truth and happiness. I will continue to follow the path of that first painful lesson which is treat all others with kindness, and do my best to have compassion. Especially for those who cause me the greatest harm.

A true king is not someone seeking power and control, but one who is kind and generous. Someone who inspires. And while my intent is to be kind, generous and inspire, I do not wish to be king.

To quote the Fleet Foxes song Helplessness Blues: “I’d rather be a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.”

Thanks to that cataclysmic shift~and a very generous and loving king who took me to Sedona for a goddess retreat with Krystina Morgainee~I am well on my way to clarity about what is meaningful to me.

Focusing on what Seth Godin calls ‘the work’…finally having a clarity and direction of where my work needs to live.

The King and I are bonded by more than being sisters. Her soul type and mine, Warrior, are coupled together as action-oriented beings. I am learning to stay clear of any bullish tendencies I may have previously had the compulsion to act out. My sister rarely struggles with tyrannical behavior~though dysfunctional family dynamics and the tyranny of others can still hook her shenpa BIG time.

I am so grateful to have taken this path, and so honored to be taking it with her. It’s a spiritual two-fer! So thank you Sissy for your generous nature, unconditional love, respect, sharing, support, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.


Stuck in the Middle

stuck in the middle
I confess.  I was a middle child.  color harrier
But you can hold your groans and knowing looks.
Unless you are a middle child and so, of course, understand.
While it’s true I was a middle child during my formative years.
Later I became the second oldest of six children.
Which may be why I excel at being #2.
As long as who I am is recognized and valued by #1.
Lucky for me, I have an older sister who has shown me the way.
So middle child is not what defines me.  The journey is undefinable.
Who I am is the solid rock at the center of life’s rippling waters.
I am [the rock] stuck in the middle of that pond.
The journey is The Middle Way.
Rising above the water to return back to that authentic place.