Feeling into this present. A sadness. I burned my left foot this week. Poured a kettle of boiling water into a glass that broke in two. Now it is healing, pain-free. Bandaged so I am having to be extra careful how I step, walk, do downward dog and child’s pose. Because of where the blisters are, only one pair of my shoes fit (red patent flats).
So much rain. A friend called the month, Juneuary. Sun teases with its peek-a-boo appearances today. Here in my studio, I am surrounded by these: pillows, questions, stories and hearts. Robins on the ground, in the trees and everywhere. They take off and alight, swoop across my window as I yoga. I want to fly with them and I love to watch, witness.
Everywhere there are birds, words, stories. Hearts needing some kind of love or attention. Everywhere there are thoughts, wounds and wondering at this life, how full it is and how this moment is so quiet too.
There are also paradoxes, paradises and paramours. Walking with my Goddess-son Elan on the beach, throwing stones, kelp and sticks into the sea, hearing the waves crash then stepping back so they don’t come too close. Later in the living room, after chasing puzzle pieces, brazilian shoulder dancing and tickling Elmo, he opens his mouth, laughs, brings his wide ( ) lips to my own open-mouth and laughs more.
There are also too many children lying dead in the streets in Syria, and fish and other wild beings whose lives need protection although our Prime Minister and his government don’t care to walk in their (animal) shoes.
Here at the Centre for Loving Inquiry, the third group of Heartrepreneurs has two more weeks to go, as do the students in the 28-day Launchpad to Entrepreneurship course at Royal Roads. What am I learning through this process, about myself, my passion and compassion, about heartrepreneurship? What am I learning about being a mentor, or being present, a presence?
We plan and plan for our lives, make vision boards, business plans and bucket lists. We discover something we love to do and keep doing it, hoping one day the doing will make us a living, get us discovered, win us friends and other fancy things. We believe that why we are here is to be the best, to “just do it” and succeed with our goals, degrees and families. Then something comes along that, as Fleetwood Mac sang, “shatters our illusions of love.” A way of being, seeing that makes this life so much more than about “me,” about what “I” want and what “I” love and what “I” need.
Something wakes us up, leads to a feeling of disillusionment, or dispassion. Which may at first feel like we have lost our joy, our sparkle. But that’s only the first layer of it. Underneath there is a deeper joy, a longer-lasting crystallization of purpose and meaning.
That is what is happening to me. Here in my studio, as I sit and write there is a deep feeling of (un)rest. This feeling is both familiar and foreign. How many years have I been hanging out in this silence, with these words, or ones like it. In the world I am a writer with only one published poetry book and a spoken word CD to my name, along with a growing CV of academic publications. In here I am the writer who has been living with and through words for over 20 years. What is more real: What others see of me, or what I know, experience, depend on, reap joy and vital nourishment from?
What I want is for others to see me and know me as a writer. I want books on the shelves at local stores with my names on them. I want to stand before other writers, and readers, and share my love of words and what they mean to me, to us.
Then why am I teaching heartrepreneurs programs, on Salt Spring Island and at Royal Roads University, and loving every minute of that teaching? (Well, almost every minute. There are those moments of doubt, of concern that I don’t know everything that my students need.) Why am I making appointments with professors at local universities to learn more about their research in rural entrepreneurship? Why am I being drawn to address the issue of a lack of resources on Salt Spring for people, and especially women, who want to take care of themselves and create businesses so they can make a living and do what they love? Why am I talking to other resource people in the community about how to make heartrepreneurs affordable and available for everyone who needs it? Why am I preparing to write some grants for this work?
I don’t understand.
Here I pause. And return to an earlier paragraph:
Then something comes along that “shatters our illusions of love.” A way of being, seeing that makes this life so much more than about “me,” about what “I” want and what “I” love and what “I” need.
One of the foundations of heartrepreneurship is making the connection between our skills, talents and passions and the needs of the customer and the community. I am a teacher and a writer, a poet and a facilitator. I love words, written, sung or spoken. I love to perform and I love to converse. I also love to be in relationships that are mutually inspiring and rewarding, reciprocal. I have been given so much and I want to give back. I have struggled all my adult life to find ways to earn a living that are congruent with my values, my skills, my temperament. Why wouldn’t I want to encourage and support others to do the same?
And still there is the question of I. The I who wants to write more books, to share more words, to feel more silence, to say more with less and less with more. And the I who wants to give, to share. Is there even a want here? The I that is already giving and sharing, that loves to work for the benefit of my own and others sustenance and sustainment.
One of the foundations of spiritual practice is a recognition of non-separation, experiencing the non-existence of the separate self. Is there a new body moving into this body? An older body moving out? or in? What has become of the one who always thought of her needs first? Well, she still looks with lust at pretty dresses and colourful shoes. She still longs to visit Paris again and sit in a café on a busy boulevard sipping something foamy with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. But she’ll settle for a week in Montreal at the end of June, and a summer full of weekly Victoria café days and evenings with her Goddess-son.
This is about surrender. Because this present is perfect. This body, this heart, this garden I live through and write within. The next moment, the unknown, the blossoming of possibilities is leading me…
I am thrilled to share the latest offering from the Centre for Loving Inquiry. This month I am beginning to offer the Practice of Loving Inquiry as a home-study course.
Loving Inquiry is a creative and spiritual practice that teaches us to slow down and pay attention to what is important and meaningful in our lives using “gates” as metaphors for opening into a space of exploration and expression. Each gate invites us to pause and notice our experience through the frame of a particular creative skill or spiritual quality.
For a subscription of $25 a month, you will receive a biweekly, 3-5 page written lesson (“gate”) with poems for inspiration, questions for reflection, prompts and exercises to encourage you to care for yourself, do what you love and act on your dreams. These gates will be sent at the beginning and the middle of the month, and will deepen the learning of the same Gate I am exploring on my radio show/podcasts during those weeks.
Subscribe here and start your journey with the gates…