The Experiment: Day 140 ~ Coming Into Balance, Real Life As It Is…

I have been so happy because of all of the changes in my life these past few months that I was almost unnaturally blissful. I know many of you have felt it. But it is all a part of the healing process. The more important part of the process comes when you suddenly feel as if you have fallen from grace as I did last night, slipped into a state near despair, and worried that you would not be able to find your newfound happiness again, but inside you know that it was somehow an anomaly, “a moment,” and that all would be well again. We must go through these cycles to get in touch with where we are and where we need to be. Today I am better, quiet, reflective, but better. I believe that last night I unconsciously self-corrected in an effort to find more balance. I have come back to center, to what real life is, a series of ups and downs, always coming back to center, able to maintain a sense of well-being over all. And being happy, happy, happy all the time really isn’t healthy for me in the sense that being bipolar which, even though I am off meds and currently not experiencing troubling bipolar symptoms, I am and will always be bipolar in my makeup, I’m supposing, and being “too happy” too much of the time could lead me to mania. No, last night I fell off of the happiness wagon and dissolved into sadness and tears. Today, I am much better. This is real life as it is. Now, where do I go from here?

From here I remind myself that my “only” job is to be present in this moment. And I know, the whole thing about mindfulness and the present moment is so over-done now it has almost lost its meaning, but it is an ancient practice and the only way I can stay whole and sane and live a balanced life. For me, not living in the moment has led me to being mired in the past, a past of long-term abuse and all manner of sorrow and nightmares. Good things too of course but when we are hyper-focused on our past, as I have been, as so many of us have been, for decades, there is a constant breaking down of the fiber of our being. I was almost transparent, you could see through me, there was no substance there, it was a land of ghosts. and from that land of ghosts I continually projected into the future with so much fear and trepidation I completely obliterated the present. And the thing is the only thing we really have any power over at all is this moment, this exact moment. It’s where we live. And the only way we have the possibility of a happy, fulfilling future is to live as well as we can in this moment. Oh Lord, it all sounds so trite, but I have to tell myself this very thing over and over because we think we know it, it sounds so simple, and a lot of people just roll their eyes when you talk about it because, as I said, it has been so overdone it’s hard to take it seriously anymore. But I still return over and over again to what Ram Dass said so many years ago, “BE HERE NOW.” It’s as simple and as hard as that. And we set our mind to doing just that and then we fall off the path, over and over again, and we continually come back because it’s the only thing there is. And it’s not a static way of being, it is a practice, and my whole life depends on this practice. If I let myself blindly stray from this place as I did last night I will spiral out into despair. It isn’t pretty, it can be soul-shattering, and it’s not where I want to be.

The other thing I want to say is that I can almost see people’s eyes rolling, or perhaps glazing over, when I talk about this being a practice. Here I would like to refer you to this wonderful article from the Huff Post called “The Top 10 Benefits of Spiritual Practice,” and please, before you click out of this post read this so you understand re: Spiritual...

“Please don’t be put off by the word spiritual here! Spiritual doesn’t have to entail — though it often does — meditation cushions, prayer beads, chant books, yoga mats or any other such paraphernalia. A spiritual practice might be baking, gardening, running, knitting, playing piano, painting, hiking, meditating, golfing, doing yoga, tai chi or calligraphy. It is not so much about the form but about the profound and connective quality of the time spent within it.

The practice part means just that: you do it daily, over and over, not in a gross way, but rather in a this-is-what-makes-me-who-I-am way. Without the aim of ever stopping with it, you practice as contribution to your ever-unfolding life on this earth. It can feel beautiful and compelling, harrowing and agonizing, annoying, vexing, boring as hell or as ordinary and routine as brushing your teeth. Above all it is your rock, the ultimate placating pillar, steady and reliable as they come.”

For me, now, it is the practice of being present that is the foundation of everything else that I do. Eating, sleeping, taking care of the dogs, writing, feeding the wildlings outside, being a mother, a grandmother, a friend, doing and being everything. I am better at everything that I do if I am staying really present, and you feel it. If you have been here for awhile you know this to be true if you really think about it. Think back over, say, the last 10 posts. You can really feel if I was present when I was writing it, those will be the ones that are memorable, that perhaps touched you deeply, that “felt different.” I can feel it when I’m writing them although not consciously. The ones that are light-hearted, goofy or funny, or just really brief because that was one of the hard days when just to show up was all I could do, these are not the ones where I was really present and able to dive deep and touch down on something that was real. If I were ever to turn this blog experiment into a book, say, it would not be a 365 day journey because I would cut out all of those type of posts first and then see what was left. I would continue to cut and edit from there but those type of posts would go right off the top. A book with those kind of writings can be very enjoyable to read but they are not likely the books you return to again and again and pass on to others. The kind of books I love are the ones I have made a mess of underlining, highlighting, and making notes in because I never wanted to forget what I was reading, and while I may not remember direct quotes anymore those are the books that have become part of the fabric of my being. That is the kind of book I want to write.

So it is a new day, and I’m still not on firm footing about what it all means with my work. I know what I want it to mean, what I’ve hoped for and tried to do, but I begin to wonder if it is possible in this medium where everything is momentary and gone in a flash as people dash off to a thousand different things both online and off? I want it to matter, I want people to stop for a moment, really think about what they’ve read, let it resonate for a bit, and respond to me, as I will respond back to them, and so much more. I want engagement, I want to build community, I am making plans for ways to do this, and I hope there will be those of you out there for whom this will matter. Can we stop going around to a thousand different things and choose the few that really light us up, make us think, make us feel supported and loved? Isn’t it time? If we are to have lives of meaning in this virtual, electronic world we can’t just skim the surface like waterbugs. Will anyone be with me in this? I guess I’m going to see.

Now I will close here because I am about to have the best of both worlds, live and online, as I do every Thursday night with my dear friend Bekah. We will Skype or use FB Live (It seems to work more reliably these days.) and we laugh and talk and share live and “in person.” Bekah and I have never met face to face, she is in Michigan and I am in North Carolina, but we have been talking for years on the phone and now using live chat platforms. It has really deepened our friendship in ways I would have never dreamed possible. I will never forget Skyping with her for hours on Christmas Eve when we wrapped all of our Christmas gifts together. We were on past midnight. She was the first one I said “Merry Christmas” to! There are so many possibilities for real and deep connection now. This is what I am working on for my Patreon page, videos, live calls, and more.

Good night dear friends. I hope it has been a good day for you. I hope tomorrow you will have a day of peace and ease. I send you love…

The Experiment ~A 365 Day Search For Truth, Beauty &
Happiness: Day 1 ~ Introduction To The Project
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Yoda

If you enjoy this blog a donation would be deeply appreciated to help me continue to bring “Maitri’s Heart” to you. Thank you, and many deep blessings to one and all…

Comments

  1. I’m glad to see all of the 365 posts. Not only the deep and remarkably well said. Those that touch me deeply, may not be the posts that touch someone else. And the goofy or just exhausted ones belong to the picture. Life sometimes needs days of low tide, seems to me. If it were happy happy enlightened every day I might have stopped reading weeks ago. For me it feels authentic and I love you even more for couragously showing your downs as all as your ups.
    And it is something I learn from: if exhausted, take a nap and afterwards go on with your chores. If you feel your work doesn’t make a difference universe-wise, go feed the squirrels and let yourself see that the small things matter – and so on.
    For everything you write and send out to us, your readers, I guess one of us needs to read just that just then.
    Love and Blessings
    Silke

    • Thank you so much dear Silke, I needed to read all of this, it helped me so much, kind of straightened out my perspective, and it helps so much just to have you here with me, speaking your gentle truth. And isn’t that the truth about naps? When I feel as though I can bear no more, when everything is a muddle, just snuggling up with the pugs for a little nap works wonders. It always sets me right again.

      Just now I am about to pour my coffee, a blue jay outside is making a terrible ruckus — they delight me no end! — and I just put more food out for the squirrels who are up much earlier than we are and had eaten everything I put out for them last night. I can only really enjoy my coffee once the pugs are all fed and cared for and the wildlings have plenty of food. Then the pugs snuggle all up around me and go back to sleep and I can watch the birds and the squirrels coming and going and it makes me happy. I am much better today than I was the last couple of days. I am grateful. And on we go into a new day filled with possibilities. I hope you are well honey, the pugs and I are sending lots of love to you and Ben…

      Maitri

      • Thank you, dear! We had a sunny and cold day on the snowy beach followed by snugglecuddletime. Now it’s bedtime over here. Looking forward to waking up and finding your new blogpost in my mail.
        Have a good time till then!

        • Ah, snugglecuddletime, it’s the best! I hope you had a gentle night, and I hope today is full of everything that makes you feel right in the world. That is simply the best gift there is. Much love and many blessings to you honey…

  2. 😘

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