We are moochdocking at my Dad’s place again. He’s got a big spread in A-town and he lets us park the Airstream down by the barn. He put in 30 amp service for us so we can have shore power, and there’s a hose bib nearby so we can fill our freshwater tanks. It is a beautiful place to park and it has been a lifesaver for us as we’ve returned again and again to deal with our various family horrors. A place of calm and order and warmth.
Thank you, Pops.
I think we’re still leaving home. Twenty years in the same place and it turns out you can’t leave it all at once. But it’s happening. Next month will be a year since we went on the road and it is starting to feel like we busted out. Not that we want to be free of our child and her children. Never that. Those tendrils and roots go through our very souls. Just as Yolie and I are intertwined, those boys and our girl weave in and out of every neuron, axon, and dendrite we possess.
But we did have to shift our unskillful approach at “helping” them. Shift it into something that looks a lot like we have abandoned them. I think that living through that decision is showing me that I can have trust in the way things unfold. I can learn to accept that things are the way they are, and I can learn to let go of my vision of how I want things to be. It asks a lot to take this view. You have to be willing to be open to the things that frighten you the most. Your child in jail. Your grandchildren in foster care. Your own limitless grief and guilt and sorrow.
But these terrible things we are asked to accommodate are here already. They are not waiting around for our permission to manifest. They arrive and depart on their own schedule. So being open to them doesn’t change them in that way- they don’t rush in or suddenly depart because you’ve changed your view, changed your approach. They still come and go on their own.
When we struggle against what is, it comes anyway. When we strive for what isn’t meant to be, it still remains unmanifest.
The Buddha spoke of our lives as having the quality of dukkha, or suffering. The lion’s share of this suffering comes from our approach to the way things really are. We are so conditioned by our strong cravings for happiness and pleasure and our strong aversion to pain and suffering that we spend every waking moment and our dream lives trying to fashion an acceptable world out of what is nakedly presented to us. We imagine that the limitless bounty of the manifest world is a buffet from which we can choose those things that bring us happiness and joy, and that we can push away or ignore those things we loathe or fear or simply don’t understand.
It’s an approach that seems to make a lot of sense, but it leads only to suffering. At least, that’s been my experience. I want this, I don’t want that- and I can spend months, years, a lifetime agonizing over it. Limitless lifetimes, if you believe the Buddhist view. I want this, I don’t want that. I want my child to be happy. I don’t want her to be an addict. I want this job, I don’t want that one. I want this to happen and if it does then I will be happy. If this other thing happens, I will be so miserable. It will be the end of the world. I have to do all of these things to make sure that it does happen, or that it doesn’t happen, or that once it happens that it keeps on happening, or never happens again- on and on and on without ceasing.
Giving this activity up is very, very difficult. It is simple, but hard.
Luckily, I’ve been blessed with a life that shows me as many times as I need to be shown that I don’t have any alternative to giving it up. My suffering has been great enough that I’ve become willing to do whatever it takes to stop creating it. For me, this has meant learning to become familiar with my mind and how it works, and learning to stop the engine of picking and choosing what’s acceptable to me, and opening my eyes and my heart, really for the first time, to what is. Just that. What is.
And of course, what is is just that. It isn’t anything magical, it isn’t another realm. It isn’t heaven or paradise or nirvana or astral planes or any of that. It is simply everything that is, all at once, all the time. And yeah, it’s got beauty. And yeah, it’s got horror. It has perfume and it has shit. It has bliss and sorrow. It has everything, everything, everything, everything. It always has, and it always will, and that will never change. The forms change, they dance and writhe and flex and flow and pop in and out of existence, but the show remains the same mix of everything all the time.
And of which you are part and parcel. Not extricable from the warp and weft but intrinsic to it. Nor does it need to be more. Nor can it be less. Though you are of it, though you are it, it does not need your picking and choosing. It is deaf to that interior squabbling. Unmoved. What is dances its own dance ceaselessly.
For me what I have found is that I like dancing with what is a lot better than I liked trying to make it dance the way I thought was best. It is so much richer and more terrifying than any dance I could have thought up in a billion, billion lifetimes.
And, yes, it is beautiful. It is horrific. It is bliss and terror kind of all the time. But what are those things? The distinction begins to blur. And it doesn’t matter, really, what I call any particular thing. Everything, when seen with clarity, is everything. Is that good? Is that bad?
That question stops making any sense. Not that it ever really did. A better question becomes- “What is this thing?”
Keep asking that one. See where it takes you.
I am blessed. I am a cosmic engine of love. I have no fear. I am fully human with all of the flaws that being human entails. I am not exempt. I am for the boneyard. I won’t be spared nor will I ask to be.
I want the world. I want the whole world.
Namaste, bitches. I love you like you are my own. You are our most perfect being. It took four billion years and everything that ever was just to bring you into this world- thank god you’re here at last!
Now get to work.
Love. Love. Love. See it all, and love anyway.