At 4 in the morning, after wrestling with a depressing issue the day before, suddenly the dawn breaks before dawn. This is a deeply personal awareness that I share.
I had been to Maundy Thursday service, and it was very somber, the whole story of a world gone wrong, terribly wrong, the story of the world I live in today. On Friday morning I had a dream about coming home to a house surrounded by firemen who were cleaning up and leaving, they had put out the fire but the house was damaged by smoke and water. The carpet was wet when I went inside. In the corner was a magnificent tiger, cowering in fear.
When I awoke, I asked myself what it meant, and the answer was immediate: I feel the peace movement has been damaged, the state of the world is damaged, and the leadership is frightened.
All day Friday I was listless, bored. The longer the day dragged on, the more I became depressed. That evening I went to Dances of Universal Peace with a faint hope that I would be somehow restored, and it happened. It began with freely flowing tears. I saw my reflection in a window as if I were a ghost, far away. I was transported into a space of no time, and strange to say, my watch stopped for almost an hour before it restarted itself. The theme of the Dances was all about relationship, community, renewal, and transformation. And I got it, whatever it is. On Saturday morning, I woke at 4 AM with these thoughts pouring through my head, begging to be written down so I would not forget:
I am not who I thought I was. I am We. In recovery from chemicals, co-dependency and violence, I learned to shut down my whirling thoughts, sit down and listen. What I heard was my story being told by others. What I felt in myself was this growing ability to listen, and at first I listened only with my ears, I heard things. Then I listened with my mind, I thought about things. Now I listen with my heart, and I feel things.
I just wanted to be comfortable with myself, accept myself just the way I am, and I didn’t know that’s what I wanted, or lacked — self-acceptance — but that’s what I got. I wanted to be comforted for not being “good enough,” for being a victim of my family of origin, my culture of origin, my species of origin.
I am not who I thought I was. I thought I was very powerless at controlling others, that I was a very weak and stupid person, a misfit, a miscreant. I thought I was alone in this world, I thought I was living in hell. I thought I was a violent and evil person, I didn’t belong here.
I had to accept all of that, I had to tell You that, I had to hear myself say these things and believe that you heard me. Then I discovered I wasn’t talking to myself, I heard you telling me my own story, reflecting it back to me, and I was stunned.
I stopped thinking. I felt connected, and the empty void within me became a solid thing with a path and a purpose. I no longer had to understand all of what had happened to me with the urgency that I had felt. I rested in the knowledge that this container called recovery was safe, that I could relax, unwind, move when I felt like moving, and look at scary memories only when I was ready.
I am not who I thought I was. I am no longer a solitary, struggling, panicking idiot. I have the strength of all of You, I have the courage of all of You, I have the Love of all of You. My history still haunts me like a ghost sometimes, but now I see it only faintly at a distance, and it does not frighten me. I am not my history, in fact there is not much of me left anywhere and it’s becoming difficult for me to say who I am except as a large group of Relationships. I am nothing but a nucleus of relationships, my definition of who I am has become a cloud of relationships. My wealth, my health, is invested and embodied in my relationships to Everything, visible and invisible. So who I am has become very “fuzzy” and transient, changing moment by moment. I am not solid, I am not empty, I am not even who I think I am, I no longer know, nor do I care. I have gone from self-acceptance to self-discovery to self-abandonment.
“Take my will and my life, show me how to live.”
I feel very much A.L.I.V.E., Aware of Love Incarnate Victorious Everywhere. I see it in me, I see it in You, and there is no separation. I am We. Love always wins. I may forget all of this tomorrow, but if I write it down and then share it with others, more than once, it becomes less forgettable. Thank you for listening.