There is so much impacting in my life. Tasks, objects that I have collected, ambitions, old habits of drama that I wish were old habits of Dharma practice. After another visit to emergency and a night with pain killers dripping into my veins after four tries to insert the IV, I am again in recovery mode.
The residual scaring from my cancer surgery seems to be the cause. Just as it is the residual scarring from my childhood that leaves me feeling alone, embattled, frantic and constantly trying to control life. What a futile and pathetic waste of energy. The ability to begin with self and give oneself a strong physical basis for all action, is a spiritual practice.
I keep likening my body to a horse. “I want to get it under me,” I sob into the felted paper tray I am given in the hospital to vomit into for five hours, ” I want to ride with my body in ease.” But I keep returning to debilitating states of exhaustion and recovery.
As I was pruning back the stubborn thorn tree that I mistakenly thought was a good idea because it presented itself as a rose bush, I reflected on the process. I tried to dig it out but the roots were too wide and deep. Lacking the physical strength and the place to stand to leverage the amazingly lethal plant out of my garden, I have adapted the strategy of pruning. First I prune for others. I cut back the razor thorned branches where they will tear at strollers and senior citizens walking past my fence. Next I prune for the other roses. I cut back where a more benigh, less exotic rose bush was planted.
As it loses strength, I am now able to prune it back for me. Cutting the weakening branches in this third year of work, I can begin to see that there is space to plant the giant Lupines that I love. The deep blues and purples harken back to another, gentler time when tall stems of flowers stood in an English garden or Victorian settings. It is a time and a style that holds my heart.
So like the rose bush, I have to learn to be patient with myself and my habits. Congratulating myself for every minor pruning for every small change.
This morning, I was victorious. Insteady of cleaning the house and weeding the spam of 50 chances to gamble from the comments on my web site, I drug my screaming ego out the door and went for a walk. Only 30 minutes, I promised the ego that clung to the threshold of the doorway. I dug my fingers off of the molding and out I went.
The trees in the early morning light were luminous and transformed my spirit. I met a silly cat that followed my progress up “her” alley by sticking her head through the square holes in the lattice spaces one after another monitoring my walk. An old dog, blind in one eye was glad to see me… however he saw me.
Then when I got home, I pruned that gothic rose bush, weeded my web site and fed my blog.
I am so grateful that the media carries columns by Ross Freake and Stan Chung. These two spiritual practitioners provide the public with a gentle call. The chance to awaken and observe self is now in the popular media. It is a sign.