Monday, September 21, 2009
When It Rains...
I managed to pull a weird muscle in my eye last night crying.
Behind my eye, of course. Eyeballs don't have muscles.
I remember in High School when my theater group took a trip to NYC for the first time, and Luke, one of the actors, got a burst blood vessel during the flight due to sudden changes in pressure. He said it didn't hurt, but it looked like hell. Blood floating all over his eye, but inside the cornea. Trippy.
Dylan couldn't see anything burst or pulled or off in my forehead or eye last night, but maybe that's just because I was crying. I woke this morning and the pain was gone. When we talked about it this morning I joked that maybe I cried so hard because it finally rained last night - for the first time in almost a month. Nada, nothing; cloudy days but no rain, for 21 days. It was such a relief last night, walking back with the in laws from dinner, to feel a cool breeze, some dampness on my skin, the smell of fall made that much huskier by the wet air. I guess my eyes needed some rain, too.
There's nothing like having a strong set of feelings come out with direct no trigger to bring meditation, writing or any kind of mindfulness practice to play. Thich Naht Hahn has said something to this effect (what Buddhist teacher hasn't?) - but he said it so well. That we can learn and learn all we want, but it isn't until the crap hits the fan that we actually really begin to practice. A friend of mine who runs a used bookstore in Appleton and was the first to publish my poetry, would always tell me, as a teenager, "It's good you're in pain; write from that." I never understood it then, but now, thinking so much lately about how deep feelings really help - strange to say but true - jerk us into the moment, to be here NOW, if we let them - us make direct contact with our lives. This doesn't mean I seek being in pain, but when it happens, it can actually be a gift. Even if a funny one.
We joked about this lightly yesterday, after the Harvest of Peace address at the Shambhala Center, as I was having 10 different "Madame Director" conversations at once while also putting away lots of gear - zafus and folding tables and digital projector, oh my! - and someone accidentally squished my finger between two heavy tables. I went from being overwhelmed and multitasking to being in very sharp pounding pain within two seconds. I yelped and she moved it, and I began to laugh. "I bet you're really here now," someone said, and I laughed more, "I even saw it coming, and didn't stop it!" and we all began to guffaw as if someone had just told the funniest joke in the world.
Maybe the only reason why feelings seem so overwhelming is that once we have opened that gate, let one or two in, a whole mess can come in at once. It's like meditation, when we leave so much space so that our mind can reign free and let go for a bit. The bits of mind usually hiding under the surface come in to play, too. Suddenly it seems as if we are "thinking" more when in fact we are thinking the same amount, just noticing it more. Maybe feelings are the same. Piggybacking, interdependent feelings accompanying the distinct sadness of a severe crying jag, or anger of a screaming match. The clown car of emotions - fit them all in at once. Who knows when the next opening will come.
So today I am letting whatever is left drift out. I have my suspicions of the things that "set me off," and read a chunk of Courage to Heal last night to help work gently through those. The chapter on feelings reminded me that I don't get to control them, that they come when I least expect them and often all mixed up. The best I can do is give them space.