Thursday, December 29, 2016

Looking Back Post 2/3

(I am posting my own responses to looking back over the last year in this blog weekly for three weeks. These are unedited writings done in class, offered here for my students and readers. This is week two out of three - the last one will be next week)

“Whatever arises is fresh, the essence of realization…”
(line from Shambhala lineage chant)

I look out over the back yard from the windows above, and I see space: whiteness expanding our small urban field, melding into the white and blue garage, and blue sky beyond. It is easier from this high up to not see where rabbits have run in circles, or shat in the snow making small minefields, to not to see the still green fallen willow leaves, or patches where grass bleeds through.
And so, though I don’t mean to back into a metaphor for looking back at the end of the year, I have. It is easier now, at the end of December, either see the whole year as clear and white and clean and destined, or as muck and confusion and mud. The fact is, it was, as is life, both.
This year Ilana changed her gender marker on all of her legal paperwork. She got her regular ID done last year, but this year we needed her passport. We got her social security, then birth certificate, then passport, changed from male to female. I actually felt some discomfort in changing her birth certificate, a line of thinking in my subconscious like, “But you were born male-bodied?” I wanted to say something and I never did. I understood/understand why it is needed for legalities, bureaucracy, and still I find it odd. If only they could issue a re-birth certificate, or note a change of gender on the birth certificate. Writing this, I am realizing it is more than the paper - it feels like changing her birth certificate erases a lot of her life, parts I can’t and don’t want to erase, and I know she doesn’t either
 How does the birth certificate relate as a symbol to our relationship? It is tricky territory. I think the birth certificate has been emotionally bound until now, to me holding onto some of her maleness. Realizing this, I can talk to her about it with more curiosity about how she feels, and less aggression needing my experience to be acknowledged.
This is last line is a lot of how this last year went: seeing through the veils of righteousness, again and again, so I can self-liberate and stop hoping others will hurt or trigger me less, or acknowledge me more.
 A lot of this means looking at where I get in my own way. “Connecting the dots,” was my personal slogan for the year, related to my intention word: connect. What this meant a lot of the time was trying to see cause and effect. For instance, working through panic and martyrdom to be able to be present for difficult conversations, not wanting either Ilana or I to be fixed. Once I started uncoupling my emotions from logistics around things like finances and fitness, I began to find unprecedented peace and an ability to tolerate discomfort without worry.
 It has been miraculous, and also very, very hard work: a lot of EMDR, Karuna Training, ngondro, neurokinesis, friends, writing, meditation…All of these play integral parts.

The main thing I learned about connecting, what I feel I really grokked, is that connection has to be active. It is not passive. When I disconnect from others, in order to decrease stimulation, I risk disconnecting from myself. I have to find my true motivation: if I want to truly rest and relax, I have to stay connected to myself, otherwise I just numb out. Discerning this goes a long way in helping me get what I really need from me, from Ilana, from teaching, from life.
When the sun is shining on the backyard for a few hours in the afternoon, I can better see the pockmarked texture of the no-longer-fresh flakes piled in space. I like this angle; it’s a pure and clear perspective of just how complex and messy things really are. And beautiful. Really. Truly.

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