Real Life: Make Yourself a Door
5 Minute Read: Self-care, mindfulness, separation, divorce, poetry, connection, kindness, emergence.
Well, this week sure wasn’t the easiest!
I returned from my self-retreat in Victoria to a freezing cabin, water turning on and off (again, and not *just* due to frozen pipes but also a faulty filter), sinks emitting a sewage smell, and – wait for it…
My absentee slumlord aggressively saying things such as "why don't you live with your husband," when I calmly expressed concern over not having reliable running water.
I ended that call (still calmly, but firmly) thusly:
Whoah. This conversation has gone sideways. We are not having this conversation in this way. I am paying for running water in my lease. That is the issue. I'm going to hang up now.
The local person my landlord hires to work on these things is conscientious and kind. It’s the landlord himself who’s not acting in integrity or from a place of kindness.
Dealing with this right now of all times is hard, to say the least.
But know what? It’s not the hardest thing I’ve done, am doing, or will do in this life.
So after a minute of shaking, rage and tearfulness, I embraced the place of practice…and recognized how well daily practice prepared me. (I also called on backup, listening to teachings such as this and this.)
What else is up? A lot, honestly, but most falls into the “not ready to talk about it” file. I do want to share a pivotal theme though:
Practicing with emergence
As in, remembering that I don’t need to decide right now. In fact, I don’t need to do anything. My most important job is to sit with the painful, scary, difficult stuff…and wait.
Getting lost in the labyrinth of thinking won't lead to answers anyway. What’s needed is to wait, feel, and see what emerges.
This means not reaching for the immediate fix or bandaid. It means not making the call or sending the text no matter how much my heart breaks for it. It means not stepping back into a painful, broken dance.
It also means leaning harder than ever into what I know supports me:
Yoga, mindfulness and breath
Nourishing food and sleep
Kindness and connection
Resting from choice and into simplicity
Remembering the ebb and flow of things
Surrendering to the Universe, Tao, Divine
All this helps with my living situation…and with the bigger, more difficult stuff. One hundred percent.
Two more things.
This week, at a particularly difficult moment, I was headed from lunch at the co-op and into school. A complete stranger approached and asked, “Are you Dana?" When I said yes, she told me she follows this blog and her sister lives in Victoria. I cannot express the timeliness of her reaching out and speaking up. My heart overflowed, and truthfully, I suppressed a flood of tears. Thank you, Sylvia. That meant more than I can say.
I shared this poem by David Whyte last week but keep returning to it, so am sharing it again, especially this: “make yourself a door through which to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.”
Find that far inward symmetry
to all outward appearances, apprentice
yourself to yourself, begin to welcome back
all you sent away, be a new annunciation,
make yourself a door through which
to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you.
See with every turning day,
how each season makes a child
of you again, wants you to become
a seeker after rainfall and birdsong,
watch now, how it weathers you
to a testing in the tried and true,
admonishes you with each falling leaf,
to be courageous, to be something
that has come through, to be the last thing
you want to see before you leave the world.
Above all, be alone with it all,
a hiving off, a corner of silence
amidst the noise, refuse to talk,
even to yourself, and stay in this place
until the current of the story
is strong enough to float you out.
~ David Whyte, “Coleman’s Bed“ (full version here)
What are you practicing with?
I’d love to hear what mantras or places of practice are alive for you right now. Even without details, the thread of our shared humanness is powerful, heart-healing stuff.
Recipes + Links
In the “cracked me up” file. Make sure to click on the extra image reel.
Playing on repeat. May or may not be singing along.
On digital decluttering. Huge YES to choosing a focused life in a noisy world.
On coming out at work. "I followed the one piece of advice that resonated from my initial internet research: ‘Take a breath.’ There was no need to send a department-wide email or gather everyone around for a suspenseful moment of truth. I could start small and take my time. It’s easy to forget that everyone has parts of themselves that are harder to share than others. If I listened to other people and let them into my world, people would do the same for me."
On overthinking it. “Maybe, I’ve often replied in my head, you’re just underthinking it. There’s nothing wrong with an insatiable desire to unpack the world; it’s especially potent when paired with a little gumption.”
P.S., Here’s to pausing…seeing what needs to emerge…and acting from that place. xo.