On Friday the rain was fairly light and the canopy of trees so thick that one could actually take a walk and hardly get wet. During walking contemplation I found a sweet little Buddha altar sticking out of the mud on the side of a cliff.
I've been contemplating feelings of unworthiness since Pema brought it up on one of our walks in the park about a month or so ago. She knows me. She knows I've done a lot of inner growth work and an amazing amount of healing but she is a smart woman and a good friend. "Do you feel unworthy of love?" she asks me. No, it's not about being unworthy, I tell her. I know I'm worthy of love...but she stirred something up. Thanks Pema! I met my Gollum of Unworthiness at this Intensive. She lives in the cave of my heart and has been coming out to torment me since Pema woke her up! I tease. She was tormenting me already and Pema just gave her a name. All the expanding love light in my heart had exposed her--brought her out of the shadows and riled her up. I got to meet her face to face at the Intensive and she gave me quite the scare. She made me cry. For now I've given her a soft warm blanket and promised her indefinite residence in my heart. This has calmed her down. She likes to curl up next to the interior wall where it's cooler and dark. The love fire burning in the center of my/her heart cave keeps her warm and I think she is getting used to the heat. She likes her blanket too.
I came to this Intensive with several questions about love. For instance, I've been contemplating the difference between simply loving someone as opposed to being in love with someone. I have significant vulnerability around the in love concept. The contrast of these two different types of love originally came up for me about 6 years ago with H. and his lover at the time--and shortly there after it came up again when I fell in love with lover who is not my lover. I've pondered it here and there and it's up for me again. Some clarity that came to me this weekend was in regards to being willing to take on the commitment that being in love demands of us. Greater intimacy with another requires a deeper lever of risk taking and telling the truth.
I had a vision of being out on a nice walk with a lover, the view was beautiful--then I came to a precipice and found I'd walked right off the edge of a cliff (not unlike The Fool in the tarot deck.) I was holding onto the edge and wondering if I should climb back up or do a free fall. One of my dyad partners said "There is a reason they call it Falling in Love."
One never knows what will happen with love. Sometimes it just captures us unaware, takes us as its slave, we acknowledge its power over us, and so without choice, we submit to it's bidding.
I've also found myself arriving at the precipice and simply jumping because there was obviously no turning back. And I've fallen off the precipice while looking at the stars...aw, love sweet love.
I also arrived at this Love Intensive with many questions about choice, acceptance, and denial. A huge part of my spiritual path is about learning to be in the moment by fully feeling what is, and accepting whatever that is, even when it's something I'm getting that I don't want (or something I'm not getting that I do want.) I practice this by recognizing my preferences (desires) but releasing attachment to them when they are not being fulfilled. In love relationships this has a lot to do with the choices another makes which don't match the choices I'd prefer they make. This is my mindfulness practice, not that I'm so very skilled at doing this but I'm learning and eventually I come around. It's a tricky process and I've been realizing that sometimes I slip into denial rather than acceptance. What came up for me at the Intensive is that I need to feel more, really surrendering to my deep feelings while at the same time, letting go of my attachment to getting what I want. The key ingredient here is FEELING. My feelings are so fucking intense sometimes that they really scare me. Refer back to my golum of unworthiness.
What was that that Forest said?
Your pain will not hurt you.
Your fears will not scare you.
Your annihilation will not destroy you.
There is a long story that relates to the gollum of my unworthiness which is tied into my fear of being rejected/abandoned. This story originates back to being abandoned by my father before I was even born. I surmised that he had left me because I was unworthy of his love (why else would a father abandon his little girl?) Of course this story of unworthiness has had many subsequent chapters added over my lifetime. What can I say? I was on a roll.