Monday, August 15, 2011

Hope and Fear

My first Burning Man, 2006, the theme was Hope and Fear.  I took on a personification of the Zen Mother admonishing my children to banish both hope and fear.  It seemed that the popular viewpoint of the burning masses was to give up fear and rely on hope as their saving grace.  I didn't buy into that party line.

I'll be arriving on the playa at just about this time, two weeks from today, and I'm bringing the t-shirt I wore that year--with the words, Abandon Hope and Fear All Ye Who Suckle Here written on the front, with holes cut out that expose my nipples.  Easy access for nursing infants seeking solace from their mother's milk along with her zen wisdom.

Early Sunday morning, with the full moon still visible in the dawning sky, I began my ritual to regain some of my spiritual, earthy, wise woman, juju.  Standing there with my outstretched arms, beseeching my moon mama/soul sister/wise woman mentor, the personal meaning of my current struggle with hope and fear dawned on me.

Not that my path isn't still confusing and overwhelming tricky to follow, but I realized with a deep visceral understanding, how important my emotions are to my particular spiritual path.  I'm a water girl through and through.  I feel things deeply.  I create with my emotions, to my betterment or detriment.  I knew in that moment, to an extent I've never been aware of before, my harmful practice of rejecting, hiding, not fully owning and experiencing my negative emotions.   And I'm not a Polly Anna.  I don't attempt to portray myself as Little Miss Cheerful while I'm secretly grinding my jaw in resentment.  I'm not a person who fakes positivity to herself or others.  But, I am aware that my mind and the stories it creates, also create negative emotions (depending on the nature of the story of course) and that wallowing in emotions makes the pain body bigger, and stronger, and that the pain body loves to hurt, and that indulging in negative emotions is like pouring salt on a wound, flaming the fire...and, well, I try to avoid doing that as much as possible.  I know better than to repress, but repression hides, it's insidious, covert. That's its nature.

And all this managing of my negative emotions is directly related to my hopes and fears.  A big part of my spiritual path is to not indulge myself in hope and fear.  Of course I do a lot of both because I'm not a fully enlightened human being and that's what we humans do a lot of--hoping and fearing.  But my practice is to accept things as they are and if I want things to be different, I hold the intention for them to be different while doing whatever practical (or impractical) thing I can think of to make them different.  Living a fear based life isn't attractive to me and I tend to think of myself as not a very fearful person although if I give a true assessment, I'm pretty darn scared of a lot of things--such as being abandoned or not good enough, or being abandoned for not being good enough just to name a few.  I try not to hope for things to be different because hope implies that things aren't perfect as they are.  And I do hold this lofty idea that things are actually perfect as they are, even if I want them to be different--that's perfect to.  And confusing.  So things are perfectly imperfect right now and they will also be perfect if and when they change, and it's totally okay for me to want them to change and to work (or not) for them to change, as long as I'm not attached to them changing and that would include not hoping they will change.  Like I said, confusing.  There is a difference that I won't even attempt to put into words right now, between hoping things will change and intending things to change.  Hoping bad.  Intending good.  Wink, wink.

All that said, I hope a lot.  I really do.  And standing under that beautiful full moon, I took some deep ownership of my hoping.  I realized in that moment how much I needed to fully embrace my hopes, to love and cherish them.  My fears too.  So I held out my hopes and fears and I shared them with the moon and she shined her soft morning light upon them.

So right now, I'm attempting to fully honor and embrace every last one of my hopes and fears, and I intend, once they are fully experienced, when I'm ready,  I will release them.  And I know, that fully experiencing things takes time.  It is a long process that involves a lot of experiencing and letting go, grasping back and tenaciously holding on until I release again. And so on the circle goes.

But I just gotta say, that Sunday morning with that beautiful full moon and her powerful juju--she shined her blessings on me.  She loved me.  She loved my hopes and fears, and accepted every part of me as only a mama, soul sister, wise woman mentor can.

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