I AM relieved to have so much free time now that I’ve graduated! It’s an incredible feeling; knowing my great accomplishments, and how far I’ve come. I mean, I packed my dog and I in one suitcase, 4 bags, and a kennel. Somehow, I’ve ended up in what the people call, “The Palm of the Creator”. Haha, what a trip!
Lillooet is a small, St’at’imc native community in Northeast British Columbia. After I graduated from McNally Smith College of Music this April, I was offered an Arts Contracting position for the Ucwalmicw non-profit. My good friend, Susannah Tedesco, is the coordinator for the Ucwalmicw Voice and Vision in Unity – 6 month Hip-Hop program. It was like she picked me fresh out of the liberal, and artistic crop the Midwest has to offer. I knew in my heart this was an opportunity of a lifetime, and I seized it.
I’ve been here 10 days now, and I can FINALLY feel the ability to slow my mind down from the city life! I’ve been waiting for this place of quiet serenity, and I AM now so thankful. I have TIME! I don’t think you understand. I have time to do all the things I love; like gardening, reading, writing, singing, outdoor activities, did I mention tending to homegrown green? Lol
I already swam in the clearest glacier lake I’ve ever seen, and I haven’t even been horseback riding or hiking yet, (the bears are pretty hungry right now…One bear even stole someone’s Llama!) See and there I go again.
Then… I have to remind myself to slow down again
It’s not easy, but it’s one of the many things I’m learning to practice. The months ahead are going to be the grandest moments of my life!
This year’s resolution was simply: “Let go of fear. Live and love more.”
I truly believe since coming into 2013, something has changed in the collective conscious. We are becoming awakened. We are all going through major life transitions of challenge, growth, and love. I AM not alone.
I AM reading When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron, for the second time through now. The part of what I read today, I thought was especially beautiful, is as follows:
“The essence of life is that it’s challenging. Sometimes it is sweet, and sometimes it is bitter. Sometimes your body tenses, and sometimes it relaxes or opens. Sometimes you have a headache, and sometimes you feel 100 percent healthy. From an awakened perspective, trying to tie up all the loose ends and finally get it together is death, because it involves rejecting a lot of your basic experience. There is something aggressive about that approach to life, trying to flatten out all the rough spots and imperfections into a nice smooth ride.
To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to be always in no-man’s-land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again. From the awakened point of view, that’s life. Death is wanting to hold on to what you have and to have every experience confirm you and congratulate you and make you feel completely together. So even though we say the yama mara is fear of death, its actually fear of life.
We want to be perfect, but we just keep seeing our imperfections, and there is no room to get away from that, no exit, nowhere to run. That is when this sword turns into a flower. We stick with what we see, we feel what we feel, and from that we begin to connect with our own wisdom mind.
Without the maras, would the Buddha have awakened? Would he have attained enlightenment without them? Weren’t they his best friends, since they showed him who he was and what was true? All the maras point the way to being completely awake and alive by letting go, by letting ourselves die moment after moment, at the end of each out-breath. When we wake up, we can live fully without seeking pleasure and avoiding pain, without re-creating ourselves when we fall apart. We can let ourselves feel our emotions as hot or cold, vibrating or smooth, instead of using our emotions to keep ourselves ignorant and dumb. We can give up on being perfect and experience each moment to its fullest. Trying to run away is never the answer to being a fully human being. Running away from the immediacy of our experience is like preferring death to life.
Looking at the arrows and swords, and how we react to them, we can always return to basic wisdom mind. Rather than trying to get rid of something or buy into a dualistic sense of being attacked, we take the opportunity to see how we close down when we’re squeezed. This is how we open our hearts. It is how we awaken our intelligence and connect with fundamental Buddha nature. “ – Pg 92-94
I think the universe sends us signs along our paths as a form of guidance. Living in a big city, and an entire life of institutionalized education has made me believe I had to know everything. I also confidently surrender my role as a perfectionist.
I AM consciously aware, and thus choose to participate in developing a strong foundation for a healthy community; all while continuing to challenge, grow, love, and learn.