The Gift of the Fracture, Love, and Other Miscellaneous Post-it Notes
But it's so hard
We got our heads down and our hackles up
Our back's against the wall
I can feel your heart racing
None of this was written in stone
The currents fast but the river moves slow
And I can feel things changing
Even when I'm weak and I'm breaking
I stand weeping at the train station
'Cause I can see your faces
There is so much peace to be found in people's faces
I love people's faces
- Kate Tempest
In the interim, things rise up from the mystery around and within. I've tried several times to follow those threads but they have not led to fertile ground. So I take those tiny ideas and leads and clues and I jot them on mental post-it notes and stick them on a board somewhere in my being. After a fashion, that board fills up and I am compelled to do... something... to try to sort out and make sense of all those little bits. Maybe it's akin to opening your fridge and your larder and pulling out the armfuls of random ingredients that have collected there for months and then attempting to cook something palatable. It's likely to be a culinary disaster... but sometimes... sometimes...
My ankle fracture has healed for the most part and I am regaining use of my leg at a surprisingly rapid clip - even as I try to be cautious and limit expectations. As that experience (hopefully) recedes to memories, I'm reflecting on the meaning and the lessons from the experience.
It has been suggested to me - and I find some intuitive resonance in the thought - that my injury was a physical manifestation of the emotional turmoil that I have experienced over the past year. All that grief and sadness and anxiety and anger becoming flesh as it were - the fracture forcing me to focus on healing something that I could now not put aside or repress... a mandate to cease all the unnecessary motion and just allow time and space for the broken things to mend.
And it seems to me that there was also a message in that mishap from whomever cares enough to send me messages: SLOW (tf) DOWN. Slow down and pay attention. Pay attention because things are not as they were. Pay attention because my world has changed dramatically and it is not helpful to pretend otherwise. There are cues and clues and nudges here... and I may miss important doors and side roads if I'm not attentive. Welcome to the inflection point. Welcome, yet again, to the not knowing.
Within that not knowing, there is potential... the potential to change and to grow. Once you've let go of the illusion that you have the answers, the mystery can begin to exert its pull... and strange and wonderful things may begin to unfold. I am bearing witness as that happens in my life. And there are things gestating that need to stay in darkness for now.
So let's talk about love... specifically, let's talk about love as a quality of essence or being. Wait... what??? Stay with me. I just shifted to a different post-it note.
I'm going to be cribbing liberally from the work of A. Hameed Ali and the teachings of the Diamond Approach School that he founded. Within that context, love is considered a quality or facet of being. Love, along with other essential qualities such as truth, compassion, and strength are manifestations of being. And the term "being" can be applied here to both the individual and the universal expression of consciousness... of life. Savvy? (I promise to throttle down the theory, but it's important to understand this piece).
Now, essential love is not the same thing as emotional love. Love as an emotion is more closely tied to the ego and is subject to it's inherent limitations. Emotional love is fundamentally self-serving. Romantic love is even further afield pouring in a volatile cocktail of evolutionary biology and neurochemical party drugs. A therapists friend once accurately described romantic love as a form of psychosis (not that there's anything wrong with that).
"And in the end...
The love you take
Is equal to the love you make"
The Beatles capped off the "Medley" from Side B of "Abbey Road" with that lovely little sentiment. Boy howdy were they wrong! Love - essential love - is neither made nor taken. While it is possible to manifest and experience love, we are neither the creators nor the consumers... simply the vessels. And if there is a mathematical formula to express it... well... suffice to say they didn't get that right either.
My experience with essential love over the past year has been profound. It would not be hyperbole to say that I'm still here because of it. The community that has surrounded and held me - THAT is an expression of essential love which is easy to see. But here's a twist for you: the fact that I was able to open myself up to receive all of that holding and support is also a manifestation of love. Allowing a community to come together and help and support you, as it turns out, is itself a sacred act of love. Oddly, it is actually an act of giving. When I fractured my ankle in July, the incident happened while I was with a part of my community gathered together for the long 4th weekend. I bore witness as all of this unfolded in microcosm.
More than once, a friend with a higher degree of sensitivity has asked me if I'm aware of the amount of love that surrounds me. I am... and it feels overwhelming at times. The life celebration for Martina was in some ways was almost too much to bear.
Occasionally, someone will ask how I'm doing with the grief and with the ambivalence that defined my relationship with Martina in the last months of her life. Truthfully, she and I are in a place of peace and acceptance... and yes... love. The interactions we've had both before and after her passing has transformed all of the pain. Whoever/whatever she is now does not not carry the trauma and dysfunction that was a part of her life here. And I've been able to clearly discern between that dysfunction and the beautiful life force that she is. We're left with forgiveness and peace... and love that spans lifetimes.
I'll leave you where we began - with Kate's beautiful spoken-word piece. Take a moment to listen to it in its entirety and let it crack your heart open a little.
I'm beginning to fade
But my sanity's saved 'cause I see your faces
My sanity's saved
'cause I can see your faces