Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Birthday Wish

I am not self-conscious about the way I love my children. I never doubt our love for each other.  I do doubt the way I love in other relationships and this causes me to suffer.  I am beginning to see clearly that the suffering I experience comes from the labeling that I am suffering.  When we simply live our experiences, no matter the challenges or pain or difficulty, and live them as opportunities to be fully awakened by our phenomenal and irresistible world, then we are blessed with a life full of openness and possibility without extra suffering created by our minds thinking we are suffering.  Our minds have the potential to find love, kindness, joy and balance even amidst seeming chaos.

October 16, 2012 is my 47th birthday.  I like to celebrate since the birth of anyone or anything is unique and ordinary and magical.  I love the month of October and I love the fall.  I get this funny feeling when the days begin to turn along with the leaves; a mixture of sadness and relief.  Then a sweet Indian summer day happens and I feel a longing for the warmth and long days of summer; I smell summer in the air that wafts into my open bedroom window; I hear it in the soft breezes that remind me of what has just gone before; I feel it in the knowing that the warmth and open windows are only temporary making them all the more special.  That longing for the return of light and warmth will not be realized for another nine months and there is relief in that I can begin a period of going within and rest.  A period of settling, a sort of dying from one season to the next. 

Early autumn days are mixed with crisp determination to carry us from the heat of summer to a rain of burnt oranges and deep reds and golden green apple hues. It is all so vibrant out there.  So alive as the air kisses my skin.  The colors awaken my visual cortex and move very quickly into my heart memory.

In the early fall as the sugar maples begin their transformation, they seem to practically glow, their luminescence vibrating outward.  On my fall bike rides I passed a river gorge and I have watched the gradual shift knowing it was coming, fall was destined to arrive knowing that means less light and more cold and the chill and death of wintertime. 

Each time I went out for my ride there would be a small reminder of the show that would soon change the color palette of the landscape.  The anticipation of the big bold canvass of life and death before me.

Always we know that the stunning beauty will wither and brown and become compost for the earth beneath our feet.  A fallen maple leaf so seemingly awake with colors of ochre, copper, garnet, crimson, vermillion, carrot, and amber will drop and become dark earthy decay.

This time of the year is about a change in the air, the winds that move and carry all things in our world. 

As I celebrate another birthday I realize that being lonely alone is easier than being lonely with someone.  At least when we are alone, we have space to keep ourselves company, to touch our minds with compassion and gentleness.  I also am aware that when I struggle with my struggles, I am actually closing up to the wisdom that comes from living in the moment, even if the moment is incredibly difficult, painful or irritating.  Letting go of my need to not be struggling is a palpable relief. 

This season makes me happy in a hushed sort of way.  I see the death through the beauty and I know that I may be spending another winter wrapping myself up with extra down cover and a good book for company.  This is fine and enjoyable.  But finding a living, breathing, loving being next to me whom I can trust and respect and laugh with and snuggle into is one of my aspirations; this may one day  again be a part of my journey.

There are moments when I am just overwhelmed by the thoughts of doing it all by myself, the finances, the homework, the teenager hormones, the aloneness.  I find if I share this with someone and say to them, “I just cannot do this anymore,” that this prompts in some a rescue response, when really all I am saying is I feel scared and overwhelmed in this moment; give me a little time and space and I will be in a new place, a new set of emotions, my thoughts leading to my suffering will cease.  It is all very changing.  I would say this is when impermanence is awfully beneficial.

My wish this October 16th is to spend it in the awesome presence of whomever I happen to find myself with on my birthday, and to give thanks for the world as it is in that moment.

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