Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


"You remember the great things and the bad things but not the regular things, those you forget. " Wise Words of my 12 year old son
“There are all kinds of love in this world but never the same love twice.”  F. Scott Fitzgerald
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby


Basic goodness is everything.  We can have confidence in our own basic goodness.  We can take a rest there.  Our mind is clear.  Our mind is stable.  Our mind is strong.  Vulnerability is a sign of strength and it takes great kindness and gentleness to expose our most vulnerable self to another human being.  For me it has been much easier revealing myself, my darkness, and my well hidden secrets to the phenomenal world of nature.  I could hold on for dear life to the bark of a tree’s trunk and rest my chest and forehead against the upright strength of the tree standing before me, holding me and the full weight of my human body and fears and be with this other without words.  I could go to the forest and drop my guard and sob into the arms of a tree.  I could lay my body down on the soft earth and be as fractured as I felt and feel pieced back together by the breath and pulse of the earth beneath my weight.  I could sit crossed-legged and cry my eyes out to the wildflowers so alive and seemingly frail as they waved their delicate bodies in the air currents.  I could rest, really inhale my breath, and let my fatigue from keeping secrets go as I lay held in the arms of a large stone boulder, laying prone with my face to the sun above as insects landed on my body and crawled over me.  None of these beings were out to hurt me or get me or do me intentional harm.  Humans only do those things because of their ignorance and confused minds, because they doubt their own basic goodness.  They have sadly forgotten. 

In the forest, or by the water, I could utter my deepest hidden pain aloud.  The words came straight out of my heart knowing and trusting that none of the non-human beings in the world would betray me.  They were only here to protect me, a fellow traveler on this planet in this solar system in a vast universe.

I have lived a life of joy and sadness.  I am in my late 40s and my parents are aging and my children growing up.  I am open to my world, my sweet good imperfect world that is really and truly basically good.  I am confident in my basic goodness and the strength of my own mind.  I feel my human heart alive and awake in my world.  But I still wonder where I belong sometimes, and where I need to exert myself to start moving down the path that is my next teacher in life.  I know that everything is impermanent, every relationship, every person, every situation, every cause, every condition, every thought, every feeling, every day, every moment, every breath.  All of this completely and beautifully and tragically impermanent. 

Our hearts are the barometers for the way we move through our world.  Hiding and deception are covers for a fearful heart.  All hearts get touched and broken and the further we open to our world, the more we empty of concepts and ideas and memories that hold us back from being touched.  But this doesn’t mean that at times we don’t panic or collapse or shut down or seize up.  I have walked through my world with an open heart and have asked for it to be broken because of this way of being.  I have met some open hearted others who also let their hearts be touched in their own way.  When we choose to let ourselves love another, we are asking for a heart break.  Separation is inevitable.  Everything changes.  Yet to empty ourselves of our preconceptions and stories of how it should be or will be or thinking we know what the other will do or say, we allow the possibility of real connection, of being loved, really loved for the essence of who we are, not the idea of who we are.  We give space for being loved and accepted like the natural world loves and accepts us, without pretention or judgment or drama or expectation. 

This morning, I shared with another human being my dirty messed up dark and yucky parts of me in the light of my radiant, resilient goodness that shines like a beacon through the fog of old wounds.  I exposed my tender most little being that feels frightened and raw and in need of protection.  I have a man in my life, for how long I cannot know, that sits still and listens with a mind and heart of goodness to my ache, as I drain the muck from my insides all the while knowing that I am good and wholesome and lovable and worthy of love and loving.  I had been hiding this secret from the person I loved because of my fear that I was marred in some way that was irrecoverable.  Before I could let my sadness and grief out, I had to empty myself of old ideas and notions of who I am.  I feel redemption in this act of sharing.  With the force of the past feeling like a wave gaining force and power in the middle of my chest, I realized that the only thing I could do was let it pour forth.  In this I realized again there’s truly nothing about my life, or past, or childhood that needed any further hiding or defending.  All that I needed, all that any of us ever really need is in the present, the moment we find ourselves alive in.  The essence of being alive, being human, is being the breathing present being we already are.  And no matter what we’ve done or has been done in the past to us, we are all still worthy, worthy of our own love and another’s love.  We all deserve protection and truly loving another means offering the protection of our shared humanity. 

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