Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Bluebird of Happiness


I sit here in the backyard of my village home on a mid-July morning.  Tibetan prayer flags sway to the morning breezes coming from the east.  The sun has long since risen and the neighbor children are at play gathering sticks, as I can see through the little opening between our yards.

Some sort of fatigue has set in and my mind and body need a shift.  Since I cannot go away to counter this depression, I have decided to move my bedroom outside into my own village backyard.  My tent that has an open net roof is now my bedroom.  I had fallen asleep to the setting quarter moon last night and awoken to the chorus of dawn birds serenading me with trill and chirps and one rather incessant crow who flew away in a tizzy early this morning.

I had not been sleeping well for months and my mind would awaken me most nights sick with worry and negative thinking.  My emotional self has been in turmoil and I am aware of why this is.  It is the attachment and fixation I have to particular outcomes, to a driving need to wanting something to be different, to my worrying about "why" all the time.  If the why could dissolve into the next moment and just be another fleeting thought, oh that’s right, that is what it is.  I have come to realize that the responsibility of my house is overwhelming on my own, as the only adult here responsible for its maintenance.  We aren’t really designed to do it on our own, to raise families alone, or care for homes alone; we are social beings and live in community, so thinking we are the whole team that needs to do it all is really driven by fear, a need to control, and reliance on this cowboy mentality in our country of a supreme independence mindset.  What’s wrong with being dependent on someone or something, since we are at every living minute dependent on this lovely earth, the air we breathe, the sun beating down on us and each other living being.

What actions have I taken to shift this negative mindset?  Which causes and conditions have I pressed the reset button on to make my life and my good mind and my raw heart more aligned with the basic goodness that I know is the foundation of my existence? I have decided to downsize my bedroom to a small open air tent and lay down each night on the earth and gaze up at the vast open sky. To let nature and the natural good world have a crack at healing the raw woundedness I feel.  And frankly I don’t want to repress the open wound but I also don’t want to go around oozing it into the world of my family and friends and colleagues.  It is my responsibility to take some action to heal and rejoin the fractures I feel, but first I must feel them and feel them I will.  I am being reconstructed as I lay upon the earth each night as I sleep like I am in a cave with less worry and anxiety.  My panic is not taking me over awakening me in the middle of the dark night.  Instead, I am being cradled by something older than me and my wisdom has led me to this place of healing in my own backyard.  No one will probably ever love me enough to fill up that hole; onIy my own inner wisdom will hold me through all this living, breathing struggle. 

I have a view about the difficulty that I have encountered.  I am aware that we are not alone, we are part of a team, we don’t need to cover all the bases our self.  They don’t do that in sports games, so why would we think we have to do this in our own lives?  We are part of families and neighborhoods and work communities.  Some of us are even blessed enough to have loving supportive partners and spouses.  Love is bigger than all the fear in the world.  Kindness is the remedy for aggression.  When we are angry with someone, we could try opening to our kind hearts to love that person without thoughts, we might try prying open our tender heart even if it feels broken and brittle and little like the Grinch's and let a little bit of the serum of compassion pour out.  Funny, then we feel suddenly more connected and tuned in to the other.  And our beloved helps us feel our own hearts of basic goodness, our own sorrows and our own joys.

And in relationships we just have to have these difficult experiences to get to know each other and our self with the other.  And, there may always be a theoretical better someone out there for each of us, but for my part, I am tired of shopping and I could just use a break from all the mental struggle with my own need to control outcomes, secure love, be safe, and be protected. My attachment to being attached causes me great pain, yet we as humans are attached by that visceral broth of humanness and interdependence that this human flesh requires us to be.  I see that it is not so much attachment to the person in the end as it is to wanting that person to be a certain way, to want the relationship to be a certain way. How liberating and loving if I might just let go a little more to let the person love me either the way he does or doesn’t?


This ongoing struggle with wishing for a particular outcome, an afterward, that hasn’t happened yet, and fearing it never will be, is just a reality that I am now feeling and I had to take matters into my own hands and change my causes and conditions.  I had to find a medicine that would heal me.  I had to let the earth cradle me in loving kindness.  I need to trust the world enough to let it embrace me, to heal me, to embody the qualities that I aspire to be for my world and heal something deep within me that has bubbled up and will not go away until I feel it.  As a mom and member of my family, I couldn’t go on an away retreat so I brought the retreat to me each night.
This all takes kindness, gentleness and courage, and I find out time and time again that I have all those qualities, and it takes a visit by the bluebird of happiness of my own basically good backyard to just let it all be even if it means falling apart.

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