Jean Marie Gunner

Jean Marie Gunner
We are all basically good.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Leap of Faith

September brings crisp definition to life.  Even as life begins its transformation, its descent into and toward death, the sun continues to warm the inhabitants of this northern hemisphere of earth.  I ride along the same route, with my eldest son, who is now a go-pro photographer with his own You Tube channel, and posting with the appropriate hash tag to get his work noticed.

We ride, he shoots video, and I steadily quiet inside myself.  My good calm mind watches the clouds pass, the leaves come away from their branches which they have hung onto all summer long, and my thoughts and feelings and emotions are as effervescent and fleeting as everything in this preciously and reliably impermanent world of ours.  There is relief in that realization.  There is also a mix of sadness and joy. 

Just as in love, which is as dependably impermanent as all of it, there is the resonant pain and pleasure.  This year brought so much to light for me, and uncovered a groundless strength inside of me that is ageless and reliable.  I have come to realize the profound truth of living in the impermanence of the moment -- even if love turns to pain, remember it started out as love.  And when it comes to love, there is small mind love and there is vast love, true love.  That is the love that remains, the love that always was, and the infinite goodness that connects us to the All.  That reminds us of our universal connection, that our separateness is only a perception. And that perception can be mighty convincing for sure at times.   

When we decide to love another, when all the stars align to bring two humans together, and they find there is chemistry, as well as a karmic connection, the sparks fly and the only thing for certain is that it will continue on until it is over.  

Loving is for certain about taking a leap of faith.  I like to think of the many loves in my life and how they have enriched my existence.  There are small loves and big loves, and they are all pearls on the bracelet of my life.  In love we experience both joy and pain.  Whether intentional or not, when someone hurts us, we experience so many emotions.  Some of these emotions seem to happen simultaneously, but actually what is happening is a firing of reactions within our mind.  I know what goes on for me is this.  I start to fixate on dates and sequence of events when things are beginning to fall apart in a relationship.  The memories of the relationship and time spent together start jumping back in to my mind. I sequence the events together trying to make sense of the pain I am feeling by remembering exact dates and days and hours even.  I am not sure if this is a coping mechanism or just a part of the way my logic or proclivity to make sense of the world mathematically manifests itself as I go through the struggle to unhook emotionally from someone.  Observing, noticing, becoming aware can help me make sense of the difficulty I am encountering, and actually move through the pain.  I have learned that leaning in to the difficult emotions actually speeds up the healing process, and this is good.

Here is what I know. I have experienced a few big heartbreaks in my life.  There were some smaller ones, some moments or time periods of panic thinking that I couldn’t make it alone, that I was being abandoned.  Thankfully somewhere along the line, in space, in my life, I realized I was on a good path, and that working with my mind was not only an option but a necessity. 

This summer which I have cleverly labeled the “summer of my discontent,” I ended a relationship.  It was a big heartbreak.  A hunch I had, a suspicion I carried and was expressed in the way my body felt, was confirmed and I felt broken when the truth was revealed about the deception within the relationship.  I felt like a damaged bird.  In fact my broken wing was not only symbolic and emotional, it manifested physically.  My body has been healing from an injury of my left shoulder blade and neck and back.  My story offers a quality of redemption and resilience, since this is not a story of a victim, but of an alive warrior in this world. I know now that when we experience moments of profound pain, that if we can meet these moments with an openness, even one that feels as if it might break us, then unconditional confidence and gentleness and boundless compassion for ourselves is available and will help us move through any heartbreak.  Just consider for a moment the human stories that have moved you the most in your life.  These great struggles of human suffering that, when met with grace and truth and complete honesty, are the stories of human resilience and true bravery of the heart. 

True bravery is when we feel suffering and we are in pain, and are able to meet it, feel it in our body and do not try to either run away or repress it or lash back.  It is when we stand resolute in our human moment of whatever we are experiencing, having a trust in the knowing that the storm will blow over eventually.  The awareness that just like every cloud that has ever formed in the sky above has for time immemorial dissolved into open blue sky and that we can rely on that and let it hold and comfort us.  We are all living in space and time, and the passage of a stream of moments will bring relief and the sun is still shining even behind the storm clouds.

When my heart broke this summer, I cried, the tears flowed and flowed and I did not try to stop them.  I let the dam break and the water crest over some emotional levy.  And remembering past heartbreaks that I had weathered, I knew and trusted that the deep achy dry pain would pass if I really allowed myself to feel, to feel and not be awkward or embarrassed about any of it.  This was the kindest thing I could offer myself.

In love and the decision to love again, we must take a leap of faith full well knowing that pain and heartbreak are a component in the love equation.  True love lasts though even when the relationship is over.  It is the love we offered and put out into the world.  The opening of our heart and offering of love to another, to the world, is healing.  It heals the deep brokenness that has defined our world for millennia.  But there is a slow and steady growing awareness that the world is changing, the world and the people in it are waking up.  And awakened beings have a responsibility to stay awake, and just by being awake make a difference as a noticeable radiance is emitted into the world.  We don’t need to talk too much about it, just be this radiant open goodness.  Trust and follow in this openness, just like a flower is first a seed then growing to a beautiful fragrant lovely colorful being, it moves the world and the heart just by being what it is at its core. 

I realized as I rode these country roads through the end of summer crisp evening air with my lovely teenage son, that we are all called to be part of a team.  I see us as a team of humanity at this moment on earth.  And I realize that loving and being open to loving again is who I am.  It is my essence, it is the way I impact and change my world.  I love. That’s what I offer, love.  And that it is not so much as what we know about another as it is about how we feel with another.  Loving others and finding out more about me is just the way I interact and experience my world.  I may be more aware after this experience of my last heartbreak, I may be more patient and pay more attention and listen more acutely and spaciously to myself, but I will open myself and heart again since I know no other way to deeply experience this good world of ours.


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