Spider’s Web

Yesterday, as I walked along the pathway to my house, I spotted an orange spider creating a web right in front of me. She produced the web from her belly, a wondrous thread of possibility. She inspired me to examine how I was manifesting creativity in my own life. Yes, I write a blog, do daily journalling, take photographs and paint occastionally, but how can creatvity infuse my life. I marvel at the full-time artists in my life, how they view their entire world through the lens of art, of seeing unique ways of connecting experiences. Just like the spider. All day and night long, she weaves intricate webs as a matter-of-fact task. I wonder whether when the web is finished, the spider spends a few moments to revel in her creation. I certainly do.

Perhaps the key to a creative life is to simply engage in it everyday whether profound ideas arrive or not. So, I take my inspiration from that orange spider, to just keep making my own webs, my own art as a daily practice. Some of the results will be banal yet some of them will be brilliant. It is both the product –and the process– in which the magic is found. From deep within my belly lies the words, objects, activities and images that connect my personal experience with the universe.

How Anger Heals

Anger has such deliciousness, it’s burning breath cleansing what’s stuck deep within me. Anger is a powerful, often too forceful, way to set my boundaries, to let the world know what are my bottom lines. Although I have long struggled to befriend and observe my own versions of anger, recent events have forced me into a closer relationship with it. A young person in my life has been suffering from neglect and abuse which of course incenses me. I have spent many hours in meditation and sacred space to transmute this anger into something more palatable to me like compassion. Still, anger rises up in me, heating up my core — and it feels good. In the rapture of outrage, I realize that it is the clinging to anger that harms. When I allow the energy to course through me and out, then I feel lighter and expanded energetically. This is indeed the healing potential of anger.

What We All Ache For

After spending some time with my father and stepmother in Texas, I noticed how different I felt in the last few visits. I was more relaxed and happy throughout the entire time! In so many previous trips, I got lost in anger and hurt and all other kinds of drama. At some point in each previous visit, I swung between desperately wanting to leave and an abiding sadness over our impending separation. I begin arguments with them, to convince myself at once of wanting to leave and wanting their attention. I felt as though the orbit of my unresolved childhood feelings pulled me in with irresistible force.

Oh, how I craved that perfect loving relationship with my parents. How I wanted them to nurture me, support me, protect me and be there exactly when and how I needed them. I spent so many years silently wishing for all of this. It never happened.

So, in unconscious ways, I felt bitter about this unmet desire. Then, in meditation, appropriately enough while on retreat in Texas, a realization healed me. I decided to let go of my expectations, however reasonable, and just enjoy my father and stepmother’s company. I relinquished perceptions of old hurts over abandonment and imperfect love. I opened to the truth that this is the only moment in which to live and to enjoy. I finally chose to be free from the suffering of wanting my experiences to be different. I knew that I/my ego –not the people closest to me — had created my suffering. I felt weary enough of the pain and set it down.

I have even applied this approach to my much more complicated relationship with my mother. When I was 23 years old, my mother died suddenly. At first, I was convinced that I would never be able to heal the wounds between us. I felt utterly discouraged about the cruel ending that the universe provided. Yet that ending was actually an opening. My mother and I slowly began to communicate between worlds, and started to engage in healing. She became more nurturing and protective, and I became softer and more compassionate. Our relationship has healed beyond my hopes over these years of her physical absence.

Now, to be honest, I have played off-and-on with the suffering, but am now more aware of its contours. I get much less engaged with it, and am more immersed in my immediate experience. How joyful!

Lessons From Texas

Well, I had taken a break from writing my blog while I enjoyed some rejuvenating time in Texas. Texas is such a fascinating land of contrasts between superficial and profound. There, junk food is elevated into an art form — deep-fried Twinkies and Frito pie anyone? At the same time, I am utterly charmed by the friendliness of the people. In many different contexts, I felt that strangers cared about my well-being, they took the time to really understand what I needed in the situation and offered genuine help. Despite the busy-ness of their lives, the Texans repeatedly impressed me with their compassion. While lost along the Gulf coast, a woman (in her gigantic Suburban) drove us to the restaurant we were trying to find. On many other occasions, people asked how I was in a way that invited a true and complete answer. Although there are certainly troubling aspects to the Texan way, I admire their sense of community.

My time in Texas inspired me to be more friendly and less reserved. I notice in Toronto how ‘nice’ people can be, but that we often lack friendliness. So, in this spirit of community, I will actually introduce myself to my new neighbours, and perhaps even try to start a conversation on the subway!