Today was a difficult day. It was one of those days with several distinct parts, but it revolved around relationships with my closest family and friends. Have you had days like this, like living a mini-lifetime within the space of 24 hours? This day was one of those.
It began with a meeting between myself, my daughter and my best friend. Threesomes have their own unique dynamic, a different kind of energy than one to one. Emotions ran high from the start, with anger, frustration, and hurt on the bottom layer of today’s life cake. Then a layer of sweetness and longing spread on top of the frustration layer. Along with this came sorrow, like a long drink of tea alongside the cake, helping to wash down what was hard to swallow.
After this point in the day, another very painful and difficult section occurred, but this time I was the witness of an exchange between my daughter and her father. Another hard layer with no sweetness or juice, instead only dry, dark, unappetizing and unwanted, yet there it had to be. Then a whole other scene, this time with a group of older ladies, kind-hearted and gentle women, who had the patience of Job and the graciousness of age. They were like pretty petit fours, a place to linger and enjoy for as long as it lasted.
Later in the afternoon, more difficult emotions again arose, this time stemming from email communications with a loved one far away. By this point in the day I was utterly drained, and so napped for a time, needing to lose consciousness and ease the burdens of my heart. After this, different conversations with friends over dinner. A lightening of the heavy, oppressive energy began to come into my soul. Then an evening walk, first alone, then with my best friend during dusk, as we watched the sun set and be replaced by a slender moon hanging close by Venus in the western sky. I felt especially blessed by the moon and Venus’ presence during our walk this evening, as we shared our hearts and minds with one another. By the end of the evening I felt peaceful and calm, the storm of emotional upheaval had passed, and my heart and soul were again clear and felt washed clean. This was a miracle to me, to be able to experience so many intense emotions within the space of a day, and come to the end in such grace.
I am sorry to say that I forget, all too often, about magic in our lives. My friend reminded me of this energy today, of the fact that even with all of life’s deep sorrows and frustrations, even when we are drinking from the river of despair, that the stream of magic is with us still, and when we can remember and rise into it, magic can save us. And it is true. There are many worlds within us and around us at any moment.
How amazing it is to be able to tap into a humor stream in the middle of something which is not at all funny, or to touch gentleness again soon after having to stand firmly against someone’s ridicule. The power of human beings to wield the knife and also the caress is rather mind-boggling. Today was a day when I saw so clearly how we attack and then love each other, depending on one’s point of view in any moment. When we feel cornered, like an animal our instinct is to attack. I am learning how to practice not attacking back, but instead to hold firm in peace, in the midst of a psychic assault, while simultaneously feeling all the pain which the other is inflicting on me. This is a real practice in non-violence in the face of aggression, and damn hard work. But I am at the point in my life where I am beginning to understand that fighting aggression with more aggression simply doesn’t help, and only hinders the process of growth. I am also learning to hold steady and not flee, like I would have done in the past. Having said that, I also know when I have reached my limits with the conflict, and must withdraw physically to another, safer location.
There is an old song which I used to like, by a songwriter named Dave Mason. The lyrics are, ‘There ain’t no good guy, there ain’t no bad guy, there’s only you and me and we just disagree.’ Today I remembered that song and embrace the truth within it. I don’t need to be right and make you wrong. But I acknowledge that at times we disagree, and sometimes we very strongly do not agree. Sometimes I vehemently disagree and feel very angry even. And it is alright to feel angry with you and you with me, but what is not alright is to purposefully harm or violate each other with our anger.
During one of my many conversations today, I asked the question, ‘How are we going to change the world and become peaceful, if we cannot even get along with our own family members?’ My friend agreed it is an important question. He said, ‘yes, it is easy to talk about peace and understanding in theory, it’s great in theory, but the reality is something else. It’s really tough!’ And he is absolutely correct, in reality it is hard, grueling, tedious work, this work of evolving ourselves to a higher level of being human. There are simply no short cuts that I can see to the work itself. Of course, this is a major principle in Buddhist practice, the idea that one simply has to practice, to be in it, whatever it is, and go through it. Yes it can be grueling and exhausting, hence the nap today. But I know that it is absolutely necessary, in order to learn and to improve myself as a human being upon this earth.
The layer cake of emotions was a fascinating creation today. I can’t say as I enjoyed every bite. But it contained all the flavors: bitter, sweet, salty, sour and pungent. It was a medicine cake that I tasted, sprinkled with golden magic powder on top, graced with the moon and star for decoration. Difficult as it was to make, I am very grateful for the chance to have tried all the different layers today. I wonder what creation tomorrow will bring?
- Quick and Magical Vintage Chocolate Crazy Cake Recipe (bakethiscake.com)