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Becoming authentic through living the questions that life poses

Earlier this week, I pondered on the paradoxes of hope.  I wondered if there can truly be false hope.  I promised to be a scientist of the heart and to experiment in the laboratory of life, via the medium of dating.  Well, it has been painful, fruitful and utterly confusing but I am here to report that having taken the risk of being vulnerable and opening up my heart, I am stronger and wiser.  There are still no answers, and what remains are possibly even more questions than before.  But having expanded my heart by being authentic and real, I am remembering what it feels like to be most fully myself – alive, wild, courageous and luminescent.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
Rainer Maria Rilke

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Living on the edge

There is something about the dating process that is forcing me to dig deep and practice pure intention and awareness. This experience is literally forcing me to live with integrity – to be true to my values and my vision. It is showing me who I need to be in order to meet my Beloved.

Because I’ve realised that if I want a conscious relationship, then I need to approach dating with the same attitude of mindfulness and self-responsibility that I aim to live with in ‘the rest of my life.’

But, as you probably know, it’s hard because we’ve all been hurt. At the moment, I’m noticing that when I sense hesitation in the other, I too can shut down out of a habitual wish not to be hurt or rejected.

I feel like I’m living on the edge – walking the gossamer line between hope and fear, between risking it all and holding it all back. Between taking my time and being honest about the depth of connection and possibility I sense with this man I am seeing right now.

I know there are “guidelines” when it comes to dating i.e. don’t over-invest too early. Hang back / play it cool / keep your options open. But I don’t buy those. In fact, I feel rebellious and anarchic because I don’t want to play it cool. I don’t want to hang back in fear, in case this man doesn’t like or accept who I am.

I want to stay committed to being present, real and authentic. Because if I have to hide those qualities in myself in order not to scare someone away, then I have to ask if that person could really be my Beloved? Today I commit to taking a risk with my heart. I risk being seen and heard for who I am. I accept that who I am might not be enough or may be too much for this man I am dancing with right now.

Today I surrender to possibility – the possibility of love, the possibility of loss, and the possibility of being made vulnerable through this shimmering heart connection that is vivid and palpable in moments when our eyes meet or when I breathe him in.

Above all, I surrender to what is right now and I embrace it with my entire being – even though it is confusing, even though I am unsure. I embrace it because I know I must, if I am to grow in my capacity to love and be loved beyond measure.

Blessed be.

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Lao Tzu’s advice on dating with dignity

I’m determined to date with dignity. So although I have a deep yearning to meet my sacred beloved, I keep reminding myself that dating is a process of discovery – staying open to and curious about the one arising before me, and also to myself and who I am in that moment.  Which means there is really no set destination, no fixed horizon where some magical, ready-made relationship lies in wait. Instead, I’m beginning to understand more deeply that ‘relationships’ are just heartfelt and conscious connections that either continue or not, ebbing and flowing along the way.

So if a fixed sense of relationship is not the destination, what lies beyond dating for me?  Hopefully a committed and joint practice of continuing to relate as a flowing process of love. May it be so for all who desire such a loving partnership.

Lao Tzu has this to offer:

“A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
― Lao Tzu

Today, may I simply be present, authentic and real with everyone I meet.  I invite love into my world purely by being loving and open.

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“Hope” is the thing with feathers

“Hope” is the thing with feathers

BY EMILY DICKINSON

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me.

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Quiet, upon hope’s arrival

When hope arrives, it brings the possibility of failure. Of loss.  But without hope we have no horizon, no place for sunrises or the start of new days.

My life has been opening to hope these last six months, and more light than ever streams through my days.  Yet still I find myself waiting, watching for the next thing that can go wrong.

Is hope ever wrong?  What does false hope actually mean? What is authentic hope? Can authentic hope make me feel truly alive, despite the outcome?  Can I have authentic hope and surrender to whatever outcome arises?

I don’t have the answers yet.  This will be my experiment in the laboratory of life this week.

I offer thanks for the life within me today.  Today, may I be a scientist of my own heart – exploring its many dimensions and reporting my findings to other scientists of the heart.

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Dancing with shadow and light

I’ve walked this week in a dance of shadow and light.

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Inexplicably unjust, bearing a sentence not reflecting their crime, two lights were extinguished in the world this week.  

Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

Caught in long shadows of despair when I witness the intense suffering of their mothers, families, and supporters. All I can do to cope with the news of their execution is to return to tong len, the meditation of giving and taking.

And I then return to reflecting on their immense contributions of love and kindness to others in prison alongside them, crafting love and mercy in a world seemingly surrendered to madness.

Others have written more deeply, more movingly of how Andrew and My transformed into loving forces for good inside prison: Their kindnesses to others in prison.  Their fight to abolish the death penalty.

I simply want to say their names, in order to honour their legacy of mind transformation and love. I want to thank them for showing me it is never too late to transform your inner world in order to become a force for good. Most of all, I want to thank them for reminding me that in this world of sorrow, I cannot truly be free until we are all free of suffering.

Today, may I bring more light to the world. Blessed be.

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