China in a bull shop

When we arrived, others were setting up the chairs and prepping the room for the meeting that was soon to occur and we were glad that this was so as we were free to glance one more time over our written words or sit in grass in the shade drifting off like a summer cloud.   Sari had not yet arrived and we remembered that they tended to know just when to arrive in the nick of time and so we were not worried.  We said “hello” to those who wondered by taking a chair near or not nearby and we saw our friend, the fellow traveller, whom we had not seen since the time of our disgrace smile at us as they turned to sit down across a few feet away where they, as the “watcher of the room” could watch. “How perfect,” we thought and for a second the bright ease of their energy banished our growing dis-ease as though a patronus had stampeded the place but instead of pounding hooves we heard………

Deep gut rumblings moved as the time approached and our anxiety grew louder in our brain.  We busied ourselves getting out the supplies for the meeting then took our seat next to Sari.  Introductory comments were issued, necessary rituals of behavior and rules of the road were laid down and then we passed the mic to Sari and listened and watched as Sari spoke of how it was a year ago when they first realized that their previous prodigious  memory power and – the power to remember – was slipping – Slip sliding away.  There was nothing for science to do but confirm what Sari’s body was sharing.  In the depths of our being where the body speaks – where we go to take sanctuary and refuge.

We observed the others, and we smiled warmly at the traveller who returned mine with a playful wink and we instantly felt connected and a little better as we awaited our turn to share the mic and share our experiences and who we are through them with who ever showed up willing to give a listen to what we might present.

Sari spoke beautifully and we could not have asked for a better lead in as they say in the movies and then there we were, holding the mic. Holding that infamous mic that had heard all the tumbled and jumbled words that came out of our mouth and duly recorded in our “hall of shame” where we kept all the troggs and slithery things we wished to hide.  Our armpits were damp, we felt anxious and expressed that to be so.  It helped.  We had our words before us, slip sliding off our thighs as we balanced microphone and script.

We spoke our words.  Our words.  The truth of who we are, the stories of who we once believed ourselves to be, and the signposts of who we are becoming. We spoke from the heart there was no choice.  Our words carefully chosen lovingly placed and tested by resonance first with soul then with mind then with body, always sampling so that the words we might choose to share arose from our bodily and personal experience and not from ego’s desire or fantasy’s wish to be seen in a certain light, with wind swept hair and a dragon tattoo on our chest perhaps?

Our intention, was to allow ourselves to share experiences that in the doing would necessarily call forth our inherent vulnerability and allow others to likewise locate and share their heartfelt truths with us and all the others. Our  second intent was also share those practices, teachings , or arising of the Dharma in our lives in direct relationship with our quirks and flaws as human beings aging, growing old, letting go, changing, being human.

In speaking our words, our heart allowed its light to shine and in that light we saw and we experienced the fruits of our practices and the truths of the Dharma as it has shown up for us as we continue to follow this beautiful and curious path: it requires courage to be vulnerable and to share who you are as a human being.  Sharing our quirks of sometimes saying the exact opposite of what we want to say, or sometimes saying things like:  “he’s like a china in the bull shop” or changing words around in a sentence or badly mispronouncing words, or mangling a common thing like: “don’t feed the hand that bites you” and yes admitting that painful moments of scrambled  word goop or stone cold forgetting can and likely will happen again creates space for us to be present in this group and any group or space and not hold back from fear, from shame that we might open our mouth and say words that have no context, no rhyme or meaning ….. that we might open our mouths and have nothing to say at…we forgot and it is OK.