Bug Bites, Bugs, Christianity, Closeted Gays, Compassion, Country Folk, energy, Family, Farms, Forgiveness, Gay Fathers, God, Grandfathers, Grandmothers, Healing, Holy Spirit, Insight Meditation, Karuna, Law, Letting go, Love, Metta, Mothers, Personal Naratives, relationships, Stories, Theology, Universal Law, univesals, Vipassana Buddhism
A year ago the letter arrived confirming what my intuition told me was true about my dad. Joy arose followed quickly with “son-of-a-bitch” feelings. And then too this time last year I was nearly broke and being sued by the Colorado Department of Employment and Labor over ten grand in “wrongful” unemployment payments. Karen’s dad had died and so had the old truck he had given us. It was cold and things were looking bleak and to make matters worse, it was time for my annual “Capricorn melancholic funk.”
When I first starting sitting with the newly confirmed sense of dad and started examining the Bridges family myth, the stories started to unravel. What’s unraveling are the stories that maintain the energies holding the belief in the idea of “Robert Bridges.” Who am I without all the stories I tell myself…about myself?
The external confirmation demolished many of the old stories of the way it was in the Bridges family and allowed space for something new to arise.
Many moments this past year I sat exploring my heart, examining as many of the old stories of who I was, who dad was, who and why mom was the way she was, as would arise. Holding what arose with compassion – Karuna all around. It helps!
I meditate using the breath to anchor and come back too, and practice “choiceless awareness which, can be awareness of anything, of course, for me, the awareness seemed to choose to watch some new wrinkle in some very old drama to unfold in a way that was novel and liberating. Sometimes I’d sit and simply weep and hold myself in loving kindness which in turn seemed to allow for a holding of the pain, grief, loss, sadness and anger that arose within me but not just for me. Metta and Compassion and connection came alive within my heart, tugging open and softening it to all those otherswho had too or who have to live secretly fortified and compartmentalized lives, fearful of being found out and secretly ashamed, never at ease. These are sample stories we are often told by others and by ourselves to ourselves. Invariably there is judgment (at least at first) cast down by a parent to a child, and then most often we take up the role of Judge and turn him or her loose on us as well as others too. But the worst can be those tossed down from religion on high and co-opted by political and social ideologies to stigmatize and marginalize those who are different by the majority who cannot seem to abide those who are “not like me” for they “make” us question our gods.
It came to me one night clear as the Hesperus sky that there is no blame. None. Just as I am doing as best I can so were they. Allowing the simple holding of self and parents in a space of no blame is both a healing and liberation. An added bonus, I find is when I hold my self and others without blame, compassion naturally arises. Forgiving my father for his deceptions and abandonment, and starting to separate out what was his energies and anxieties and what is truly mine has been creating new conditions and possibilities of relationship neither my mom or my sister or I had ever experienced with each other before. One can only wonder where these ripples might appear and or what old things they might make new again opening the eyes of the heart and the child within? One of the few places I wanted to visit while in Springfield, was the farm. So off we went driving the old back roads just like in the old days when Bob was at the wheel and Lil Bob was still fast asleep.
Now though it was Robert at the wheel and “Lil Bob” was navigating and “just Bob” was peering through the trees as we pulled into the narrow lane and up to the old gate and saw through the trees, the old farm-house. I wasn’t three feet from the car when I was met by a wave of Energy so powerful it was literally like walking into some force field, and so of course I burst immediately into tears.
Before practicing Vipassana I’d have shut an event like this down before I could blink but with some practice and trust in the abilities of the human heart I’ve learned to open to love and to open to joy and sadness and loss.
Twice more I returned to the Farm and each time as soon as the place came into view I ran into that same gentle, pervasive, and pleasurable energy field that hovered I guess, like a bubble around the farm. The last time, I went to the house and sat for a spell on the porch where many memories arose. The farm lays a mile up an old narrow lane. I felt I could have walked into 1913 as easily as 2013.
The house had been fixed a little and now the car porch, where Charlie and I often sat sipping Lemonade discussing fences, cattle and life while taking turns killing flies, had been screened in. My eyes were on the porch anyway where Josie and I would sit and talk of life and love and loss while watching the flickering lightning bugs. I stayed there in that space until I felt my heart let go. Until I knew I had honored the farm and the lives of my grandparents – Josie and Charlie. I sat on the porch where we had once all sat listening to the crickets, feeling the gentle Ozark breeze blowing through the timelessness of the space and getting eaten alive by Chiggers.
This energy….. A good friend calls it a Law. He say’s it’s a Law of the Universe which we experience as Emotions. I call It Love for lack of any better word or any better finger that points us to experiences of being filled by a force we cannot explain, cannot contain, and yet all people search for IT. I am happy to call it IT or Metta. I am also happy to relate to name IT the Holy Spirit, or an Archetype or a Grandfather spirit if that is the face IT appears in.
For short hand purposes,just say it was an individual heart opening to the Heart of the world.
Last night home. Mom and I were sitting on the porch talking and I’m listening with my heart so that I can be aware if “Just Bob” gets hooked and I’m trying to hold mom and “Lil Bob” in compassion as well. There is a pause in her conversation and a pause in my head….a space….a gap between thoughts….a place of not knowing. “Ask her if she’d like a hug,” a voice whispered. I did. She did. The instant I held her body in my arms all that energy of love that had come to me while standing by the farm went right through me and right into my mother….her frail 92-year-old body shook and then slowly softened. It was the first time and maybe the only time with full presence and nobility of heart, she and I shared a connection and an understanding that would not have been available to either of us in our roles as “narcissistic mother” and “passive aggressive son.”
I don’t know what the meaning of these events were, are, or will be. That same wise friend often cautions me to not “publish too quickly,” one lesson being not to believe the story created by one’s self to initially explain to one’s self, the meaning of one’s encounters with the Law / Love, to be the only one. “Don’t just close the book on it as we gather experience and perspective we just might see our own “truths” differently.” A truth at this point for me is that it is possible to see the story of who we are fall away. I think that as the identities we so carefully sculpt for ourselves ages, they became brittle and when they start to crack open we have choices. In this instance, on this trip back and at that time, I choose freedom, ease, confidence, and compassion. Folk of a different belief system might say they choose to follow the will of god and walked with Jesus trusting the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What might you say?