I’ve been feeling nervous, anxious and fearful of late and its due to coming out and its due to expressing myself and sharing my identity with a group of about 10 folk I’ve known several years now. We’ve worked together to build and maintain a successful Kalyana Mitta group for senior citizens.
I find I am fearful of coming out to them in a more intimate personal kind of way then I was with marching in the flash and pride of the parade, which, while powerful – was also safe. Now, at retreat, I would be with these people who now, at last, know of my core identity and this event was filling me with fear. So I started examining said fear and found it was all sound and fury and story and worry, largely signifying nothing. But the fear was nagging and I knew I needed to sit with it. Hold it with compassion and non judgment and just let it be what it needs to be.
I knew the fear was ungrounded in fact and I knew the story lines of the fear almost by heart, as I have whispered them cautiously in my own ears many a sleepless night. When I first starting working this path faithfully one of the fruits was permission to allow whatever was coming up to come up and holding myself – literally holding myself as a “mother holds her only child.” Tenderly, lovingly, securely. So many years spent trying to hate myself….so many years succeeding in hiding from myself, being the angry sullen victim rife with irony.
What are the odds I’d often wondered that I’d ever really be capable of knowing and loving myself?
I sat down and started thinking about the people in the inner sangha and I starting thinking of some of the unlikely things that have occurred in my life, and of what the odds that these people I’ve known for several years will scorn me or shame me or turn aside from me simply because I have decided to let then know that I am an XXY / Intersex kind of guy. I mean what are the odds?
To be honest I then kinda got lost in the “what are the odds” game and some healing odds and ends came up.
What are the odds that a photograph displayed in the window of a tiny camera shop in a small New Mexico town, would be an exact “duplicate” of one I’d taken two years before of a broken down building in Jerome Arizona, framed in the exact same compositional way. Same perspective and identically framed print would put me on the path to finding a Jewish mystic raised in a Catholic family who taught his wisdom “cowboy style,” and lamented as I did that “I should have been a monk, but I didn’t believe in Jesus as my savior.”
He and I would remain close all the rest of his life and he would teach me about life, the mind, the Bible, fathers and sons, about chicken legs, feathers and beaks and all that interconnects to make each of those happen. He taught me about Yahweh. He introduced me to Jung and to archetypes and about cows, and flies, and cups of coffee, and how to practice the only question that really matters in life. “Who dat?” Said with finger pointing at one’s head. He embodied transparency.
What are the odds an eager and ernest white guy from the white Christianity of Uncle Tom’s Cabin would meet and fall in love with a third generation Japanese – American Feminist – Atheist in a Spanish city in a forgotten state? And that 36 years latter our two so different souls would still be together. Still dancing and holding fire?
What are the odds that in the middle of mesa’s and pasture land, and killer rocky mountain views a few miles from town, and deep in the heart of tourist, cattle, and money country, one would encounter a sadistic neighbor with designs to ruin our life and the time to plot it out and the kind of sick twisted heart that enjoys cruelty for the pleasure it brings…and that he would turn out to be one of this life’s most powerful teachers for both of us?
Katherine our friend, ally, and teacher has said that the “odds of finding the Dharma is like that of a turtle surfacing from the deep sea and putting its head through a yoke.”
Now really what are the odds of that?
Makes a person think the universe has a sense of humor and timing and a way of bringing about miracles of the everyday sort that we seldom take stock to wonder…and what are the chances that at 68 this XXY/intesex kind of guy is blossoming and unfolding in a beautiful and unimagined way?
I am grateful to the dharma.
As these ripples return and pass through I am realizing that in fact, I am finally getting it. “Know thyself” to thine own self be true, “and it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Nor bear false witness against oneself…..