the vulnerability of aging…

this morning i meditated in the sauna for the first time in a long time.  and to be expected, it dramatically shifted me.  and also to be expected, this is when i realize i need to get back to daily meditation.

it does not take much for me.  twenty minutes a day.  i say in my head “ho” with the in breath, and “hum” with the exhale.  as thoughts arise in sentences or images, i take neutral notice and refocus on ho hum…ho hum…ho hum…

sometimes a brilliant gem of a thought comes to me from doing this, and i relish those moments…such as it did this morning when the thought came into my head: you’ve been creating a new story of suffering, be aware.

a little back-round information…in 2010 (when i first started meditating) i saw the story of suffering i had been creating since i was twelve, about all the pain i had been through in childhood.  this story grew and grew over the years, with each new wound forged by experience.  this story was the cause of all my suffering.

when i saw this story as a thought-form in my mind, and felt my self as breath, not thoughts…instantly, the story of suffering slithered down the drain and was over.  my suffering dissolved in seconds, never to return.

since that time i have felt pain, sorrow, regret, despair, anger, all that stuff.  just to be clear, dissolving suffering does not mean having a perma-smile one dimensional emotional nature…it does not even mean happiness.  what it means, is that i no longer suffered after that experience.  i only feel feelings, and they pass through me like weather patterns, while the center of me, my breath, is at peace, even if the outer layers of me are unhappy, or upset or whatever.

since i turned forty, these darker emotions have been intensifying.  more fear, anxiety, worry, sorrow, and loneliness than ever before, taking up larger and larger space within me.  my realization in meditation this morning told me why.

i have been slowly birthing a new story of suffering.  the story is titled, “i am getting older and i feel more vulnerable and what if i never find love and i wind up homeless cause i am living for a dream, and what if i don’t succeed, and what if life just gets worse from here and age ages me before i get to be a lover with my true love, and i just shrivel up and die a failure.”

long title, eh?

this story has has been birthing from unfulfilled longings.  the longing for true love.  the longing for the worldly actualization of my soul purpose.  the longing for practical matters to be settled.  the longing for sexual healing and creative flourishing and growth.  all these longings…

longings are where stories are born.

there is something to be said about the way we feel more vulnerable as we age.  the hard knocks of life knock us one too many times.  wrinkles dial in new insecurities.  boobs and balls sag.  tummy fat gets harder to get rid of.  people want youth.  practical peace of mind starts to mean more than flying by the bohemian seat of your thrift store pants.  you want more money so you can have health insurance, a solid quiet place to call home, and a sense of security.  you desire to be more settled. (or whatever you fear and desire based on your own life experience.)

but truth be told, these are all assumptions.  some people feel these longings and others do not.  and, there are no rules about what getting older has to mean.

being a radical transformer, i deconstruct my longings to see…what am i brainwashed into feeling and believing, and what is the real feeling coming from my heart.

the thoughts say: yes, i do want a sold quiet home with a life partner.  yes, i do want to actualize my dream.  but i don’t really believe i wont have love cause i have some tummy fat and wrinkles and men want young hot things, cause i believe in the real connection of two souls wanting to be together and sexuality springing from deep intimacy.   i also don’t feel any of my desire to live for the dream wane just because of hard knocks.  that’s not me.  i am a constant star, i don’t change, no matter what life gives back.  and i know that the universe will always take care of me because that’s my faith.  i give love, compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance and i let the universe give those things to me, and when i mess up i admit it and work hard to become a better person.  so really, it’s only the lack of having a life partner in my life to make home with that is missing.  and trust makes the waiting something that can turn into a lesson about patience and i always grow from lessons, so it’s all good, and besides the world could fall apart and very serious things are happening in the world, and maybe i am here for something larger than myself that has not arrived yet, and no matter what age i am, i am strong in spirit and youthful because my soul is timeless and….

CUT!

there is relevance to all those thoughts and to the vulnerability of aging.  i cry the relevant tears and observe the desires without judgement.

then i go deeper in meditation and i see the pain for what it is.  a story.  nothing more.  nothing less.

in this morning’s meditation, i released the story through the awareness that it is a story.  relief washed over.  security from within anchored me to existence again.

i swam laps and lost all sense of time.  i willed myself to be a sea creature in the sea, swimming endlessly.  i wondered, “are we living in a larger sea that we think is air?”  my imagination blossomed and the mystery of life filled my heart.   i felt all of creation in my toes and bones.  i felt joy.

i caught the birthing story, mid-hatch.  and i killed it with truth.

this is how my forties is going.  running energy how i see fit.  learning how to feel vulnerable without creating suffering.  learning how to juggle trust for what has not arrived and contentment for the moment and for what may never arrive.  acceptance for loss.

meditation is very much like eating ice cream.

when i am eating salted caramel ice cream, there are no thoughts.  there is nothing wrong with me or anyone or anything.  nothing is lacking.  there are no stories.  the creature is satiated to the point of zen.  just being is the easiest thing in the world when eating salted caramel ice cream.

it’s as if meditating is the snake head, and eating ice cream is the snake tail, in the mythical figure of the ouroboros…the snake eating it’s tail…the symbol of wholeness and completion, spiraling through every galaxy and cell of being.

i only eat salted caramel ice cream once in a blue moon….but meditating every day continues to be the best daily practice i know, to stay fully awake, present and feeling free and easy…in the flow…