Sometimes a writing comes along that touches that inner spirit, soul-journeying, power place and you say, ah, yes. These are words that sit with me. This is such a writing. Written by Deva Temple.
When you realize that this is your last lifetime, you suddenly find beauty in strip malls and you pay more attention to the way dried grass blows with a subtle breeze. You notice the solidity of a hug and the way dust is time's messenger. You tremble and release, tremble and release... You practice the jump into infinity. You weep for every reason. You meet joy and sorrow, love and grief, with utter equanimity, welcoming all as dear, old, sacred friends. You watch how smoke goes up into an empty sky and you recognize the mirror. You know that living your truth until the very last second is worth every possible price. You know that time is precious. You will never come this way again. You will not wait in line at the grocery store, wondering what the person in front of you is thinking. You will not be held up in traffic or make love or turn pebbles about in your hand or pluck at the grass or listen to the waves. You will not sing your favorite song. You will not drink beer or hold an asana. You will not laugh nor will you cry. Your story, your entire story, not just this story of you in this particular body at this particular time, but every story, every body, your entire transmigrational tale, it is going to disappear. You know this. You prepare yourself to be Nothing. You know yourself to be Everything. One by one, you let go of each thing: your family, your desire for money, the quest for power, old journals, clothes, beauty, youth, the yearning for life... You give up making love. Your body changes but you don't care. You stop caring if other people care. You give up fame. You give up striving. You give up all attachments. A fire comes and burns it all down and you stand there, open armed, open eyed, open hearted, and watch it burn, a sacrifice, your life, your being, an altar. You watch the smoke merge into the naked emptiness above. You recognize the mirror.
When you realize that this is your last lifetime you start to gaze at your beloved a little longer. You notice the way light reflects off his eyes, the depth of color, the tiny imperfections of the iris which make his windows so perfectly unique. You notice the souls all around you, making their way in bodies light or heavy, burdened or carefree. You notice their fear, their "I don't think I'm good enough," and you know that they are. You see the beauty of God in the old man sitting in front of you on the bus, how the sunlight illuminates his thin skin, how his liver spots tell a story of his unfolding journey. You fall in love with the heavy woman in front of you in line at Walmart. You see how Divinity hides in the movement of her flesh, so alike water. You forgive the rapist and the murderer. You hope that the truth you leave behind helps all of you on your journeys home. You know that we are in this together. You know that there is nothing "out there." You know that there is only One of us here. You open your body. You meet your fate: the pain, the love, the loss, the beauty, the horror, the surprise and the knowing... Arms outstretched, heart forward, you rise up like the mist, like sunlight, like the scent of hyacinth in the springtime, like a child's first cry. You escape. You dissipate. You expand. You release. You surrender. You pass through. You do not stop to admire the brilliance. You do not look back. You do not cling. You do not ask "what if..." You merge into the Emptiness. The all-knowing Void of Conscious Love. The singularity of time. You recognize This as your deepest Self, your most familiar Home. Origin. Source. Being. Truth. God. The Ineffable Infinite. Great Mystery... You hold this knowing without attachment, without regret, without longing, without doubt, without thought. You become utter Stillness. Empty-Full. Full Circle... Complete.
We did the family bed thing. For like years. And a friend once asked me—way, way back—if this was just the way it is...and what did I do if my kids said they wanted to sleep in their own bed? Well, I said, I tell them no, because this is about my needs. She was shocked. And I was shocked that she thought I was serious. Because this, this family bed thing, that's not what it's about. It's not about me. And it's not about this we-are-doing-this-one-thing-exactly-this-way thing. It's about comfort and reliability and connection. And it's about respect and growth and maturity. And about being independent while being interdependent and recognizing that both exist at the same time. It's about knowing that it's safe so that you can sleep anywhere because you know that you can sleep right here when you need that. This is what family bed is.
It's child led. And so it ebbs and flows and changes, sometimes in the same night. And it makes a good night's sleep complicated sometimes but makes every night's sleep a good sleep because your baby is safe and your child is close, whether they are in their own room or yours.
To make this work for us—my husband and I—we got double size beds in all our kid's rooms. When they went from the crib to a bed it was not a kid bed or a training bed or a twin-it-just-fits-one bed. It was a true double that two adults could sleep in comfortably bed. Because we knew that we would be in it a lot. In each bed. Either together—as in me and him—or with one or more of our kids, possibly not with the child who's room the bed was in. And of course with an assortment of cats and dogs, too.
Our nights were busy. Sometimes our children fell asleep in our bed. Sometimes they fell asleep in their bed and made it to our bed in the night. Sometimes one was in our bed and two were in another bed. When all three were in our bed we went to another bed. There was a lot going on.
There were those moments when I would hear a child cry out or reach out or call out and I would jump from a bed and run into the hall to have to stand still for a moment and remember what bed I just left to know what bed to go to to find the child that needed a hug or a hold or a soothing night voice. And there were those moments where my husband and I, we spent the night alone in our bed with each child in their bed and I would wake in the night for just a moment to listen to the quiet of breath through the house.
And it was all good. The busyness of it and the calmness of it. The moving from place to place and the comfort of being in one space altogether.
We did this for years. We did this until they didn't do this anymore. Even when they still did. When my son came home from college one year and I woke in the night to find him asleep on the daybed next to my bed. When my daughter stays over and lays in my bed because a mommy's bed is always the most comfortable even when it's not. We do this even when we don't do this—back then and now—because what this is, this family bed thing, it is that we are here. Whether when they were little and we held them close in sweet deep sleep or now when they know that we will always be just a bedroom away even if we are many states away. We are here. We will always be here. That is what this is all about. Always.
FROM THE FIRE: Ojai Reflects on the Thomas Fire. www.fromthefirebook.com.
I'm creating this book. With a friend of mine. We are new friends. I believe I have written about this book before and so you may already know this. We met on Facebook because we both wanted to create a book about the Thomas Fire. We have combined forces and are creating this most incredible anthology of our town's experience in what is the largest wild fire in California history.
We are finishing up the submission stage of this book. In truth, this stage was supposed to be finished in March. That was our deadline. Then May. Then June. And now, now. But this time is the real time. It is a hard stop.
And I am heading to Oregon next week to layout this book with all it's photographs and poetry, and reflection. And the interviews. We interviewed over 40 community members about their experience with this fire. And so we have this comprehensive fire story told from all these different angles - we know this fire.
And so, because I am so in this, this creating of this book I am feeling a bit stressed. As in really stressed. And this is really what this writing today is about.
First off I want to say that the fan on the Mac is running very fast and so I can hear it. This is new. It started to happen with I downloaded Chrome on this computer and then added theses two extensions because I wanted to back up my google drive to my dropbox. And then I freaked out because I am worried when I deal with technology. And so I ended up not doing that. And then the fan started. So I googled that and it said it may be because of Chrome which is what I was thinking since it never did this before this. So... I dumped Chrome in the trash and then dumped the trash. But here is my question... if I dump Chrome, so that it is off my computer, are the extensions off my computer, too? Since they are Chrome extensions. If someone knows the answer to this please let me know.
Even before this happened today I had a challenging day because I ran my car into a metal gate. This was an accident. I was going up to this beautiful spot in Ojai to interview this lovely man about his experience with the Thomas Fire and I went through the gate and misjudged the opening and scraped the passenger side of my car against the metal. Fuck. This is not a little scrape. This is an I bent the gate and dented my car and now the passenger door will not open kind of scrape. Uggghhh.
So that was that today, too.
And I am hungry. I am taking this breath text thing to see if I have "Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth" and so I could not eat anything but like plain chicken and rice. And black coffee. And then I need twelve hours with no food and then I breathe into a bag like a dozen times in different twenty minute intervals and send it off in a Fedex bag and voila - bacteria will show up or not. I think.
And not only am I hungry because of this I am stressed, too. Because I do not quite know how to administer this test and my lack of focus and ability to keep my attention to understanding instructions is preventing me from figuring it out at this time. It's an ADD thing that I have even though I do not have ADD. More, as my kids always said, I have the attention span of a squirrel. Which may be ADD. I don't have the focus to go figure that out either.
And so, this fire book. It's going to be quite amazing and most of the time I am loving creating it. And proud of it. And moved by it. And so grateful that so many people are open and sharing and supportive and excited about being a part of this book. It will be beautiful.
Mother, Wife, Friend, Sister, Daughter, Dancer, Rower, Runner, Dog and Cat lover.