Monday, April 6, 2009

Being Alive

Nothing is predestined: The obstacles of your past can become the gateways that lead to new beginnings. Ralph Blum
Six years ago when the police walked in and set me free from a relationship that was killing me, I was broken. My life in disarray, my heart in tatters, I had to begin the process of healing. I had to choose, would I live or would I die.

In "The Power of Myth", an interview with Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell suggests that humankind is not seeking the meaning of life. Rather, he states, we are seeking and have always sought what Campbell calls "The rapture of being alive". That feeling of bliss, of connectedness, of deep-seated knowing that this, this very moment filled with the power of all that is real and gutsy and scary and fulfilling, this is what counts. This is what makes life so grand. Campbell goes on to say that no matter the times, no matter the culture, our journey is not about finding some special vocation or mission in life, it's about the vibrant full-bodied experience of being alive.

Yesterday, Ellie and I walked on a ridge over-looking the river that serpentined through a vast parkland area of trees and shrub. Two weeks ago, ice covered the river. Now, the centre part of the river flows free. Ice still holds its edges snug against the embankment. Snow still covers the ground except on southern slopes where the sun's heat has melted the snow in open spaces, revealing the dirt and grasses that lay dormant beneath its blanket.

A gentle spring breeze caressed my face, played peek-a-boo with my hair, lifting errant strands to tickle up against my ears and forehead. Ellie was in heaven. She leaped and frolicked and rolled in dry grass, her eyes ever vigilant for a mud-puddle to roll in. Fortunately, I was even more vigilant and called her back from unruly encounters of the mud rolling kind.

Walking silently in the spring sunshine, the scents and sounds of spring alive around me, I felt the burden of my heart breaking open. C.C. and I had just had a heated discussion that had left both of us feeling exposed, unnerved, vulnerable.

Intimacy does that. Brings us close to the edge of reason where we dig in our heels and push back against our fear of falling.

A broken heart is an open heart. And an open heart is a loving heart.

To be intimate, I must be open. To be open I must break through the corroded casements sealing off the windows of my heart, shatter the panes of fear and throw caution to the wind.

To be intimate, I must break open the windows of my fear.

Yesterday, I sat upon the hillside watching the slow silent moving of the river below. I watched a crack form along the icy shore, a chunk of ice fall into the river and drift away. It didn't go far. At the point where the river meets open water, ice blocked its passage. The chunk of ice retreated, advanced, retreated, advanced until eventually it grew silent and melted into the waters.

Like my heart and mind. I flow into love and retreat in a fury of angst when an old wound cracks the icy edges of my heart. A chunk of fear breaks off, falls into the river and flows onward, jamming up against the wall of my resistance to break free.

It will take the warmth of the sun to break up the ice. The sun will need time and the gentle caress of the wind to aid it in its mission to heal winter's transgressions so that the river can flow freely.

It will take the rapture of being alive to unblock my fear of falling. I will need time and the gentle caress of forgiveness, of love, of acceptance to break free.

I can dance. I can swim. I can fly free. The choice is mine. No matter what I do, to be intimate, I must break open my heart and let the fresh winds of spring clear away the icy residue of the past. To live in the rapture of being alive, I must plough through the waves of caution holding me back from the waterfall of my fears. I must surrender my past and tumble freely over the abyss to fall rapturously in love with all that I am and all that I can be when I am free of my fear of living in my heart broken open in love.

What a wild and wondrous journey of life and loving I have before me.

I am blessed.

The question is: Are you jammed up against your icy heart, willing yourself to hold fast to the shores of discontent? Or, are you breaking up the ice, warming your heart upon the fires of love, melting your fear with forgiveness and tenderness and acceptance and love? Are you setting yourself free to flow into this wild and rapturous state of being alive?

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