Today on my instagram account a picture popped up of a little town in Arizona, called Jerome.
When I saw it I was standing next to my dresser, atop which rests a print that I bought in that town over in October of 2012.
(The name of the print is Meditation #32, a photograph by Christopher Mull, who also owns the gallery where I bought it. The name of the gallery is Zen Mountain Gallery. The irony of “meditation” and “Zen”is not lost on me today though it meant little at the time.)
I was transported, instantly and effectively into memory, but, more importantly, to the noticing of the import of that town, that print, the trip I was on and on the trajectory of my life since.
At the time I bought the print I wrote several posts from the road. I was on a southwestern state road trip, spending time in Sedona and Albequerque, Taos and Flagstaff, as I traveled to the wedding of the daughter of dear friends in Santa Fe. It was an incredible trip, and in reading my posts from the road I can see the start, the spark of what my life has become, is still becoming. The fires were lit there. The roar of the knowing became impossible to ignore.
At the time I was not 2 years sober and I wasn’t in a great space. So many changes to be made, right? We come to this knowledge by degrees; we think it’s stop the destructive behavior #1 and it all falls into place. But generally that is just the start of the journey. And here I was on an actual journey, a road trip with a destination that, ultimately, became much more than I could imagine.
I had recently begun doing yoga, and, even at this early point, knew something was up with that.
I was also reading a lot of poetry and found, for the first time and on this tip, Rumi’s beautiful poem Zero Circle, which I fell deeply in love with. And, may I add, Before I bought the above print. I think that subconsciously called me to it.
Be helpless, dumbfounded,
Unable to say yes or no.
Then a stretcher will come from grace
To gather us up.
We are too dull-eyed to see that beauty
If we say we can, we’re lying.
If we say No, we don’t see it,
That No will behead us
And shut tight our window onto spirit.
So let us rather not be sure of anything,
Besides ourselves, and only that, so
Miraculous beings come running to help.
Crazed, lying in a zero circle, mute,
We shall be saying finally,
With tremendous eloquence, Lead us.
When we have totally surrendered to that beauty,
We shall be a mighty kindness.
Here’s some things I wrote in a blog post on that trip:
“The trip feels big in some way, though I have no idea how…I like the idea of this solo trip starting me on a bigger trip; its a romantic notion and I like romantic notions…I’ve had a lot of time to think on this trip. I have a lot to do and need to get busy doing it”
I wrote a lot more…several blog posts, but the themes were the same. It was almost like watching an awakening as I read back over them, a spiritual awakening.
And it was. That trip kicked off so many things for me. When I came home I continued to do yoga, increasingly frustrated by the fact that there were no studios near my home. I read more poetry and that led me to more spiritual searching….or rather, the start of some spiritual searching that I think yoga was the catalyst for . I began meditating a little more regularly. And I did big things. I got my house ready and sold it and my son left home and I moved and was able to get deeply into yoga and took TT and…….here I am.
Life is so different from those series of posts in 2012. So much better. And at the time I was pretty miserable, stuck and desperate. But I knew what I needed to do and that trip got the ball rolling, brought clarity where there was none.
I wrote this too, about the picture:
” I went to an old mining town which is now a hot art center, called Jerome today. I left Flagstaff and drove right there, passing through Sedona. I walked into a pace called the Zen Mountan Gallery and saw work by the artist/photographer Christopher Mull….and knew I was going to buy something. There was just no doubt. I was immediately attracted to 2 pieces, one very dark and one light. I bought the light one. There was a card of the dark one and he gave it to me, so in a way I have both. But the one I bought for myself spoke of new beginnings, of the circle of life and of change. I see it hanging in my house, but my first thought was how great it will look in my next place, my little apartment or condo, or casita. “
It’s crazy, how things can change, and so quickly. We change them, they change by themselves, change is constant.
Even as I am writing this, a hopeful, happy post, I recall that last month the beautiful bride whose marriage I witnessed on this trip, died from cancer at 36 years old. She was diagnosed a year after her wedding, not long after I had moved into my new place. She struggled with cancer and mortality as I was moving into a new phase of life. It feels like that was backwards, but time and change is a trickster, impermanence a mind fuck. I think about that poem Zero Circle, and the stretchers from grace that come to gather you up, and I hope that is happening for her sweet husband at this time. I know it is, I know it. And I think about the fact that my real journey began 10 years ago when Tom died, and that it’s the same for him. It breaks my heart, yet I see the ways that my heart has also been broken OPEN, not just cracked apart. I hold that hope for him as he navigates through the terror of life right now.
Everything changes. Nothing is permanent. Our lives, our loves, our grief and joy, our luck and misfortune. It was wonderful and terrible to be reminded of that trip today, the way life so often is. But I was so grateful for the reminder of where I was and where I am, and am not, now.
There is a lovely vibration/energetic mantra I call upon daily, after meditation and prayer.
I know who I am. I know what I am. I know how I serve. I am here, I am here,I am here.
Being grateful is learned through grace and pain and the example of those who have gone before. And when we fully see that, surrender to the pure fact of it, the inherent beauty of it all, “then we shall be a mighty kindness”.
At this point in my life that’s all I want to be.