Friday, May 28, 2010


I don't know about you, but sometimes I self-destruct a little bit. Make bad choices, go into a downward emotional spiral, bury my head or body or heart or all of the above in some metaphorical sand and stand - not in a state of stuckness but more in an act of undoing - eyes shut, ears covered, head down.

Thankfully, there is always a point at which I reemerge into the world. Sync up a bit more with the authentic present and begin to interact/breathe/live in a way that is more genuine and less clouded with gunk.

Gunk, I think, is the unnecessary stuff we carry with us that has nothing to do with the present and everything to do with an attachment to some emotion, some pattern, some expectation, some script with which we are determined not to part. It's the illusion we allow to overtake reality... the shadow that engulfs and distorts things as they are. We become hungry ghosts: eating ourselves up in a flurry of mistaken and misdirected believing, thinking, saying, doing.

My last post was April 7. And it was about tension. Which is pretty funny. And I could say I stopped writing because I was in Too Much Light... or because we were all getting sick or because school and job searching and whatnot got too busy. But none of that would be true.

I stopped writing. I stopped meditating. I stopped hanging out with people. I stopped connecting to my family. I stopped reading. I stopped being patient. I stopped having faith. I stopped liking myself. I stopped trusting others.

And from an outside perspective (certainly to anyone attuned to such things), it sounds like textbook depression. But this felt different somehow. Not just the chemical roller-coaster of hormones or the genetic squish of generational institutionalization. This was more active than the slack-fingered cling of hopelessness; darker than the shadowed stagnancy of sadness.

It was a form of running away. And I am grateful for all the little "ah ha" moments that led to enough clarity to stop.

So. I am awake now. This week has been a process of blinking in the sun and remembering to be still. To be silent (sometimes literally enforced by my body in an act of gentle determination). To be present. To be honest, and patient, and calm, and compassionate, and - perhaps more than anything else - tenacious.

Someday this Japanese proverb will be tattooed on my skin:

Fall seven times.
Stand up eight.

It's the greatest act of courage we can muster, I think. To push past failure, and weakness, and cruelty, and stupidity, and error, and thoughtlessness, and pride, and envy, and all those myriad and inescapable puddles of human-ness... to rise again and persevere.

Wake up. Forgive. Find peace. Move again.

May you awaken in ways that make you feel more alive and more present. May you display tenacious courage and unshakable peace, even in moments of seeming failure.


  1. I am new to your blog, but really appreciate this post. I have been suffering similar "gunk" and I think I may make that proverb my new mantra =) Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hello Kate! So glad the post found you and resonated. That proverb seems to follow me everywhere lately. Meditation class, plays, things I read, conversations with people. It's a lesson and way of behaving I strive to embrace more fully each day. I sort of feel like I carry it around and turn it over and over like a stone - always noticing something new, some subtle aspect I'd missed before.

    Thank you so much for your comment and best of luck to you in everything. ;)