Heart Opening Moments

BLOG of a Spiritual Stripper

Facing the Place of No Escape

In aikido, I find myself often wanting to escape an oncoming strike. In the back of my mind I somehow believe if I can just avoid getting hit or avoid any possible pain, then I will be unharmed. Somewhere within my consciousness I believe escaping a confrontation is the best resolution.

Unfortunately on my spiritual journey, there are moments within myself that I must face an oncoming strike without the possibility of ever running away. A few days ago I had an encounter that brought back waves of old unresolved pain. I knew I was feeling unbalanced, angry, and sad. Yet I still used my meditation as a way to escape the uncomfortable feelings. Needless to say, trying to force peace upon chaos only leads to more chaos. Soon enough I found other strategies such as running away to take sunset photos, watching educational PBS series, eating a heavy meal to mentally checkout, and feeling the onset of a cold so I can just sleep away. All the strategies worked briefly only to lead me back to an even louder scream of discomfort within myself.

Eventually the strike caught up with me and I found myself facing the place of no escape.

In this cramped place I feel checkmated, and the only thing I can do is accept. Accepting the discomfort, accepting the internal scream, accepting the defeat, accepting the silence beneath the chaos, accepting everything just the way it is. The moment frozen feels like time standing still in the eye of a storm as I face the demons hidden beneath my consciousness. When the movements of jarring attempts to run away arise, an unwavering response of quiet acceptance, tender compassion, and intimate understanding softly penetrates my ground of being. Waves of sadness washing over me… Tears falling down… Bottled up old pain releasing… Violently, gently, tenderly – emptying, cleansing, renewing.

The place of no escape.

Years ago I thought Enlightenment will give me the promise of “happily forever after,” now only to discover Realization solely lays the groundwork for an inner revolution to take place. This life flowing through me now is no longer under my control – it has a movement of its own – breaking through a new pathway – restructuring, reorganizing my body, mind, emotions, and energy. This ongoing emptying out the old and rebuilding the new can often feel scary, chaotic, and triggers an instinct to fight or flight. Facing the GREAT UNKNOWN at each moment can be overwhelming and frightening. Yet my instinctual “need-to-escape” or “resisting-the-change” will only delay my transformation and make the process much more difficult to endure. It is a challenge to keep on going – to make the choice to be brave, to stand alone – naked, accepting, and willing.

On the path after Realization, there can only be places of no escape. Realization might have been a sudden existential awakening, but the path after Realization must be a commitment to continue the discovery and renewal of our chosen path. I have met many individuals fortunate enough to experience a moment of awakening but they never took another step beyond that experience. So many of them still talk about that old experience that happened long ago but nothing new blossomed as a result of their realization. I didn’t want to be one of them. I didn’t want my awakening to be just an old memory. Day in, day out I make the choice to walk with Truth – no matter how it reveals itself. This journey is simple – serve Truth even when it is difficult to do so.  I don’t suppose it will always be an easy choice to make. I do know that I will find the bravery within myself to walk the path. Are you willing to walk with me?

  'You must want to know the truth more than you want to feel secure in order to fully awaken to the fact that you are nothing but Awakeness itself. '  ~ Adyashanti

‘You must want to know the truth more than you want to feel secure in order to fully awaken… ‘ ~ Adyashanti

“But our potential lies beyond the known, beyond the structures of the past, beyond anything that humanity has established. Our potential is something that can flower only when we are no longer caught within the influence and limitations of the known. Beyond the realm of the mind, beyond the limitations of humanity’s conditioned consciousness, lies that which can be called the sacred. And it is from the sacred that a new and fluid consciousness is born that wipes away the old and brings to life the flowering of a living and undivided expression of being.
One must be willing to stand alone—in the unknown, with no reference to the known or the past or any of one’s conditioning. One must stand where no one has stood before in complete nakedness, innocence, and humility. One must stand in that dark light, in that groundless embrace, unwavering and true to the reality beyond all self—not just for a moment, but forever without end. For then that which is sacred, undivided, and whole is born within consciousness and begins to express itself.”  © Adyashanti 2008 

December 11, 2014 Posted by | Aikido Wisdom, Choices, Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Enlightenment, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twisted Misunderstandings, Twisted Pain

Remembering that cold winter night

Remembering that cold winter night

It was a cold winter night when the snow was coming down hard and quickly covered the streets. I was very happy to have returned home from pre-school and curled myself up indoors to stay out of the blasting wind that was cutting through my skin. It had been one of those days everything was going well and I was overjoyed to see mom after being away in pre-school all day long. I followed her everywhere and all I wanted was to be near her. She smiled at me and told me how helpful I have been just being around her. I hugged her tightly and was basking in tender love.

Within minutes mom had returned to her busy activities. Nevertheless I followed her everywhere. As she gathered a bucket to fill a mixture of cold and hot water while adding drops of liquid soap, she told me that I can help her to soak grandma’s feet. Excited, I ran to the door and picked up grandma’s heavy winter “feet” and ran back to the bucket and dropped them in…

I stood still and waited for mom to praise me for a job-well-done. Instead, she screamed and glared into me with razor-sharp criticism to tell me that I was being a bad child. I was in shock. My tears rushed down uncontrollably as I could not understand why I was faulted for giving her all of my love. I could not understand why my love would make her so angry. And I hated myself for making her angry. I ran to the door, turned to look at her one last time, then kicked the door open with everything I’ve got and raced out into the dark snowy night. I ran and ran, down the cobblestone stairs covered in slippery snow with my bare feet. The tears were still burning on my cheeks when the frigid wind cut through my thin layer of pajamas – just as painful as mom’s sharp glare. I couldn’t stand it. I had to get away and take myself away from mom. Not for my sake but for her sake. I don’t ever want to make her angry again. I ran and ran, headed to the frozen river so I can just float away…

As I matured from 3 to 35, I have learned the different between feet and shoes. Yet whenever I think of that story I still find an old numbing pain in my chest.

That old pain resurfaced again

That old pain resurfaced again

Back in October 2008, I met this amazing man.  We both shyly tried to approach each other in the next several months. We shared a mutual intimacy with one another that was both exciting and intimidating. He was working on a project that could use some positive marketing so I brought in Dave who I have adopted as a little brother for many years to do some video marketing. Instead of being full of appreciation, my amazing man quickly backed off from me and gave me the cold shoulder. I felt that same pain in my chest. Dumbfounded, I couldn’t understand what I did wrong to make him so angry. He ended up breaking our date and asked the whole group of video production out to lunch instead. I didn’t even have a chance to explain to him that Dave is my little brother before he wrote me off. Somehow I pushed him away and into the arms of another girl.

This morning as I finished my walk with my dog and ran into a neighbor. This neighbor is an elder wise-man who cared for me like a father. And I have always respected his perspectives. We casually chatted and he asked me how I’m doing. “Great!” I told him as I have been feeling good and it feels like my life is in a really good place. My garden is blooming beautifully this year, I have found a greater inner strength, and I find myself able to love unconditionally. Like a father, he searched for more, so he curiously asked me if I was dating this young man who came to visit me a week ago. I was surprised and asked, “you mean Dave? He is my little brother! And I haven’t dated anyone for years…” The elder nodded and apologized for jumping to conclusions. Suddenly I found a tear sneaking down my cheek. Unknowingly I was remembering the last time someone mistook Dave (who is 13 years my junior) for my romantic partner. The tears started streaming down my cheeks. The elder padded me on the back and invited me into his home for coffee so I can tell my tale.

I did. Word for word. Tear for tear. I told him that I thought I had come to peace with that incident and I can be happy for that amazing man and his amazing girl. I thought I was able to love them both unconditionally and expect nothing in return. “But, that is not the point,” he sincerely looked into my eyes, “you are beating yourself up for a misunderstanding. It is your pain you must gaze into.”

My pain? I am fine, I thought…

Yet I was still holding onto the pain that I messed up and think if I could only have explained to him what was really going on then we wouldn’t have fought this silent battle for the past few years. I hate being misunderstood. I hate the pain of being misunderstood by someone I love. I quietly went home after my coffee to look within for the source of that old chest pain which resurfaced suddenly this morning. I knew it wasn’t just about that misunderstanding that occurred several years ago. That incident was only a messenger to alert me to a deeper pain that needed healing. As I sat quietly in stillness, I touched upon that old pain in my chest again as tears rushed upward from the depth of me. I saw that little girl, who was me, at the age of 3, crying in the night of howling snow – that was the first time she felt misunderstood. She cried and cried. She couldn’t understand why the abundance of her love would hurt mom so much. And she never forgave herself for the perceived pain she caused. With my eyes closed, I held her, and we both cried and cried until our tears ran dry.

An hour ago I called mom. Told her the story of our first misunderstanding and how much pain I was still holding on. She and I had a good laugh, and a good cry – together. We rewrote the ending of the story. This time, I tossed grandma’s “feet” into the water and waited for mom’s approval. Instead, both mom and grandma looked shocked for a moment, then they laughed until we were all rolling on the ground. She then hugged me tightly and showed me the difference between shoes and feet. Then mom, grandma, and I all put our shoes aside and soaked a total of six feet into that bucket of soothing warm water as we laughed while sipped on hot chocolate. The door was never opened that night. The snow was howling out there, but inside the house, we were basking in love.

August 15, 2013 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, love, Tears | , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Let the Tears Flow

Me, exposed

"Tears sometimes cleanse the heart and ready it for deeper love." - Bob Luckin (Artist, Co-Director at Spiritual Enrichment Center, Sr. Minister at International Centers for Spiritual Living)

“Crying is for Wimps.” So I was told. But they didn’t tell me where to put my anger, my sadness and my sorrow…  I hurt. My body, my mind, my emotions… Sometimes I felt as if my chest was caving in and I must run away before my heart explodes. Other times I wish I had a strong man to hold me in his arms and tell me everything will be alright. This time I could not run nor use a man to rescue me. This time I am alone.

So I cried. Loud. I screamed out my sorrows from the depth of me. I saw my tortured soul burning in the sea of agony. Her pain ran into the dark abyss. I wanted to pull her out but didn’t know how. So I cried… The waves of hailing tears went on and on… And the end was nowhere near.

I cried for my heartbreak, I cried for not being good enough, I cried for my fears, I cried for my neediness, I cried for my physical pain, I cried for my inability to love freely, I cried for my suppressed feelings, I cried for my failures, I cried for my longings, I cried for my disappointments, I cried for stepping into potholes, I cried for being unkind, I cried for always getting myself into storms of emotions, I cried for my loneliness, I cried for misunderstandings, I cried for hurting the ones I love, I cried for my confusion, I cried for my desires, I cried…

I asked myself if feelings were wrong. Yet how could something so natural and so raw be wrong? If it weren’t wrong then why can’t I show it freely? If I can feel so much hard twisted suppressed pain within me then do you feel the same pain? If I have spent so many years suppressing my true feelings then do you suppress them too? If I only smile to the world and secretly lock away my truth do you do the same? If we all suffer then who is going to rescue us from descending deeper into the abyss? Why do we have such violent feelings? Why can’t I stop crying? … Analyzing my pain only brought up more self-inflected misery. So I discarded my intellect, peeled off my cloth, laid on my back and watched the tears flow.

Naked. Exposed. Raw. This is me. The uncut version.

I feel deeply. I love passionately. I sense intensely. This is me. The truthful version.

I pretended I didn’t care. I acted I didn’t bleed. I toughed it out to demonstrate I am doing just fine. But I am not. That is not me. You only saw the mask and thought that was the real me.

I cried for all the untruth I showed to you, I cried for all the rejected feelings within me, I cried for all the masks I wore, I cried for all the egoic games I played, I cried for alienating you, I cried for the old wounds that still hunt me, I cried for the hope that someday I can show you how deeply I love, I cried for the longing to express my truth, I cried for us and the freedom within reach…

Two days of tears. Two days of storms. Wind. Thunder. Hail. I am still here, somehow standing calmly within the storm. No need to run. No need to hide. The ice melting. A smile softening into the tears. My heart is beating. Regardless of the storm, I am calm. I am here. I am free.

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Death & Rebirth, Emotional Freedom, Inner Growth, Self Realization, Tears | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

A Tipping Point

Waves of Sadness

Waves of Sadness

While sipping a cup of warm industrial coffee, staring into the barely ticking clock, I felt lazy in my layers of thick clothing.  Suddenly out of nowhere, my best friend announced that he was leaving San Diego.

Shocked, I started to feel my hands shake as my voice became the size of a dime.  Hiding in the corner under layers of protection, I faked a momentary smile and said that I was happy for him.  But all I could focus on was he won’t be around anymore.  I have grown severally attached to him.  Now I feel as if my heart was breaking into pieces.  It all came so fast that I did not know how to react.  All of a sudden the rock I stood on crumbled and nothing else in the world mattered to me.  He is the foundation that my life has built on.  The person I am today is built on that foundation.  Now my whole belief system and my whole being have been shaken.

He told me the only thing that’s holding him back is me.  I knew.  I had no better teacher than he, I had no greater motivator than he, and I had no closer friend than he.  I also knew that I have been very well trained in hiding my feelings and no matter what he said, it will not change the way I react.  I acted cold.  Perhaps this is the only way I knew how to stay strong.  I remained calm as I watched the tears forming in the corner of his eyes.  He gazed into me, grabbed onto that thread of vulnerability and gently touched me as he placed his right hand over his heart and said, “You are too good for me, and much more than what I deserve.”

I held my breath and wished he could not see the infinite weakness with overwhelming potential to take control of me.

I quickly stood up and started to walk away.  I could no longer control my emotions.  As I turned back, our long lingering glances met.  They were more than just glances – we were trying to hold on to each other.

Oh, there’s no love in my life, the moment that you go away.  There’s no night, there is no day.  The world stops turning, the clock stops ticking…”  Fitting isn’t it?  The DJ on the radio somehow knew exactly which song to use in order to push me over the edge.

I had to get out – fast.  I had to get away from him.  With the rain drops slamming into my face, I ran as fast as I could across the crowded parking lot.  As soon as I got inside my car, a wave of sadness rushed over me.  I felt the pearl sized tears streaming from the corners of my eyes gathering in my lap – turning into an endless sea.

October 28, 2005 Posted by | Tears | , , , | Leave a comment