Too Much, Not Enough, & This Love That Bears It All

Too Much, Not Enough, & This Love That Bears It All

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I’ve been in a very deep inner dialogue with Life recently, soul-searching and heart-stretching, and while it’s difficult and vulnerable to put into words for you all, I’m still compelled to try.

Not long ago I noticed that I was walking around with what felt like a subtle wall in my own heart, like a self-imposed boundary or barricade against Life. I noticed this wall not only appearing in my relationships, but in a deeper and more general way, in my very relationship with Life itself.

An earnest curiosity arose within me as to what this subtle wall, this ever-present barricade was made of. So I carved out a night of prayer for myself, in which I could dive deliberately into this inquiry. I lit a candle and stated a simple and powerful intention: “May I meet whatever is standing in the way of my living as love in this lifetime.”

Soon, after dropping in to the core of this mysterious wall in my heart, I was suddenly overcome by an overpowering kundalini energy, moving like waves of burning fire up and down my spine. The supreme discomfort of this experience brought me face to face with a deep resistance within me. This sharp light whipping through my spine felt fierce and relentless. It felt out of my control and took my breath away with what felt like cruel intensity.

This experience went on for some time. I lay there, trying to calm my breath, my nervous system, both hands resting on my racing heart. I prayed to let go of fear, to open and surrender, welcoming trust. Really I was wishing for any way I might escape this immense phenomenal and spiritual challenge.

It was as though torture, torturer and tortured were all merged as one within me, and the physical pain and intensity combined with a searing spiritual heartache was almost unbearable. It felt counter-instinctual for me to not resist it.

Not unlike the darkest corridor of childbirth, I intuitively knew that the only way out of this phenomenal ordeal was through it; that I must somehow find a way to surrender, past my resistance, give in to the waves and open to what was deeper; open to whatever revelation must be yearning to emerge through the pain.

For brief moments the intensity would subside– such sweet relief– and then it would build again to a point where I was at the very edge of what I could stand. I found myself sobbing, begging for mercy, saying the words: “It’s just too much. It’s too much! Please, please. It’s just too much.”

At one point, by some grace, I suddenly overheard myself saying these words: “it’s just too much…” And as I heard this, deeply, the ferocity of the energy in my spine slowly came to a peaceful rest, and I saw, flashing before my mind’s eye, all the moments of my life that have brought me to my knees in an experience of “too much.”
Whenever I’ve felt pushed up against my own sanity, burdened by the emotional, financial, domestic and professional responsibilities of adulthood, of single parenthood, my primal experience has been one of “this is just too much.”

Whenever I’ve been deeply challenged in mothering young children, my nerves strained, exhausted by the constant juggling, or after weeks of our family moving through an intense illness, at the core I’ve felt, “this is truly way too much!” Remembering one year ago, the horrifying health ordeal that landed my sweet 9 year old daughter in the ICU for a week, or six years ago, at the epicenter of the darkest hour of my crumbling marriage; such common human angst invoking heart-wrenching experiences of “too much.”

My consciousness took me all the way back, to what I know was some of the deepest core wounding in this lifetime– when at 18 months old, having suddenly developed meningitis, I underwent several invasive and painful medical procedures as they tried to diagnose and treat my condition; my little arms and legs forcibly strapped down for numerous spinal taps, big needles entering my tiny lumbar spine. At the heart of that trauma was definitely an experience of way, way “too much”– complete overwhelm; a feeling of being betrayed by my own body, my humanity, by my loved ones, and by God.

As I perceived this deep pattern, I could suddenly see how my whole life I had been plagued, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly, by this resistance to any version of “too much,” as it never failed to re-trigger such a deep, core place of feeling betrayed by Life. I could see the subtle wall in my heart with which I had been walking through my life was in fact a deep defense mechanism against the ever-present, looming possibility of “too much.”

And then I saw, parallel to the common experience of “too much,” exists the just-as-common experience of “not enough.” Often easily trackable back to some essential experience of scarcity early in life, this dreadful feeling of either having or being “not enough” can haunt us, affirmed by life again and again. Whether it’s about not enough money, food, or time; support, connection, or sex, again and again we are brought back to the question of whether life will ever bring us what we need? Could we ever truly BE enough? And how often this sub-conscious question leads to futile and dangerous attempts at filling this gaping hole of lack in a myriad of ultimately unfulfilling ways.

A light of revelation opened within me, as I considered: perhaps, depending on the quality of our initial wounding, we are plagued by either a continuous experience of life being “too much”, or of it being “not enough.” Or perhaps by some complex combination of the two– as in: too much stress, and not enough support; too much work, and not enough rest; too much responsibility and not enough freedom; too much pain, and not enough relief; too much grief, and not enough joy; too much loneliness, and not enough connection.

How interesting to see the ways in which our suffering on collective and global levels also follow these same frequencies, our hearts aching and breaking over all the tremendous lack and troubling excess in our world.
How do we manage the far-reaching implications of too much drought and not nearly enough rain? How do we make peace with the reality of too much harrowing disease and not nearly enough cure? How to remedy such a deep lack of unified global effort towards planetary evolution and healing, alongside the overwhelming hopelessness of excessive greed, hunger, violence, addiction, and ecological imbalance?

I could see how habitually I have kept God and Love out of these places of “too much” and “not enough.” I’ve been assuming, at some core, resistant place in my being, that clearly these are Godless, loveless places. These are the places where the mess is just the mess; the unfortunate fruits of personal and collective imbalance, disastrously manifest. And in this way I have habitually met these places of “too much” and “not enough” with fear, aversion, overwhelm and futility; at best with a gesture of despairing prayer.

I suddenly saw that in response to my prayer: “to meet whatever is standing in the way of my living as love in this lifetime”, what I was actually asking of myself in this truly challenging night, was to finally bring God all the way home to the aching heart of “too much” and “not enough” inside me, inside my very cells, my human nervous system, and inside our precious world. I was asking myself to get out of the way: to let Love fully and completely find it’s way home to these seemingly loveless places, too.

I could feel the invitation to really tell the truth and open to the reality that even in the most horrific and heart-wrenching experiences of “too much” and “not enough”– that which is found in human torture, at the core of devastating disease and tragic loss, in the wake of elemental disasters, at the heart of war, the countless deaths of innocent lives, the worst of the very worst– still, Love is here, God is here.

And in my own, little, personal, privileged life, when I am brought to my knees in overwhelm, in despair, in hopelessness, in painful yearning– God is here, Love is here.

Love is here, through it all, in it all. Can we open to this? Can we let it in? Can we know and directly experience this?

When we refuse to exclude anything from Love’s home, then we are simply left to bear, as Love, all that Love includes. In simultaneous surrender and prayers for mercy, we are left to bear both the vast, annihilating abyss of unknown, as well as the infinite forms of life’s horrific and beatific expression.

We get to bear all of it: all our flawed humanity, and all our spacious, holy wholeness; all our ignorant mistakes, and breathtakingly innocent clarity. We get to bear the grief and the joy, the terror and the bliss. And this IS LIFE, loveable in all it so ruthlessly and deliciously includes; just as we ourselves are truly and permanently loveable in all we include.

At the heart of too much, at the heart of not enough, Love bears it all, forever.
Love bears it all, for Love.


Gods, Goddesses, & Starbeams of Love

Gods, Goddesses, & Starbeams of Love

Recently Arayla (10.5) and I went through her entire bedroom for the first time in years, clearing out clothes and de-cluttering toys and books that were no longer relevant for her rapidly transforming being. It was quite a task, and took over a week to complete. The final product was a truly different room~ clean, simple, mature, and current.

So it didn’t totally take me by surprise when Ezra (almost 7) announced to me several days ago: “Mom? You know my bedroom? It’s just not really feeling like ME these days.” Respectfully humored, I asked him: “Really? What do you think needs to change so it can feel more like YOU?”

Fully expecting him to come back with some pressing desire for new bedding, or a Star Wars poster, or something pertaining to skateboarding or martial arts, I was completely taken aback when he responded with utter certainty and serious clarity: “I think what I really need Mom? Is an ALTAR with some GODDESSES on it.”

Yes. You heard me. That is exactly what my fabulously masculine, intensely athletic, lego-starship-building, taekwondo practicing, 2-weeks-shy-of-7 year old son said: he needs “an altar with some goddesses on it.”

Without missing a beat, I said: “Really~ goddesses? What goddesses are you thinking of?” He shrugged, then said: “Oh, you know. Maybe Artemis? She’s pretty cool with her bow and arrows. Or Athena with her owl? Or maybe Aphrodite? Mmm, yes…” he smiled, with a far-away look in his eye, “I do like Aphrodite.”

I grinned at him, somehow miraculously containing my laughter.

I pressed further: “What about Gods? Would you like any Gods on this altar?” He thought for a moment, and then said: “Sure. Yes. Poseidon is really great~ you know, for protecting the oceans. Or maybe Ra? Or Apollo? The Sun Gods?” I asked him: “How did you learn about all these gods and goddesses?” He looked at me with a puzzled look, as though baffled I could be so dense, then responded: “Everybody knows about gods and goddesses, Mom.” Duh.

I hadn’t forgotten about this conversation, and as his 7th birthday is rapidly approaching, I’ve been flirting with the idea of actually creating such a God/Goddess altar for him as a gift. So this morning as we showered together, I said, nonchalantly: “So, um, Ezra? Of all the goddesses, who do you think is your favorite goddess?”

He was playing on the floor of the shower with some little playmobil knights. He said: “What do you mean? Like who is my FAVORITE goddess in the Whole World?” I nodded, relieved to sense we were going to narrow this down to a single goddess for the altar: “Yes~ who’s your favorite one?”

He was quiet for a moment, then looked up at me, beaming love, and said: “YOU ARE, Mom!” Then he looked down at his toys again, and, shaking his head, added jauntily: “Obviously!”

Rendered speechless by the immediacy of his devoted love, my tender Mama heart cracked open even wider, once again. Obviously.

What If Just Being Is Enough?

What If Just Being Is Enough?

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One day, not long ago, I woke in a tender mood. At once humbled and heartened by my own personal insignificance, I became aware of a subtle exhaustion welling up within me regarding any drive to succeed, to share, or to shine.

I could suddenly feel the long-honed impulse within me to speak, to write, to articulate my heart’s seeing, and a way it was very subtly entangled in shame. And let me tell you, this discovery took me by surprise!

Like so many of us, for some time I’ve been mysteriously compelled to bring forth my greatest gifts — with genuine care, and surrendered service to the heart of our world.

There is grace and humility in knowing that even if I give everything I came to give with this life — boldly, bravely, and with immense beauty — it will be but a single stroke of light across the sky of life: fleeting, impermanent, gone in a heartbeat.

Even in my most grandiose moments of self-imagining, I’ve always been aware that in the face of the glorious grandness of our universe, I am but a tiny speck of dust on fire. Yet in spite of this humbling perspective of relative insignificance, I’ve been truly called to serve.

At a certain point along the path of awakening and homecoming, many of us discover the secret of service. We discover that to generously share what is within us — to allow our unique voice, offering, and presence to somehow become medicine for the world — is in itself a kind of “saving grace,” alongside the very actualization we are most craving. As we surrender more and more to our authentic shining, we discover that this light we most deeply love? It becomes us.

And yet in these racing times, and particularly in this Western world, when it comes to sharing one’s gifts, there is so much attention given to the widely-desired phenomena of FAME, and the incessant connection between success and popularity; as in—How many “likes” did you get? How many “hits” to your site? Have you ever “gone viral?” How many “followers” do you have? What are your “ratings?” This is the realm of air-brushed “selfies”, of name-dropping, of coveted connections, best-sellers; where bigger is better, and more is always more.

And, while we can feel the underlying delusion and wounded presumption of scarcity inherent in this image-driven consciousness; the implication that we could never actually be enough — beautiful, popular, famous, wealthy, or successful enough— we might still feel in moments the conditioned urge to comply.

It is a tempting ladder to climb, following some promise of ultimate spiritual/cultural validation. To the cultural ego, we sense this level of worldly “success” could be the key to financial freedom and happiness. To the spiritual ego, it seems if we were to truly “make a difference” in the world, and be publically recognized for this, then our lives would really matter, right? And then perhaps we would finally be truly worthy and loveable.

On the other hand, when we realize the deepest truth of who we are, in being essentially free and untouched by any of this; when we can see from our “eagle vision” perspective the tiny, sacred blip of our lives playing upon the eternal screen of life, and know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our true worth, value and love-ability exists continuously and regardless of any form of expression, then the game changes, at once evolving our motive and our motivation.

From a place of innocently desiring to serve and offer our shining gifts to the world, it is genuinely inspiring to imagine engaging a much larger audience! There is nothing more gratifying to the cracked-open, awakened heart, than to be well-used by life. Personally I look forward to the possibility of one day being a published author of widely known books; a speaker who speaks to big crowds; humbly allowing this tiny life of “mine” to be fully used by Love in as big and bright a way as Love desires.

But as I was saying, the other day I woke in a tender mood, mysteriously aware of how my “drive to shine”, as it were, was still somehow entangled in shame.

What a surprise to see this: supposedly free and selfless shining — intertwined with shame?! As I tracked it I saw it was almost as if at a certain, subtle level I felt: I must speak, must write, and must do it well, so as to truly be worthy of this life. I must say what’s within me to be said, so as to become even more valuable to life.

I suddenly remembered an email I got from my beloved spiritual mother, Gangaji, last October, while I sat, haggard and hopeful by the bedside of my young daughter, intensely ill in the ICU. The email said simply: “Dearest Daughter, Please don’t try to be perfect. Just your being is enough.”

Just my being is enough. Really? You mean I don’t need to do it right? I don’t need to make some great “mark” on the world? I don’t need to win anyone’s approval? Just my being is enough? Wow — what a concept.

And so, on this recent tender morning, I sat with the question: What if nothing more needs to be said? What if it’s done; already more than enough? And I don’t need to utter another word? Don’t need to share another insight or revelation?

I could feel the terror around this possibility give way to deeper relaxation, to the beauty of stillness and silence that I love with all my heart and soul. I could feel the simple, holy truth and freedom in this — that truly, nothing more needs to ever be said.

I then had the thought: What if I only touched one other heart with this entire lifetime? Only one. Would it be any less significant, valuable, or beautiful a life, if I only touched one other heart?

What if our offering doesn’t need to be grand, in order to be true? What if it doesn’t need to speak to millions, or make us millionaires? Doesn’t need to be popular; or loved, or even liked?

What if it is never even seen or acknowledged by another soul? Would that make it less sacred somehow? Less true?

How would it feel if it was enough to simply let your heart, as it is — a glorious and fleeting work in progress— shine what it must, regardless of who else might be touched by the shining?

If our shining doesn’t validate our existence, nor make us feel useful or special, appreciated or loved; if it doesn’t give us fame or riches, power or security, romance or sex appeal? Then what? Would we still shine if shining didn’t give us anything in return?

What if simply BEING, in and of itself, is more than enough?

I believe it is, dear ones.
I believe you, as you are, are more than enough.

I believe that when not another word needs to be spoken, and then we speak, it is LOVE that speaks on our behalf.

I believe that when we let go of needing our shining, our true sharing of ourselves with life, to bring us anything in return, we become as the SUN, and everywhere we turn, we see life blooming.

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