Wednesday, June 3, 2015

You can’t unring a bell.

I awoke at midnight. It had been a busy day. By the end of my time at work, I was having word-find difficulty. Counseling looks easy, I think to myself. But right now, it feels like a kind of marathon.

It is rewarding to see clients express new-found epiphanies, others continue the hard work of moving through difficult content.

Coming home, I was hot and tired after sitting in a small stuffy room  on the second floor of a mid-1900's Cape Cod-style house. The bathroom is probably bigger than my counseling room. I bring my own water because the kitchen sink's plumbing doesn't want to drain.

Dinner with Partner was at 8:30 p.m. A blessed time of eating on the patio before the mosquitoes started nibbling at our ankles.

Maybe I need to pray for a client or my family or the world. Maybe I should go outside and meditate under the night sky. Maybe I could roll over and go back to sleep. But I can’t.

The night before last, Partner and I were tired when we finally caught up with each other. Another late night. Struggling with the confluence of past decisions and the repercussions now, we tried to talk it out. We are old enough to know that at 10 p.m., nothing good is going to come out of this attempt to problem solve. So we headed off to bed.

This led to difficulty settling down. We couldn't keep our hands off each other. Soon childhood memories were expressed  - of the times we slept with our respective siblings and got into trouble. For Partner, mom would holler from her bedroom. For me, dad would holler from his bedroom. But our memories diverge from there. 

I had a strong memory of terror once the Daddy Dragon had been aroused. He would get up, march/stomp angrily to our bedroom. The covers would be ripped off. We would get  pulled around or half-lifted out of bed and received his rage-fueled spankings. No Daddy, we would beg. I would beg. Wouldn’t it have been great if I could have kept my hands to myself?

I kept this to myself, but asked Partner if his mom ever got up and punished him. Sure, and I deserved it, he said.

Is this one of differences between mother/son and father daughter relations? Mom’s punishments weren’t so threatening? Dad’s force could tear you to shreds. I kept these thoughts to myself, too. But I couldn’t shake the embodied memories of dad’s spankings and the terror.

Partner rolled over and went to sleep. I got up and journaled – about other things. But not that.

Lately, I’ve noticed I have been shuddering. You know, the involuntary sudden shivering that has nothing to do with being cold. Partner said I’ve always done that. But I am more aware of it right now. My colleague noticed me doing it while talking about a family situation. She was encouraging – good, get it out. Shaking helps move energy through the body.

Tonight, I know that I want to meditate outside, but I am afraid. Afraid of the dark. Afraid of snakes. I saw two dead black snakes on the road today. A copper head was killed last week at my parent’s farm. The snake in my mind is all wrapped up in reptilian fear.

I’m not excited about the healing metaphor of the snake’s regeneration and shedding of the skin, etc. It’s the bite I’m afraid of. And, I wish it weren’t so.

I am remembering another ringing bell.

The sweet chiming of the beginning and end of the sangha's (meditation group) time together. We ring the bell to start our practice time together. We ring the bell to end our practice time together. We ring the bell before we dedicate our practice time to all living beings - no short-cuts, no dividing into good/bad, important/insignificant, no splitting or mincing generosity.

No matter where I am, they are with me, too. And, it has been the causes and conditions of my life that brought me to them.

And, may my father and all aggressors including me, be a recipient of that merit, too.

This is a bell I don't want to unring.