Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kiss My Grits

When I was young, I thought success and fame would lead to fulfillment. I was so good at the getting game that I lived my dreams and achieved my life goals by the time I was 25. Many people hit bottom and are forced to find a better way, but I hit top and found the world of power, a grand home, country club membership, and travel were not the solutions they promised to be. It was a time of great crisis. I was empty and miserable. Finally, I surrendered. I couldn’t figure out how to make my life meaningful and I couldn’t do anything to make things right. I just gave up, and some part of my ego flat-lined long enough for me to have an awakening. I lived in some kind of heaven on earth for months.

In my naiveté, I thought my life would never be the same and that heretofore every life experience would be underpinned by that peace that passes understanding. Little did I realize that experience was to give me insight into a mystical state of consciousness that would see me through some of the toughest times of my life.

I eventually got divorced; maybe that was the problem--an unhappy marriage. I was shocked by the depth of my despair after my divorce; my husband had been such a big part of my life. I remarried on the rebound with tears that were still wet on my face. My small nest egg was swiftly depleted by a less than honorable second husband. I found that not having enough money to meet life’s demands was even more frightening than the emptiness I experienced when I had plenty of money.

The man I married was a compulsive liar. He lied about little things and I could never figure out whether I was standing on the ground or in quicksand. I couldn’t believe he would lie to me. He was such a master at weaving fact and fantasy, that I couldn’t tell the difference. I began to doubt reality, because I was desperate to believe his lies. I made myself wrong in order to make him right. I almost went crazy. I ran the numbers and figured that if I really went crazy, it would be so expensive, I might never get out of the hole. Finally, in a fit of sanity and self-preservation, I divorced him.

Then came many years of life experience, relationships, travel, a thirst for spiritual truth, and a journey that continues. I’ve done more in my life and with my life than I ever expected to do. I look back and can’t believe the experiences I’ve had and that I have touched the face of love again and again. Life has become a friend that holds my hand and comforts me.

Waking up was not a guarantee of a perfect life; it was the door that opened the understanding not to take life so personally. Tragic events come and go, wonder and happiness come and go, but all these events were external to me because who and what I am cannot be defined by events. Events are the toys on the playground of life, but they are not life itself. This insight was not apparent at the time. I had to grow into it. And grow I did.

This was my life, and what I’m sharing is not a prescription for anyone’s life. I just want to mention that life was not what I planned it to be, it was not what I expected it to be, but through some twist of fate, it was and is better than my expectations. Events in life are not life itself, and the more I’ve come to understand that, the easier it’s been to appreciate the magnitude and fortune of my life. There’s an old saying, “Enlightenment is just a recognition, not a change at all.” And as I’ve recognized what is really present, I find myself at the starting place of my journey. The difficult and joyful events in life were stepping stones that took me back home. They were the grit in my "grail" and the thread in my life’s tapestry. The grit is still here, but I don’t have to sweep it under the carpet anymore. I can add it to my garden and it will soon support a flower or tree. I guess you could say I’ve learned to “kiss my grits,”and, as Robert Frost would say, and that has made all the difference.