Lightening Up, If Just for a Moment
Writing for my Writing Group 1/18/14…
So Moments Worth Remembering is the topic for our January 18th Writing group. As soon as the topic was assigned last month I started keeping track of such times. On the first day the memorable moments included: 1) Pat’s and my 2-hour coffee time diving deeply into the topic of love, eros, and sex in our relationship. 2) 3-hours reflecting on said coffee time and developing a suitably sanitized yet honest sharing of this time with Pat in my blog. 3) An hour-long significant, deeply personal, and meaningful conversation with my son concerning life, 4) A 90-minute coaching session with a friend concerning his career and possible directions he could consider. What I noticed in this very first day was that with this topic “Moments Worth Remembering” in mind it seemed that everything in my life that first day was worth remembering – and savoring and appreciating!
The next day the list included 1) 90-minute coffee time with Pat, 2) During my 90-minute exercise program I listened to a segment of a 24-hour recording series by Zen Buddhist Adyashanti. Adyashanti made these recordings during a 6-day retreat he led in April 2013. It was titled Jesus – The Teachings of a Revolutionary Mystic. I have been deeply impacted by Adyashanti’s teachings on Jesus, drinking them in, my heart resonating and coming to life with a, “Yes! Yes! Yes! This certainly is a way to engage with Jesus Christ that works for me.” And my experience of this material has found its way into my blog series on Jesus Christ. 3) Pat and I invited a neighbor in for an evening of wine and sharing. All the conversation centered on matters spiritual – very lively, deep and engaging. So day-2, like day-1, was again filled with so much that was worth remembering and pondering.
And the next day was again full, including coffee time with Pat, 90-minute coffee with brother Paul – always rich with matters familial and spiritual – and a 2-hour mentoring session over lunch for two hi-tech PhD business owners along with a professor friend from the University of Cincinnati business college. Three days into working with this writing topic and I was amazed at just how rich and memorable my moment-by-moment life is. Thanks to whoever came up with topic!
I stopped keeping track after three days and knew somehow there would be enough to write about when the time came. And today the time came. The past ten days have been a particularly peak time in Pat’s and my relationship. Our most recent couples counseling session with Sage and Anthony, a week ago this past Wednesday, was profound – diving into just how unaware I am of how Pat’s and my hearts connect and yet how starved I am and have been my entire life for the nurturance of my soul in an experience of Union. I have been starving for connection with others all the while not aware that I was swimming in an ocean of love coming at me from Pat and from so many others, and even coming from within my own heart, though that inner place of love is particularly difficult for me to see and accept. This past Wednesday we listened to the recording we had made of our couple’s session the previous week. In listening we could hardly believe the depth we had reached a week earlier. This listening was followed by two extremely consequential 2-hour coffee times on Thursday and Friday mornings. As our second coffee time ended Friday I was on fire, excited, and inspired. I shared with Pat that I could see putting together a major writing “work,” a three-part substantial blog entry concerning these adventures and discoveries, and that the third one could in fact be my writing for the writing group on Saturday. Yes, I was inspired!
Some background. This inspiration for a substantial three-section blog entry on these phenomenal relational experiences came in part from having listened these past few weeks to a wonderful Teaching Company course on the works of Beethoven. (Listening to these Beethoven recordings has followed listening to Adyashanti material for my exercise program.) I augmented this Beethoven course by reading parts of a 1927 book by J.W.N Sullivan titled Beethoven – His Spiritual Development, material from which I had prepared a blog entry earlier in the week. Beethoven’s commitment was to revealing the entire range of his inner emotions through his music. Sullivan pointed out how Beethoven went through three major spiritual stages in his 56-year life of spiritual development, quite rare for an individual. Beethoven transcended his earlier spiritual stages and yet could include emotions from his earlier life – a kind of Wilberian “transcend and include.” I could easily get on Beethoven’s page in wanting to reveal my own spiritual development, seeing that my own ride has been profound in many ways. This intention “to reveal” is, after all, what motivates my blog on some level.
But then the time came to actually put words to paper for the Writing Group. It felt as if I was in a manic state going into this writing. However, I quickly saw this approach to my writing would be over-the-top of anything in the spirit of our sharing. In my writing 2 pages for the writing group I wasn’t trying to compose a movement from a Beethoven symphony or a scene from Dante’s Divine Comedy!
I looked at my earlier list of “moments worth remembering” for this writing, and I saw the intensity and seriousness my “remembered moments” represented. Yes Pat and I eat up all this good stuff, but I could also see that perhaps I was out of balance – perhaps I have been too intense in my approach to life. But on the other hand, intense is who I am, and I find joy in my intensity. Beethoven was certainly intense and was focused exclusively on his art, in part due to his isolation from others imposed by his hearing loss, which began in his mid twenties. Sullivan says of Beethoven, “His experiences took root and grew. An inner life of quite extraordinary intensity was in process of development till the very end.” In short, Beethoven did not level out as he lived out his life but rather kept reinventing himself. And he let that ever-changing self be felt and experienced by others through his music. Sullivan adds that Beethoven was prophetic in the sense that what he was communicating in his music came from states of consciousness beyond those experienced by his listeners.
But for the Writing Group let me give up the “epic poem” I was considering and simply share, as I have here, how this topic opened my eyes – letting me see the richness of my life, letting me enjoy my intensity and seriousness without apology, and yet helping me to slow down a bit and take time to open my heart to be ever more fully present to Pat and those others who make up my very rich community. But of course these heart-opening experiences of love and connection will be profound in their own right and, because of who I am, will lead to more writing. It’s all part of who I am. I can be light, but it seems only for a moment.
Shared in love, Gary