January 11, 2024
Was it Pascal who said “Almost all our misery has come from not being able to remain alone in our rooms”? Baudelaire thought it might have been, but was not sure. ~ Matthew Sweeney, Alone
It’s a heartbreakingly beautiful morning. Are other parts of the world as gorgeous as Santa Barbara in January? I should be out there, appreciating the cerulean blue sky, the riotously blooming fuchsia arborescence, the crows squabbling on the roof.
There’s many things that should be, but aren’t. Only a minuscule slice of the universal pie is under my (illusory) control. My own actions. My thoughts. Even feelings, to some extent. The rest of it…
And yet, I persist in believing that everything would settle peacefully within my own sphere of skin, if only things out there would cooperate. It’s difficult to be carefree when family members insist on having health emergencies. As I was brushing our cat Fluffy this morning, giving him TLC since he’s in one of his miserable digestive episodes, my hand kept moving the brush as I murmured encouragement, but in another segment of reality, the clock stopped ticking forward.
For just a moment, I wordlessly understood my blessed aloneness; that he was not me. The same way I’m beginning to intuit that Brownie, the diabetic cat, is not me when I gently insert the tiny needle to inject insulin. His illness is not mine.
As much as I want his diabetes to go into permanent remission, as much as I want to take away Fluffy’s misery, their experience is not mine to have. And for just that moment, I understood that things don’t have to be the way I want them to be out there for me to feel a bit of peace in here.
Do other realms experience this paradoxical reality? Spiritually, soul level, we likely know that while the self may appear to have boundaries—the border delineated by skin (or perhaps our energetic bodies)—there is no end of “me” and beginning of “other.”
The paradox is that while everything surely is One on the deepest level, the individual little snippets of One that are scattered like so much confetti throughout the universal soup are experiencing separate lives.
I feel like I’m trying to separate the fine silk threads from an enormously intricate tapestry, seeking the one purple or lavender glimmer that represents me. And, finding that glimmer, inhabit the experience it offers. Alongside me are woven the threads of my current Earth family. We may interweave, but their threads do not dissolve into mine, or vice versa.
At least, not on Earth, not in this present reality.
Fluffy has retreated under a chair, where he’ll likely spend the day. Brownie appears completely recovered from his recent hospital ordeal, sitting in the sun, eyes closed, needing nothing from me.
It’s a bit of a miracle that I can regard Fluffy’s misery without completely entwining with it, spending the day slightly heartsick, wondering if this time, he won’t recover…imagining the hollow aching emptiness of the hunger he’s enduring.
I should probably do chores before beginning today’s round of taking care of others. Or I could see where my tapestry thread wishes to lead. Right now it’s pulling me toward the blossoms of the fuchsia arborescence. The wind flutters the leaves, or perhaps the fairies are having a little party among the blooms. I feel them extending an invitation. Come, come. Let go of what you think you must do. And do that which your heart yearns for.
I drape my cloak of responsibility on a handy chair and head out the door. The sun sparkles brighter than diamonds. Is there anyplace more beautiful than Santa Barbara on a brilliant winter morning? Only Lothlórien, perhaps.