Category Archives: Surrender

no more escaping

no more escapingMost peoples’ waking hours are spent trying to escape what is going on right now.

She’s impatient with her husband’s snoring; he wishes she wouldn’t leave water on the bathroom floor. We’re irritated because the boss walks by too often to check what’s on our monitor, or the weather is too chilly, or too humid. Or perhaps we are simply wishing that our vacation would begin, that our back would stop hurting, or that our bellies were flatter.

If we’re human, we’ve wished for life to be other than it is. Sometimes our desire to escape what is happening is subtle, but often, it is blatantly obvious.

Notice that what is happening right now is the unstoppable birthing of life, and because it is here–already–it is not escapeable. Wishing it were otherwise is the main way that we torture ourselves. Perhaps what is opening in our lives is painful. Welcome it–because it is what it is–and if the pull is there to make change, and change is possible, do so.

I remember right after my father collapsed and died of a massive heart attack, I had the urgent desire for time to stop–to somehow honor the moment, and give us a breath to adjust. But the next moment descended, and the next… and soon it had been two days since his death, and then two weeks, two years, two decades. A vast coming and going, this journey, all within the spacious aliveness of awaring.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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powerless – a long post

This post is about healing from childhood sexual abuse. It is not graphic. However, if this is a trigger for you, simply delete. The text begins below the photograph of me, taken at age six.

Rita at 6

Two years ago, during a counseling session, I broke down and wept with a depth that simply didn’t match the event that triggered the crying. My head was between my knees, and my nose and eyes were pouring. And BOOM! There was a clear visual  of what had happened fifty-nine or sixty years before–the person, the place, the event, the feelings of powerlessness, betrayal, fear, and the loss. I had been sexually abused around age five or six by someone who had worked for my parents, lived on the property, and had befriended me. This early experience significantly increased my sense of separation and feeling that life wasn’t safe.

I raised my head and stared at my counselor. “You knew, didn’t you,” I said.

“I suspected so,” she said, gently.

I felt so much gratitude to simply know the truth. Some puzzle pieces of my life clicked into place, and I felt whole, perhaps for the first time. There had been pointers, but without direct memory, I saw no reason in hanging on to them. For example, I used to be terrified when my parents left town and left us in the care of others–even after that particular couple no longer worked for our family. I never took baths, only showers, until we had a hot tub. I don’t like to wear dresses, and when someone asked me thirty years ago why, the response that fell out of my mouth was that I didn’t feel safe in dresses. News to me! That thought had never coalesced before.

When I arrived at the hospital this Wednesday to have a women’s-only procedure, waves of that old feeling of powerlessness rolled through. On a feeling level, dread–with all the attendant thought patterns stuck to it–settled in my body. Tears filled my eyes. Brought to a little cubicle to give up my clothes and don the gown (large enough to fit a four-hundred pound man), only made the dread stronger. I knew that my job was simply to welcome these decades-old feelings that had been tamped down for so long.

Then the intake nurse greeted my husband and me. I could feel her heart. After thoroughly reading my chart, she looked up and asked if I had any spiritual or religious beliefs or traditions that I wanted the hospital to know about, so they could make me feel more comfortable.

I met her gaze, and after a thoughtful pause replied, “I don’t know. This hospital might not have an understanding of my tradition–it’s not well known. I hold the non-dual view.”

The nurse broke into a wide smile. “I’ve been a Dzogchen practitioner for over twenty years,” she said.

“Those are some of my favorite readings!” I replied, stunned. (Dzogchen are the pinnacle non-dual teachings of Tibetan Buddhism) We had a fascinating conversation while she readied me, put in the I.V., and showed us how the “bear hug” warming gown worked. The gown, it turns out, is like a large hair dryer hood, with warm air flowing in. Wonderful not to be cold. It was hard to say goodbye to her, and the sense of loss of control only grew as my gurney was pushed down the long, fluorescent-lighted hallways.

Next, I met the anesthesiologist. In the past, I have not found people in this specialty to be particularly open-hearted, but this man broke the mold for me. We decided together, that because I have painful shoulders and a compressed low back, it would be best if I were still awake so I could position myself on the table. “Okay,” I said, “but I’m going to want valium in my I.V. I’m horribly anxious.” Tears rolled down my cheeks.

“I’m happy to do that for you as soon as we get in the operating room,” he said in a gentle tone.

The surgery staff–except for the anesthesiologist, were all women–including my surgeon, Jeannie Pflum. I briefly mentioned the old source of my dread, and did not apologize for the stream of tears. Jeannie spoke softly about how respectful they are, keeping the body covered whenever possible during surgery. Every step of the way, I was met with deep kindness and care. One nurse wiped my tears. They allowed me the dignity, little step by little step, to meet these old feelings fully. Once met, they washed out of long-term storage in the body, and away.

Old patterning, finally released. Grateful. Very grateful.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013

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can’t hide

hide-and-seekThere is a strong misconception that thrives in many spiritual communities—that our imperfections are somehow wrong, that we are aiming to be perfect.

This is not the truth; we could not possibly hide from our humanness, nor should we. Each imperfection is a perfectly acceptable aspect of the ground of all-that-is. Since it takes everything, without exception, to make up the whole (which is not a thing, even though we would like to reify it), then everything that we think of as imperfection is actually the perfection-of-the-whole.

Separation is not possible. Sit for a moment and truly feel that. Separation is not possible. We want to make ourselves special—uniquely qualified to be separated out, to be either less worthy, or better than someone else. But either stance is a form of arrogance—thinking we are something special—not a bad thing, but not the truth. If we want to end personal suffering, we must see though every one of those constructs and allow them to wash out, in a figurative sense. When seen to be not the truth, then unsupported by our belief in them, they fall away like any habit that no longer serves.

Most of my adult life—ever since the anorexic model, Twiggy, was so popular in the late 1960’s—I’ve thought that my body is mildly overweight, and viewed my earth-suit in a degrading way because of that separating thought. Arrogance. Simple arrogance. I still can get briefly caught by this—even though, when I trace a thought all the way back, I find no source of thought, no ownership of it, either. It has as much reality as a rainbow—yet, the groove is a deep one. Each time the thought arises, I pause long enough to see through the pattern, and it falls away. Each time the thought shows up, it has less strength than the time before. Notice, trace it back until it falls away. No grasping on to it, no hiding behind it.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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unbolted – a different kind of grace

rollercoasterI remember the day that my belief systems unbolted and fell away, never to return. What a moment of grace–but that was not my experience then.

Anger flared first–anger that I had wasted decades looking in all the wrong places. Then came, what now? Now, how do I live? The years since–that occurred in September or October of 2009–have been the steepest rollercoaster. I have learned to hold my hands up to the sky and holler, barreling down one steep hill and clattering up the next.

Unlearning has momentum! Are you ready?

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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surrender

hummingbird wingersizingThe ultimate surrender is the loosening for death, but allowing yourself to be anesthetized and going under the knife is close, in my book.

Today is a day of surrender. Actually, every day is a day of surrender–we allow ourselves to forget that. Who knows if I will wake up? In the large scheme of things, it simply doesn’t matter. I suppose the likelihood is that I will, but likelihoods are no longer a part of my belief system.

I have preferences–the parenting gene is still strong, and my son needs my encouragement this year. I’d like more time with my sweet partner. Writing here energizes me. The hummingbird babies on the live cam I’m watching haven’t fledged yet–although they are “wingercizing” regularly now, and are bright little alert birds. It would be fun to see them whiz off.

So I’ll say, “see you on the other side.” For convention’s sake. Whatever side that is.
Love to you all.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2013
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nurse hat retired

Rowanlea’s Soulful Maggie
02-26-2007 to 07-18-2012

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the nurse hat

Here’s Maggie at sixteen weeks.

She turned a health corner last night. Her wounds, either from a poisonous spider bite or staph toxins from a puncture wound–we will never know for sure–are scary. I won’t show them here–too graphic for most–but they involve her butt and her right back leg, and partial skin loss on both. (The toxins drained down the leg.)

Now I wear the nurse hat. Everyone agrees that this dog is far too alive to euthanize, even though her recovery will take endurance on her part, and a great deal of human attention.

My job is to remain in the present without preference, and simply serve. This is our life right now, and it’s a wonderful reminder and teaching for us. Although I do most of the medical procedures, I couldn’t do this without my husband, who provides fabulous and steady backup, and helps hold this very large dog who is getting her strength back. Mostly, she simply accepts our ministrations with the gentle attitude you see in her eyes in the picture, even when it clearly hurts. She has never even whimpered. What a role model. In her own presence with what is, she amazes and teaches me.

Our days:

  • Wound cleaning: four times a day, then a walk in the yard, and passive leg exercises for her injured leg
  • Sub-cutaneous fluids: (given under the skin of her neck) twice a day
  • Antibiotic injections: twice a day
  • Force-feeding five times a day (actually a gentle process, and this morning she lapped a little blended food)
  • Bed changes four times a day because of the open wounds
  • and tons and tons of towel laundry.

See the length of her tail at sixteen weeks? Imagine how long it is now, as a full-grown adult! Her tail is shaved from the top to within ten or twelve inches of the end; her whole right hind leg is shaved. She is quite the sight–but of course has none of the self-consciousness that we humans suffer from.

Please, keep sending us breaths of good will. We aren’t out of the woods yet, but right now, she is improving.

© Amrita Skye Blaine, 2012

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