Thursday, February 23, 2012

"Whose Camp?" Revisited

This is a re-post of something I wrote about a year ago. It's a topic that's been coming up in conversation recently so . . .

We are given this one “wild and precious” life. (Regardless of whether you believe in past or future lives, I’d say that this one is wild and precious).  It surprises me, then, how easy it is to focus on other people’s lives and what they are doing or not doing, what they could or should be doing or how things could be if only they would have been doing, or seeing, or understanding, or listening, or . . . It is surprisingly easy and even entertaining to see other people’s issues and come up with the appropriate – and obvious – resolutions.

And all the while, our own lives and issues and choices remain unattended to.  It is impossible to ponder and contemplate other people’s lives while paying close enough attention to our own.  There is no one left manning our own camp which sits lonely, abandoned and neglected.

So I ask, whose camp are you in? Where do you spend most of your time, in your own camp or in someone else’s? And if you’re in someone else’s, has another person stepped in to manage yours?  If so, how is that working out?

“Camp” is defined as a “temporary structure used on an outing or vacation”, which could be a quite adequate description of life. Our light bodies are given a physical body for this temporary human existence.  Interesting that another definition of the word “camp” references battle and battlefields and a group of troops.  I suppose that we have the option – the daily option, or even the moment-to-moment option – of making life a pleasant vacation-like experience or a constant struggle, battling everything around us and, oftentimes, ourselves.

A well cared-for camp would provide the sense and feeling that everything needed is available. Right here. I feel secure because I know that I have everything that I need.  If things feel a little vacant or lacking, it’s up to me to make the repairs and make my camp as welcoming and comforting as I can.  It is amazing what pure, positive attention can do to bring warmth and transformation.

After all, this is my one wild and precious life.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


S C R E A M I N G. . . . .. LOUD. PRIMAL. RAW. ETERNAL. IT’S VASTNESS AND PAIN OVERWHELMS. It takes everything, every bit of available energy not to bolt, run, as fast and as furious as possible. And I do bolt. I hide in projects, in obsessions, in organizing, in food, in friendships. I run. The problem is that it doesn’t make the

S C R E A M I N G .   .  .  .

stop. It’s endless. Relentless. I finally stop and realize that I’m exhausted from the energy of avoidance. I decide to quit. I sit. I try to remember to breathe but my annoyance makes my breaths short and shallow. My own scream rises from the depths of me.


Which only makes that sound of raw, desperate pain louder.

“Geez, have you always been wailing so? I can’t imagine that you’ve always been this, uh, blaringly loud.”

She stops, shocked to hear any un-screamed words directed her way. She sits, alert, a skeptical look in her eyes.

She begins timidly, “Yeah, I mostly wail. I’m not sure why that would surprise you, though.”

I have a vague sense that I know her, that we’ve met before. I try to find the memory. She watches me in utter amazement.

“Wow,” her head shaking slowly. “You seriously don’t remember.”

I start to say that there’s something familiar or that my memory is just not great, or something but then find myself completely disoriented. I know that I’m still sitting on my couch, in my living room. I can still hear the wind rustling the blinds and can feel the cool fall breeze on my arms. But I’m here and not here. What had started to feel like panic has opened into something impossible to describe. It’s familiar, so familiar that I find I have tears running down my cheeks. It’s home. That’s what it feels like. Home. Oh my God, I’ve missed this. I take a few breaths, taking it in. I realize that my heart feels wide open and, as I notice how my heart feels, I feel it opening even wider, like a fully blossomed rose. I don’t know how long I rest in this before remembering that I had been communicating with the Screamer when time seemed to have stopped.

I look for her for a slight instance and then I feel my body smiling.

“You’re me!” And I laugh out loud and can sense her (me) laughing too.

“You’re my darkness, my fears. You’re all the things that I push away. You carry all the scary memories from my whole life. You’ve always felt so separate from me. I’m having trouble grasping what’s going on.”

And then my own voice but not my own voice said, or perhaps it was just a knowing that wafted in from nowhere or from everywhere, I am home and can never really leave. From this perspective, even the darkest and scariest thoughts and memories fill me with wonder and amazement. Humanity is wondrous. I remember my most painful experiences as though they were other flavors to taste in a wide spectrum of flavors. I know, too, that I have yet to experience some truly blissful “flavors”. I am wonderfully overwhelmed with gratitude.

My cat jumps up on the couch and rubs up against my arm. I am in my living room. My body feels profoundly relaxed. I look for the Screamer, smiling. I know that little time has passed yet something is fundamentally different.

“So flavors, huh?” She finds me.

“Yeah, that’s what it felt like, even the really scary stuff. In that place, it all seemed – I don’t know – valuable and important. Like I wouldn’t be me if all of it hadn’t happened.”

“That’s true. You know that eventually I might start screaming again, right?”

I nod, staying with her this time. “I’m sure I’ll forget but maybe we can help each other remember.”