resisting the muck

“He was not interested in spirituality as a form of escape. He was training people to become ‘sacred warriors’ — not so that they could do battle with others but so that they could develop the kind of courage one needs to be kind and happy and radically alive in the midst of the world. There is no dry land, he said; there is only fearlessnes, which is to be found in the heart. This is the path to freedom.”

I just re-found across this quote from Elizabeth Lesser describing the Buddhist teacher Chögyam Trungpa. I needed it today. Reading this now, I am tapping into the words RADICALLY ALIVE, FEARLESSNESS, HEART, and FREEDOM. I am remembering the part in me that is feral. I am standing by the ocean, its roar washing over me, drowning out the voice in my head: You are not enough, not enough, not enough…

I had some tough news yesterday – news of a violation of implicit trust, news that someone I’d hoped might be a bigger person is, after all, trying to bring me down. Down into the mud of shame.  I spent all last night down there – sinking far into the muck, believing every last bad thing about myself while also shuddering in disbelief at this person’s cruelty.

Today – cloudy and cold, yes, but a new haircut on my head, a kale and olive salad in my belly that was prepared for me by my sweet partner, a pot of spicy molé chili on the stovetop filling the house with the aroma of pepper and chocolate. Today – I am breathing into my heart center, remembering what I’ve done and where I’ll go. Remembering that this particular muck does not need to be mine.

“Stay in the energy of your path bringing you to who and where you are today. Don’t let this rendition of the past alter your growth from it.” This text message came across the screen of my phone, directly from my friend who is at Kripalu now, that space and place where I grew so much, the place and space in which I connected daily with fearlessness. A place that reminds me — even thousands of miles from it — to be radically alive. Thank you,  Mary. Thank you, Chris. Thank you, Swami K. Thank you, Elizabeth Lesser and Chögyam Trungpa.


10 thoughts on “resisting the muck”

  1. Interesting timing. I know precisely how you feel, and face the same challenge of self-care when the muck rises. I always try to remember, what would you say to a loved one who felt this way?
    The person who caused the muck is sad, likely. You, on the other hand, will rise. Thank goodness for that.

  2. Love you, and so glad that you have other good people there to love and support you too.

    In keeping with the Quaker tradition, I’ll be holding you in the light, Jen!

  3. Hang in there Jen, this too will pass, this funny muddy crazy time… no dry land, yes I can relate to that one tonight, too!
    you will move on through it, are moving through it now.

    go well, we’re all thinking of you with strength and balance,

    and good humour somehow as well!

  4. Big hug your way. No fun to have your knees knocked from beneath you, but I trust in your strength to reclaim balance. Another big hug.

  5. Thank you. I can’t tell you what a tonic your comments are. I am struggling a bit to remember that one person’s opinion of me, no matter how publicly shared, is not everyone’s, nor that it will matter to many people. Words like “fierce” and “authentic” and phrases like “stay on the path” are really helping to focus me. Again, thank you for your love and support from near and far!

  6. Jen, this post, like the many of your posts and like the last three or four especially, really got me in the gut. I feel like tattooing your words across my arms so I can read them throughout the day, these completely grounded, earthy reminders of what’s important. I love how in this one, it really doesn’t matter what the muck is–we can all still choose to stay on our paths. Not easy, to be sure, but going down into the muck ain’t a joyride, either.

    Love to you–and remember, I am also publicly sharing THIS: I consider you a wise woman in my life, a tonic and a visionary and a fellow human striving for good, and you and your work are enormously good and valuable!

  7. I echo the comments of your other friends and readers: you are already in the energy of your path, you are so clearly and beautifully on it, and no one else’s cruelty or thoughtlessness or version of events can take that away, friend! Believe it, it radiates in your words and being.

  8. Dearest Jennifer,

    Don’t know if you’ll remember me at all…but just this morning for reasons I cannot imagine or articulate, I said to my husband that I was thinking about you and wondering how you were doing. My husband so loved working with your father. Then as I researched some sites today for our upcoming events and projects, I found your site and the answer to my question: you are well, and your children, community and friends are all the better for your many gifts. I do not believe in coincidences. I think our paths will cross again.

    Linda Bendorf

  9. Just catching up with blogs and emails, and joining the chorus is sending you belated un-mucking, which it seems like you are handling with such grace and awareness. Sometimes simply breathing through it is the most important thing, which sounds so trite when I type it but true when I remember (and do!) it. One other thing, which came up at the last new moon circle last Sunday night… a song that has been haunting me since: “I will believe the truth about myself, no matter how beautiful it is…” A simple and compelling tune and chant, and maybe you’ve heard the song–I wish I could sing it to you now, because it’s become my mantra since it started to haunt me last week. The muck is always there, and may it be transformed by the strength and compassion with which you are infusing the world you touch. Standing with you…

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