Back to work…
My day started at 2:30 AM again. I did get 4 1/2 hours of sleep so, that’s something worth celebrating. My body threatened only once to go back to sleep, but that was around 6:30 AM and the 30 seconds or so of dream arising out of the random thought turned out to be more smoke than fire.
Caitlin arrived near 8 AM, mirroring my state of a tired, delirium edged, wakefulness almost perfectly. She’s been running six day work weeks for a couple of months now and I think it’s starting to catch up to her, I think she’s said as much herself. Nonetheless, she enters the threshold to my room each morning on Fridays and Saturdays with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye. Today was no different.
My time of non-sleep was not wasted, I tended somewhere from 60 to 90 minutes of meditation, took in the BBC morning news hour, listened to a book chapter, and managed a few email – all of this between 15 to 20 minute stints of lying flat in search of sleep.
A gentle rain fell through the morning offering soothing consolation to my fruitless search.
I made it to the monitors (my two windows into the digital world of work and correspondence) just before 10 AM, aware that I was feeling a little behind in my work from the previous two days restlessness and sacred dialogues. I don’t harbor much, if any, tension for being “behind” in work. 17 years as a quadriplegic has taught me well that time is not always on our side and we can nonetheless persist to fruitful generosity though the path may not always look as we had imagined at the outset.
I started the day darting about from one little fire to another, extinguishing them as I went, glancing again and again at the calendar, double booked and triple booked for most of the pending day. I breathed the stillness as I worked, allowing the schedule to reveal its wisdom to me and there at the noon hour, clarity arrived.
Monday I had written the first pages of what is to be the clarified and formal invitation to launch our MettaCare initiative beyond our four walls and into the San Diego region. As a dear friend with vastly more experience in these matters than I is graciously guiding me on this path, I sent him the additional write up and his exquisitely written critique with notes and encouragement had been cooking in my inbox since Thursday.
I cleared the schedule and dropped into my rewrite.
After an hour or so I stepped back to take a breath and found myself quite in awe of how easy it is to stay busy chasing little fires, and how profoundly much generous creativity can flow forth when we give ourselves permission to focus on the things we are passionate about. Of course I say “we,” I really don’t know if it’s that way for others, I suspect it is, it certainly always have been for me. Today I guess I was just really noticing the contrast.
I spent the bulk of the day focused on that writing effort, feeling filled with joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude every inch of the way. Caitlin came through with salad partway in and with a little nudge I took a few moments to sit back, enjoy the ecstatic flavors of lunch and watch the birds flitting through the tree just outside the window.
Back to the work I felt focused and on an edge of capacities I’m excited to develop. Continuing to lean in, the work just flowed out. Courtney arrived just before three as I was in the home stretch of what I hope will be a satisfactory edit, in the eyes of my guide that is – I’m quite pleased and rather optimistic for the response.
Finishing that and noting that I still had a few good hours of daylight on the clock, I checked once more the calendar, still a little overbooked for the remainder of the day and discovered the next item of import wasn’t even on the schedule. I moved the pending appointments over the threshold of the week into next and opened a new entry for today’s late afternoon… “Artwork,” it simply said.
“Gate, Gate, Paragate, Para Sam gate Bodhi svaha” reads the Heart Sutra.
I have heard it described this way: awareness gone beyond discursive thought, gone beyond the ideological construct of self, gone beyond time itself, there the realization, how profound…
In the teachings, this has been described as the successive basis of operation, or place from which awareness is perceived.
When I heard this description, a certain image had crafted itself in my imagination. Every few years or so it seems I have the good fortune to be gifted with some image clear enough to recall and to carry with me until such time as I can bring it to life with the digital paintbrushes afforded me by the wonders of technology.
I have a few of these traveling with me of late and this afternoon I was able to bring one of them home to the screen. I’ve been working on it a while, but today with just an hour’s devotion I was able to bring it to the place of readiness for the printer. As it is, the printer is a production in its own right and that will take another time with extra hands and that feeling of spaciousness to allow a few hours to pass in the creative effort where I’m not feeling the sense of some looming deadline to distract me.
When I’ve created these digital works, I’ve held largely unwavering to a principal of allowing them only to be seen beyond my desk display when they had materialized on actual paper or canvas as a work for the world. I do occasionally fancy that one day I might have enough pieces and printed to my satisfaction to display somewhere I could invite others to see.
It’s nice to write that out loud here and have the words reflected back to me. Feels like it almost brings it just a little closer to a practical manifestation. For now, the printer waits, likely on the other side of much work to be done to approach the privilege of that generous act.
Outside, the world continues to go generally mad, while here in the northern hemisphere on this small corner of a continent spring continues its steady shuffle forward. A strong, cool breeze gives the trees the appearance of dancing in the lazy afternoon sunlight. Not quite the golden hour perhaps, but a certain radiance is beginning to emerge.
Much to be done. Nothing to be done. Sleep tonight, I pray. Back to work loving the world tomorrow.
Thanks again, Tyler, for being the angel on my shoulder reminding me always that it’s okay to receive. In that spirit, dear reader, feel free to pop over to my fundraising page, as of this writing we are just over 50% to the goal and it’s already paying dividends! Jump in, it’s worth it!
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…