On geodes and cracks and God

Leonard Cohen says – “There is a crack in everything. / That’s how the light gets in.”

geode2

The Gospel tells us –
A man who was deaf and had a speech impediment was brought there by a person who begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man and heal him.

Jesus led him away from the crowds so he could heal him privately. He put his fingers in the man’s ears, spat, and then touched the man’s tongue. He then looked up to heaven, sighed deeply, and said in Aramaic “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”) The man was instantly freed from his afflictions and was able to see and speak perfectly.

He ordered the crowd to not tell anyone about what had happened, but the more he ordered them, the more they spread the news. They were amazed and told everyone “He does everything well! He even makes deaf people hear and cures people of being unable to speak!”

MK 7:31-37 (From The Condensed Gospel rendition)

geode1
The outside is boring and dull on a geode. There is nothing special to see. But when you crack it open, there is amazing beauty inside. This is how God sees us – beautiful on the inside. God sees what others cannot. Also, I find it excellent to mediate on the fact that you can’t see the beauty until this rock has been broken open. It is the trials that we undergo that bring out our true nature.

What is this thing?

Halfway into the second day of Circle facilitator training, one of the three ladies who were there involuntarily finally said “What is this thing we are doing?” They were sent there by their boss. They’d never been through the Circle process. They had no idea what it was all about, and they were sent to learn how to do it.

Learning how to do it when you already have been through it is still crazy-making. It is hard enough for me and I’ve been in a lot of Circle experiences. I feel like I’ve just been given my driver’s license and now I’m expected to take a vanload of kids to Memphis to see Graceland. I don’t have a map. I don’t have a van. I don’t even know where to get gas. But I’ve taken a class, and I have a certificate – so off we go, right?

No, not really. But it is a start. Just like with driving, you really can’t learn how to do it until you do it. And then you do it some more. And you’ll probably get into an accident on the way. You might have a fender bender. You might run over a curb. You might hit a squirrel.

Hopefully nobody gets taken to the hospital – and that includes you.

But part of the Circle process is trusting it, and staying with it. Part of it is not rescuing other people either. Part of that was, for me, not explaining it to them in their frustration and confusion. They had to figure it out for themselves.

We kept coming back to a Guideline – “Trust the Process”. How can you trust something you don’t understand?

The process is about listening and speaking, and being real. It is an entirely different way to communicate – not only with other people, but with yourself.

It is really hard.

I felt I couldn’t tell them what was going on. I remember what it was like for me for my first Circle. It wasn’t called that. It was a Dialogue in Diversity class, and the topic was religion. Turns out, the topic was just an excuse. The topic was something to get us to learn how to listen to each other. We were there to learn dialogue versus debate. We were there to speak our truths, and listen to others speak their truths, and be OK with the fact that those truths didn’t match up. It wasn’t about consensus. It was about listening, really listening.

Maybe three classes in, I wanted out. I was so overwhelmed with the changes going on inside me. They hadn’t prepared me for this shift in my consciousness. They hadn’t told me it was going to happen at all. It was a big unspoken thing, and I thought I was losing my mind.

Maybe I was. Maybe I needed to lose my mind.

If I tell you how to do the Circle process then I’m shortchanging you on the Circle process. I’m making it easier for you to shortchange yourself by telling you how to do the Circle process.

It is like I’m unwrapping a present for you. In fact I’m keeping you from the present. I’m keeping you from discovering for yourself that just being present is the present.

That feeling uncomfortable and still staying with it is the whole process. That not knowing and being angry and confused is part of it too. It is a shift, an evolution.

The caterpillar doesn’t know when he is going to become a butterfly. It is a painful thing. And when he emerges, different, sticky, cramped, how does he learn how to fly, when all he has ever done is crawl? How does he know?

How do we know when it happens to us?

The fact that you don’t know what is going on when you are in Circle is part of it. It can’t be taught in a book and it can’t be explained. I can just let you do Circle with me and then the next thing we know you have that moment when you go “Oh, this is what we are doing. Now I get it”.

And then you don’t get it again, because you are still holding on to that chrysalis, and your wings are still wet, and your legs are wobbly and you have knees for God’s sake, what am I doing with knees –

And that is part of it too.

Poem – losing our hearts

Defense of the heart
may be the only way to
be whole.

Remember the time
when you
opened yourself up
so wide
that your heart
fell out?

Even though the
reason you did it
seemed good at the time,
even though the
person you did it for
seemed good at the time
you still got hurt.
You still lost your heart.

Anybody who is anybody knows
that being heartless
is worse than being
gutless.

Maybe
both are bad.
Maybe part of being
human is losing our hearts
and finding them again.

On keys, and doors

I am mesmerized by keys.

I collect antique keys and make them into necklaces. I love the look and feel of old metal keys. I imagine their history. Who used them? How many people have owned the thing that this key unlocks? How many hands have touched these keys?

This tiny bit of metal is all that is required to open up this huge door, this wall that is standing before me like a bouncer at a club, saying None May Pass. This tiny thing is all I require to gain access to my heart’s desire.

Perhaps this fondness comes from Alice in Wonderland. Everything got a little strange when she fell down that rabbit hole – but to me the first really strange part was when she encountered that tiny door behind the curtain.

She had the key, but she couldn’t figure out the right sequence to use the door.

I like keys like this, and stories like this. I like real keys and imaginary keys. I like what keys represent.

I have a TARDIS key. You know, just in case. Just in case time and space travel is real, I’m ready if Doctor Who just happens to leave that beautiful, mad, blue box parked along my walking path that day. It is good to be prepared.

I have a key to a phone booth. I have a key to a piano. I have a key to a Ford that was driven long before I could even say the word “automobile”.

These keys are beautiful and poetic and sad. They are missing their locks. They are missing their purpose.

But I keep them anyway. You never know.

They are kind of a focus, a meditation tool. Always be prepared. Notice that it is a small thing that opens a large thing.

What doors are in front of me? What is barring my way? What have I not even noticed is a door, that is preventing me from getting where I need to be?

If you have a key, you’ll be reminded of the door. One points towards the other.

Poem – Key

It is better to have a key and no door
than a door and no key.

The door, locked, will afford no entry,
no progress towards your goal.
Save for a bit of metal, this wall of wood
is all that stands between you
and happiness.

But a key and no door?
You’re in luck!
Nothing is barred.
Your way is clear.
The path stretches out before you
like a full day off with nothing on the agenda.

Everything is open.

But just
in case
a door
quietly slinks up
in front of your very eyes

You have a key, already
ready

to do the trick.