Alice and Peace

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peacefulcat

People race through Life. They forget to savor. They don’t stop to smell the proverbial roses.

I vowed a very long time ago that wouldn’t happen to me. And it was a hard thing for me as my brain was a very disorganized, noisy place. I never felt alone, dreams were disturbing, often I would be jolted awake, gasping for air and terrified. I have written before about the the volume being turned way up for me, and so it was. I was in constant sensory overload, with no respite, and I was exhausted. I never slept the sleep of one who trusts, in true peace. I slept the sleep of a paranoid, looking over my shoulder 24/7.

But I knew there was something better for me and I meant to find it. I practiced meditation, even with my head screaming. I worked with a therapist, trying to free myself from a debilitating past, from guilt that didn’t belong to me but was forced on me. I walked a zig-zag path that seemed only to go uphill, and even when nothing seemed to be helping me find my inner freedom, the peace that I knew was my essential self, I remained a seeker. I was scared shitless and intrepid all at once. For me it was an imperative: Do or die. Literally. And I was not ready to abdicate my place on this earth.

I worked hard. I got to know the darkest places of myself. I saw things I didn’t want to see, heard things I didn’t want to hear, wrestled with them, and tried to put them to rest. I grappled with grieving the loss of so much of my life to illness. It made me angry, mostly at me. I struggled with my feelings about the way my parents treated me. But I had to come to a place of surrender about it all. I had to see it, accept it, and let it go in order to move on and really live my life. And though I had plenty of love and support, no one could do this work but me. It can feel very lonely in that darkness.

Of all the things I learned and unlearned, the thing that struck me hardest is that the work never stops. I found out that I wasn’t going to arrive at some “destination of knowing” and be able to stop seeking. I learned that there would be some things that would remain unknown, and that I was going to have to make my peace with that. I learned that I am beautiful and flawed, and that that is okay. I learned that the parts of myself that I didn’t like were also a part of what I did like about myself. The two sides of me, that pesky duality, needed to coexist for me to be whole. I learned that if I didn’t love and accept all of it, I would never have a peaceful sleep.

I still seek, I still work, but the road is not as bumpy(because I am not as resistant), and the work is joyful even when it hurts. Khalil Gibran wrote “Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding” and I live by that. He also said “Your joy is your sorrow unmasked”, and I live by that too. Self awareness and self acceptance, living consciously, are the most important things to me. I can meditate in silence and be still, and there is no screaming inside my head. I have tools now, to deal with the difficult times – I do have them occasionally – and they don’t last as long.

But best of all is that I am Peace. I have found my peace. I can sleep unafraid. I have trust. I am more able to surrender to the Universe and put any neurotic shit aside. I am Gratitude. Every day I feel grateful. Every day I am acutely aware of this chance I have co-created with the Source, and every day I say “Thank you!” The import of this moment is not lost on me.

Here in The Land of Enchantment, New Mexico, I am becoming more than ever before.

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