what now?

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effortless tension (wip) – melinda blair paterson – acrylic on canvas – 2016

The stats show it’s been eight months since I was last active on this blog. Where did that time go? What happened? The mind struggles to find a reference point. Past timeframes seem to quickly slip away these days, like an outgoing tide.

One thing I can remember is a few months ago I realised I was creating a lot of suffering for myself around the question – What the @#%& am I doing with my life? This question had been taunting me for too long, to the point where I realised it was not only boring myself, but probably all those that had ever bothered to listen. God bless them!

Interestingly,  once the suffering was seen and acknowledged the question like mist evaporated and morphed into – What next? This played itself out for a week or two until I realised it wasn’t sitting comfortably in my body. When I felt into it there was a pulling sensation that was drawing my attention out of the body always leading to an idea of an object or a future timeframe. Again, once seen and acknowledged the question dissolved and morphed into – What now?

Simultaneously the suffering evaporated, relief was felt in the body, and an allowing space of inner contentment and joy quietly made itself known. A few weeks have now passed. The question is still held lightly as I go about my day. There is little planning it seems, with a freedom to respond to whatever the day asks. Little or no disturbance when unexpected twists and turns take form, while the mind’s expectations effortlessly fall away.

I’ve had a few opportunities come towards me which the mind loves to make into a story: This must be the answer to my question, and subsequently very nearly entered into some new endeavours; only to hear myself say: No thank you, and decline the invitation at the last moment.

So here I sit… watching and gently inquiring – What now?, waiting and quietly responding in the moment, and occasionally picking up the paint brush to play.🙂

Mx

living with sadness

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Image courtesy of Maria Wilson

Without announcement or bothering to knock, she sneaks in, lying beneath cushions where I sit, or below the floor where I walk. Her breathing is just loud enough to let me know she’s here again. Sometimes she even bashes on my heart, grips my throat, or tears at my jaw inflicting enough suffering to have me imploring: I just want to know the truth.

Sure there is an initial impulse to run from her, however these days, this is usually followed by a turning, a looking, a nudging, back onto the viewing platform.

I watch myself hopelessly wonder one moment if she will ever leave, only to observe in the next that I am quietly singing while cutting up fruit.  Where is the sadness now? I ask myself.  What was so sad this morning? 

Memories from my childhood and youth abound… Flashes…. Thoughts…. Feelings… out of nowhere. It feels like a shock each time they appear.  Why now? Haven’t I dealt with these concerns years ago? However it becomes obvious they have no intention on stopping, so I encourage myself to relax and breathe.  I’m here, I’m listening, tell me what you need to say, I’m not going anywhere.

I’m finding seeing my psychologist again is self-loving and insightful, in particular, where the feelings are felt both within and surrounding the body. Her somatic work and presence feels deeply supportive. At the last session I became aware of feeling ‘I am nothing’, with a deep deep push for desperately trying to know the truth in a way that is perhaps obsessive. The ‘nothing’ did not feel joyful but rather exhausting. I’m not sure what it all means. I’m just going with what somatically arises in the sessions and am not wishing to spiritualise too much. As I said, the main question and longing is: I just want to know the truth.

And I feel I have no idea how to find the answer, and the heart aches again. What is this driving within? Is it the mind? I have been told that this cannot be worked out by the mind and I have even tried stepping away from ‘trying’ to work it out. And yet, like my art practice, it returns, again and again. The wanting to know.

Mx

Note: found this draft post written a few months ago and felt to share it anyway.🙂

 

the purge

the purge - melinda blair paterson - 2015

It would appear the body needed a 24 hour purge. (I’ll spare you the details.) And yet, right there, right in the middle of it was the experience: if I follow thought, the pain and discomfort increases, and if I relax and rest back from thought, it eases. And so it went, back and forth like ping pong, watching the cramps increase and then fall away. Fascinating!

Shifting in and out of sleep. Crow medicine was clearly heard at one stage, screeching through the body, sweeping out the darker corners of resistance. Resting into the sound and giving thanks. Later a storm is passing. Lightening lights up the bed, whilst thunderous rain bashes its way past like an impatient shopper on route to that much wanted bargain. Sleep, sleep, the body just wanted sleep.

In the early hours of the morning a peace descended, both within and without. The body felt weak but strong. The being felt clear and grateful. The crows continue their healing cries: wake up, get up, live!

Mx

about today

Melinda Blair Paterson

There’s nothing unusual about today,
yes I have a head cold
and the farmer’s market
like any other Friday.

There’s nothing unusual in this day,
watched a movie
and texts of care from friends
like every other day.

So why am I suddenly on my knees,
howling like a child
hands beating chest
begging to be broken?

Why are the tears followed by rage,
primal sounds
flashes of faces
crying to be taken?

“Pleeeeease”
passes through
yet there is no need
anymore.

The tears desist
the nose blows
the body rises
from the floor.

You see… there’s nothing unusual about today.

nothing different

  

Walking across the grass

the moment of knowing arrives

as natural as taking the step.

There is no difference

between being solo or with other,

it’s all the same.

And the delight this knowing brings

follows effortlessly as silent joy

smiling within.

Mx

there is relief

There is relief in a glimpse of blue sky


whilst wandering through grass of open fields

and picking up feathers along the way.

There is relief standing with still creek water

feeling the crack of falling branches

whilst others remain entwined like lovers reaching for the light.

There is relief.

Mx

the invitation

the invitation by Melinda Blair Paterson

A morning to stop, stay in bed, and catch up on some emails and reading. You know, the ones you  left ‘unread’ in your inbox or ‘bookmarked’ in your browser to come back to, hoping you will!

I have recently discovered the written works of Dorothy Hunt, meditation and spiritual teacher from  Moon Mountain Sangha in California. I felt deeply touched by her expression so I emailed her to ask if she had a newsletter or blog I could follow. She graciously replied pointing to her website where I discovered her poetry. The following was the first I read this morning from a series of beautiful poems available on her site – dorothyhunt.org.

The Invitation

When God comes in your house
it is only by your invitation,
but even your invitation is God’s,
for she has always been
landlady and tenant,
windows and walls,
the fire in your hearth
and the cold wind blowing at your door.

At first, her visits seem so welcome.
She brings tea and cookies and loves you
so sweetly inside your own heart.
You keep inviting her back
by your prayers and meditations,
imagining you’ve found the one you always wanted
who will hold you on her endless lap
and take away your pain forever.

But pretty soon, she starts arriving
unexpectedly, at odd hours of the day and night,
and every time she comes,
she takes something away–

continued here…

Reading this poem today reminded me of a moment last Sunday; standing in the middle of the kitchen, where Knowing announced: You are no longer responsible for your partner’s sexual needs. What?… and as I looked within for the hook, pattern, belief,  thought, or conditioned response on such a delicate intimate relationship matter; it could no longer be found. It was gone!

But pretty soon, she starts arriving
unexpectedly, at odd hours of the day and night,
and every time she comes,
she takes something away–

I wasn’t sure how I was going to broach the matter with my partner, however as usual, I just wait and, if necessary, the moment arrives.

It was only in the expressing to him: I realise I am no longer responsible for your sexual needs, did I reflect and understand how much of my life as a woman had been run on a conditioned belief, opposite, to what was now here in Truth.

The relief, spaciousness and freedom is palpable.  Mx