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Rock Foundations

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

In the halls of an ashram years ago, I was just coming out of the bathroom when I bumped into the guru with her devotees moving down the hallway. She stepped in front of me and said, “Where are you going?”

Taking her question literally, I said I’m heading back to the great hall. She cocked her head to the side and patiently said, “Where are you going?” My mind shifted, paused and I chose to keep my mouth shut. Her message was clear. “Where am I going?”

I remember digging in the dirt in back of my childhood home for hours dreaming of discovering ancient relics buried in the ground. I loved archeology. I loved the thought of unearthing what was left of human life years before. It’s what I wanted to do. Of course, a female archaeologist is not something that was supported during the early 70’s. My choice was secretary, nurse or teacher. My father made that very clear.

I squashed my dreams and complied. I compromised and veered towards the path of least resistance. Life was easier that way. In some ways I feel like I was a simple blob of clay that was being formed by other’s expectations. I went to college, I got married and life went on.

There have been times I have cursed the way my life veered off course. Regretting and judging my choices. Wishing I would fight back. Resisting conformity and mulling it all over and over again. I never said yes to life. I didn’t trust my path. I didn’t trust the people around me and I didn’t trust myself.

I don’t know if I would have developed a healthier way of existing if I hadn’t gone through all the pain and heartache. My life’s catastrophes helped wake me up to grow and change, otherwise I would remain complacent. My pain and heartache fueled my change. I woke up and examined closely what I wanted. Loss helped me find gratitude.

The richness of my soul is made up of the totality of my experiences. Would I be who I am now if I hadn’t gone through what I did then? I’m more trusting now, not knowing what’s around the corner but realizing there is a forward movement no matter what I choose.

There’s a life force beyond my mind’s understanding. I bow to it. There are mysteries I will never solve with my human mind. Sitting in meditation allows me to touch the edge of the mystery I would never figure out with my human mind. I am so much more than my mind. The evidence is in the silence. I am a foundation grounded and aware of all that I am.

Here is my past –

What I’ve been proud of,

And what I’ve pushed away.

Today I see how each piece

Was needed, not a single

Step wasted on the way.

Like a stone wall,

Every rock resting on what came before –

No stone can be suspended in mid-air.

Foundation laid by every

Act and omission,

Each decision, even

Those the mind would

Label “big mistake.”

The things I thought

Were sins, these are as

Necessary as successes,

Each one resting on the

Surface of the last, stone

Upon stone, the fit

Particular, complete,

The rough, uneven

Face of these rocks

Makes surprising,

Satisfying patterns

In the sunlight.

Participants’ Reflections:

  • It made me very happy thinking about a young you excavating in the soil and dreaming. You are still excavating but in a different way. I loved the linkage to the rocks in the wall. We were talking about rocks as burdens (see April 25 blog), as things no longer useful, and here’s a totally different way to look at them and to value them. I found both very productive.

  • You told my story, I was an archeologist wannabe. And I always say that if I was socialized properly, I would have been an archeologist. It drives me now to go to ancient places and be in it. I’ve said a lot about the roots I am looking for. One of the gifts this has been for me is to learn, very deep in my body that this is a practice. The structure you have given us is the practice. That kindness has been such a gift.

  • There is mystery in archeology. I do always search for the answers to that.

  • I am trying to write a story that takes place in Babylonia in the 6th century BC. I’m just living there now. It’s hard to think of anything else. During the meditation, I kept envisioning being there, envisioning what’s happening to my main character. During my meditation, I’m channeling this 6th c BC story.

  • During the meditation, I went to my childhood in the backyard. I always wanted to be an astronomer. At some age, maybe age seven, my dad for my birthday got me a telescope. And I would spend night after night, even in the cold winter, outside charting the stars, and I really believed I would find an undiscovered star. That’s where I go. I love the clouds. I took flying lessons. I don’t go down, I go up and as a child that’s where I found inspiration. It’s such synchronicity with your readings. Yesterday, I found this stack of memories, I was part of a memoir group in the late 90s. It was extraordinary rereading these memories I had forgotten. If I had to write them again, it would be different. I paused recognizing how my memory changes as I change. It’s not exactly the same.

  • How wonderful it is every day, how the writings you choose strikes a note with everybody. We are all connected in such a wonderful way. As a fellow rock lover, I certainly enjoyed today. I think there is something great about seeing the beauty in rocks. I think back, I must have started from a beach 60 years ago. Just walking along thinking about which rocks to bring home. It’s just a wonderful experience. I think about rocks, their textures, their colors, their history. Rocks are wonderful.

  • In my meditation, I was thinking about rocks and how we accumulate them and what they tell us and what we form. What popped in was what Michelangelo said about the spirit once it is released from that rock, and the beauty that can unfold. It made me think of rocks in our own lives, and how we too, inside each one of them, is something very special, because each of us is very special.

  • In many traditions, rocks are the memory keepers. And if you are quiet enough, they will speak to you. In stone circles, and those places, you’ll see meditators put their head right on the rock.

  • I got this amethyst skull many years ago. It’s a memory keeper. I don’t like skulls, but when I held it, it pulsed in my hand. I use it as a witness to me. I bring it wherever I go.

  • Amethyst is wonderful.

  • The power of amethyst is intuition. A friend who studies native American literature says amethyst is the stone to carry around now in the pandemic as its energy helps prevent viruses from intervening.

  • The rocks are necessary, in that they all have to be there in order for us to be where we are now.

  • Kind of like all the experiences we have in order to be who we are. There is a whole message of acceptance, who wants them, but we learn from them.

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