Saturday, March 29, 2014

Consolation

"While we are impressed with your qualifications, after careful consideration we have decided not to advance your application in the hiring process at this time."

Two nights ago I read these words and heaved a sigh. My shoulders slumped. I had put so much effort into my application for this teacher apprenticeship program - cover letters, resumes, even an interview. It had been my ideal program. I had been applying to many other programs as well, but with this one especially I had dared let my spirits rise. Now...

Nothing.

Back to square one.

I've been searching for the right place to teach and learn for a full year now. But my career progress has kept slamming into a brick wall.  At this point, nothing is consoling me.

Today I went to a basketball tournament to watch a friend's 11-year-old son play. For the first game, each player seemed to make each shot as if by magic. They worked together seamlessly. We all cheered when they won.

The second game, both teams played with ferocity. But our team lagged; towards the second half, they were 24 points behind. Catching up seemed impossible.

The second half, our team exploded with momentum. 20 points behind. 14 points behind. 10. 7. The other team's score was at a standstill. I couldn't help but feel this crazy hope rise in my chest.

Would we make it?

59 seconds left.

36.

20.

5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

Our team lost.

Families cheered for our team, telling them they had done well. I overheard the coach tell some parents, "How they played in that second half was better than a win,"

I agreed. What a spectacular game. If you lost, so what, learn and move on, right? What matters is the effort. 

I was leaving the gymnasium when I saw one of the young boys from our team - his mother was helping him put on his coat. The boy's face looked grim.

"Hey," I called out, "You played an amazing game out there, great job,"

The boy barely looked at me, his face turning even darker.

"That's what I told him," his mother said, "but he won't listen,"

I insisted, "How you played in that second half was just amazing,"

The boy turned away from me, shrugging on his coat.

I walked away, pensive. The expression on that boy's face resonated deeply with me. As the hours go on, I can't help but feel such a kinship with that boy. A relief that someone else in this world can feel the way I do, a human being who feels disheartened, discouraged, and plain old sad.

When I've done my best, and my best isn't enough, maybe for awhile it's okay to hang my head.

I'm sure the little boy would agree, too.

(image courtesy of calaverasenterprise.com)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Meditation on Ice

I shrug on my coat, strap on my tennis shoes, and fasten on a furry cap. I step out into the golden afternoon and the wind pinches my cheeks.

I wander out past the town streets towards the creek. Patchwork snow drapes the forest floor. My feet squish in the muddy path. The sun is melting the ice and snow as spring slowly creeps in on the land.

I walk past a tiny little pond. At the center floats a sheet of ice with lacy edges.

Why is it that we humans feel the need to pop bubble wrap, make sleeping animals move, or yes, crack ice? We can't just let it all BE?

I remember a story I recently heard about how the saint Srila Prabhupad used to smash icy puddles with his cane. Finally, someone asked him why he did this. "The hearts of people in the west are like ice," he replied, "and I have come to smash this ice."

I look around for a rock, a stick, something. With a little shout, I throw the stick at the delicate-looking sheet of ice. It makes a tiny hole and a little water seeps in around the edges.

Hmph. I scout for another stick and hurl it with all my might at the ice. It skitters across the surface and slides into the water on the other edge.

I set my mouth. This is ON. This big sheet of ice has become my heart. And the ice needs cracking. Sinking.

Stick after stick, each one flies away across the surface. Not such a lacy piece of ice after all. This thing is thick. Deep.

I pick up a branch and circle around to a piece of shore closest to the ice sheet. I kneel over and whack at the ice. Some breaks off. I lean over further, and with all my might I whack the surface.

Ice water splashes my entire face and glasses, my hands, my coat. My mouth drops open in shock. I begin to giggle, then laugh and laugh.

I'll leave the heart-ice breaking to Prabhupad.

I wipe off my glasses and toss the stick into the little pond.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Clearing My Throat


"To withhold is to perish." - Khalil Gibran

http://www.crystalvaults.com/images/chakra_body_throat_chakras_symbol130.gif

A friend of mine recently told me that I often clear my throat. In fact, over the years I have had the constant experience of losing my voice. As one of the seven chakras is located in the throat - the capacity to communicate and share the self - I find it no surprise that I have had a rocky relationship with my voice.
Communicating my self is one of my greatest joys and one of my greatest struggles.
This morning I was chanting japa and watched the sun slant through the window in a brighter and brighter patch. I thought of this blog, Seed of Devotion, and came across that all-too-familiar sensation of blankness. Whiteness. Void.

I want to communicate something, anything, and although so much beauty has been transpiring in my life, I'm at a loss. More and more, I'm at a loss. I'm frustrated and angry that I refrain from communicating even on Facebook or an email thread. I'm afraid of no one getting me, no one listening, no one caring.

I realized this morning that not trying is painful, but to try and fail is even more painful.

But to withhold is to perish. This morning I felt like I was going to explode.

I am praying to my dear gurudeva and my beloved Lord that somehow or other They may allow me to communicate my heart.


To write is to dare the soul. So write.