Paradise is Sharing...

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Buddha made me do it....

Forgive me blog readers, it has been 30 days since my last blog entry. 


Anytime I would read a blog and read an apology in the first sentence about how the blogger is not keeping up with his or her blog, I would say to myself... "Lame."    Your readers don't know your blogging schedule.  Your readers don't know about your best intentions of writing in your blog every X amount of days.  They aren't expecting anything from you.  You aren't letting anyone down.  In fact, if you are lucky enough to have subscribers, they are probably just happy to see your blog update in their RSS feeders - so shut up already and just write about whatever popped into your pretty little head today.   Ya... that's what I say, and I expect you all to say it to me too.  There are no rules here. I'm not punching a clock.

So, I had a post pop into my pretty little head a few nights ago, and I stayed up way too late, with heavy eyelids, tip-tap-typing it out... just to have Blogger eat it.  Frustrated, I vented on Facebook, slammed my laptop cover shut and went to bed.

The post I had written was epic.  I was excited to capture with all my heart and soul this amazing experience I had at the Nagaloka Buddhist Center in Portland.  I attended their Introduction to Buddhism and Meditation class.  Just signing up and attending the class was HUGE for me.. it was something I had thought about for a long time.  I kept getting drawn to Google about Buddhism.. to read about it, to wonder about it.  Was it for me?  Why does this keep drawing my attention?

MyHoney and I have been having conversations about spirituality, the importance of it, the need of having it in our lives.  He is Catholic, I was raised Lutheran.  He is steadfast and comfortable in his faith - he has found a place he feels comfortable in.  While I appreciate and understand Catholicism and Lutheran doctrine, I don't feel at home in the church the same way MyHoney does.  But, it's where he "checks in" as he explains it.  He checks in with his values and beliefs, and checks in with himself.  He expressed to me how he would love it if I would attend Mass with him, because it would mean alot to him if I were there.  He wanted to "share" this with me.  I attended.  I fidgeted in the pew... I argued in my head with the Priest during his sermon.  I blocked out messages that were being read from the Scriptures.  Now, don't get me wrong... I am a spiritual person.  I believe in God.  I believe that Jesus was sent to redeem us and teach us the ultimate lesson of love and self sacrifice.  I buy in, I really do.... but in my own personal way.  

After Church, we went out to breakfast, and I expressed my unease with MyHoney, and told him I would attend Mass.. but I was attending for him.. not me.  His eyes lost their twinkle for a moment, his face went solemn, and he said he wished I felt differently.  He wished I felt what he felt when he attended.  He wanted it so badly... and truthfully, it made me upset.  I thought he wasn't accepting me.  I thought he was trying to "convert me"... the more I thought about it, the more I took it personally.  Truthfully, this set off one of the most turbulent "discussions" of our relationship history - and we ended up hurting each other.

I love MyHoney deeply.  I want to share my life with him.  I want to share his life.  This (what ever "this" is) means alot to him.  It's important.  Deeply important - a core value, a family value.

Conversations were had, misunderstandings were made - feelings got hurt, and we both let the topic go for a while.  But even though it was no longer brought up as a topic of conversation, I still had the heavy feeling on my heart that we were not in sync... we weren't aligned.  We are trying to build a life together - how can we move forward when we don't agree on something as important as our faith?

I found myself Googling meditation... that was what MyHoney got most from his attendance.  Maybe if I could just learn to meditate while at Church, my feelings of unease would go away.  Maybe I would understand what MyHoney gets out of the services.  That's when Nagaloka came up... that's when I signed up without hesitation.  I told MyHoney about it, and his eyes sparkled and he said he was excited for me. 

That Sunday finally came... and not to sound cliche, but it was the most beautiful Sunday I've seen in a long time.  It was unseasonably warm... Portland was buzzing with people heading out to get their coffee or heading to Back Bay to get in an early morning jog.  The air was soft and light, and as I walked down the sidewalk, I thought about my expectations for the day.  I decided to just keep an open mind, and let what ever lesson I was supposed to learn come to me by it's own nature.  Funny enough, I felt like I did when I went to college the first time... attending much later in life than everyone else.

I arrived and I was greeted by Dharmasutra, a lovely lady with kind eyes.  She introduced me to Narrotama, who would be leading the study for the day.  He reminded me of my instructor from New England Coaching, Bill.  I immediately felt at ease with him.  Surprisingly, I was the only female in the class.  The five of us sat in chairs in a circle, and Narrotama asked us to introduce ourselves, and to say what experience we had in meditation, and what we expected from the day.  As it came to my turn, I realized my introduction sounded a bit like a "One minute sales manager" speech straight from BNI, and after I said I was "Priscilla Hansen from Key Potential Coaching... I'm a coach who works with small business owners on gaining confidence in themselves and their business"... I stopped, looked at Narrotama, and said "my only experience with meditation was when my dog was sick... and I had to sit with her for 20 minutes every day as I administered sub-q fluids... and I would put my hand on her chest and focus on her breathing.  I miss that time I used to carve out in my day (even if it was for a sick dog).  I think Destiny wants me to be here so I can have it back again."

I don't know where that came from.  I didn't intend to talk about Destiny... I wasn't even really thinking about her.  The words just spilled out of my mouth.  I looked around the circle as my face flushed and my eyes watered, and felt a little embarrassed... until I saw the four men sitting and nodding in complete understanding.  Amazingly, what I had just told these total strangers, made total sense.  In those two minutes, I finally was given the answer to why I was drawn to Buddhism... as with everything else... it was my Destiny.

As the day went on, we learned about "Mindfulness of Breathing" ...  We sat down on mats, some knelt and supported themselves with pillows, and some sat like me - criss-cross-applesauce... and we were instructed to focus on our breath.  I had a hard time focusing on my breath... until I pictured my hand... on Lexi's chest as she sleeps --- rising up, down... up... down...  Peaceful isn't really an accurate enough word to use to describe how I felt.  I felt at ease.  My muscles loosened.  My thoughts of all the things I have to do, accomplish, achieve, and be... faded to the background for a while.  For a few minutes, it was just me, breathing...  and before I knew it, the bell chimed, and the 20 minute meditation was over.  As we all opened our eyes, and looked at each other, I realized we had a connected sharing, much like when you go see a movie in a theatre.   You could sit home and watch the movie alone... but there is something magical about watching it with dozens of other people... having the experience for yourself, with others.  That sense of collective community.  I suddenly had a strong longing.. a desire.. that MyHoney was there to share this with me.  I wish he was there and had sat beside me, and experienced this... for himself, with me.  At once, as if awoken from a dream, I understood. I got it. I get it. My place, my home, is in a pew, sitting next to him, as I experience this, myself, with him.... and I hope, (I know) he will in the future sit criss-cross-applesauce on a cushion next to me. With ease.

Paradise is Here, Paradise is Now... Paradise is connected, yet separate.