I love sunset here in the valley, particularly in the summer. Lots of green in my neighborhood despite the desert like heat. The smell and the feel of this time was a comfort for me in childhood and remains so today. You look out over the dusty hills where the sun has never failed to set and it provides me a warm, this is my beautiful home, feeling.
The truth of things is that all is impermanent and can change at any moment, and this, no doubt, is how it has always been. Yet we humans; well, me at least, draw sweetness from the beautifully familiar.
The mind can also get stuck in the familiar, those destructive patterns we learned early, that seem to keep us safe, but also leave us lonely and hurting.
Most of my life I have been what you call risk adverse. I took a big chance starting that hobo feed out at the Reach Out Center. Tying myself to something like that plays against my need to flee which I have done many times in my life, especially when I feel like my emotional survival is at stake. Tying myself also works against my need for adventure. Lots of times when I have taken off, I wonder if this is flee or fun.
The feed has been successful for me in that I have a bunch of new friends and a great sense of community. Last night I was wondering down to the gas station looking to do some bench sitting, which is a comfort ritual left over from my hobo days. I love smoking with coffee and a chance to watch some people, and if some conversation wanders in so much the better
As I was walking down, I heard myself muttering, ” I wish I was perfect.” Yesterday’s feed turned out just fine, but it was rough for me emotionally. I thought we were fine at first but people just kept pouring in and at some point I realized we would be short of food, and magically stuff that was usually a pleasure became agitating. I was hating myself for not being perfect you see and all that peace I have been cultivating disappeared into the impermanent dust.
We work hard at putting on our brave faces and hiding our secret shame from ourselves and from others. Shame need not arise when things go wrong, but I have trained myself to react that way. I must say, I am somewhat proud of myself, I am peaceful again only one night later.
I remember being on the streets and having my shame triggered, with me shame comes with a lot of rage, and I remember feeling my insides churning for a week or more from just one incident.
Shame for me goes hand in hand with risk aversion. Much of my early adult life was spent risking little emotionally, creatively or spiritually, so as to try and keep that shame from arising. Then drinking myself silly on the weekends trying to relieve all the shame and anxiety that arose during just a normal week.
There is good news however, love is real you see, and over time will remove anything false in us including old mind habits like shame and rage. I feel like an innocent kid more and more these days in search of some fun and someone to be kind to. Peace folks, I love you very much.
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