Sep 15, 2010

Cataclysm of A Moment

I have been working, off and on, for about a year on a memoir about my work with my spiritual teacher and although feel I've made some good progress on it find I continually question my right to be writing a memoir without nailing down the one big moment in my life that I want to explore, talk about, start from. You know the moment I'm talking about, the moment we supposedly all have at some point, that magically shifts everything we know about ourselves and the world and throws us head long into a new life. The kind of moment that's often described like a cataclysmic shift of consciousness from which we can never return; that who we were was completely burned up in a fire with nothing left to pick up out of the rubble and say,"THIS was me. It is NOT me anymore."

I've had those moments. I'm not arrogant enough to say I've had none but what I'm starting to realize as I scan back over my life looking for that moment to write about that mine often don't take that form. My experience is more like a series of events that open me to a truth I already know and it's the moment that I acknowledge the truth all those moments are pointing to that that leaves me stunned and out of breath and suddenly changed for all eternity.

I have worked with a spiritual teacher for over 11 years and my road to finding him was, although not uneventful, something I'm challenged to pick one moment to write about. I can't even say I knew something was missing, that I had been searching for something, until probably a year or two after beginning work with him. I can look back over the years leading up to it; graduating college knowing less about what I wanted than when I started, marrying my ex-husband on a whim in Vegas and splitting up a year later, and my decision to leave everything I knew and move across the country to Nashville; as steps in my Spirits divine plan to find and work with this teacher. Individually none of those experiences were cataclysmic in nature; although my separation and ultimate divorce from my ex did rock my world to it's core; it would be the combination of them, and all the others in between, that would lead me to acknowledge my desire for change.

I don't know that I've had that one moment, like Elizabeth Gilbert (in Eat Pray Love) in supplication on her bathroom floor in the middle of the night in a flood of tears realizing how much she didn't want what she had or Gordon Hempton in an interview in the September 2010 issue of The Sun where he describes how he pulled to the side of a road after driving all day to sleep in a corn field and experienced a thunderstorm that left him with a life that was " longer adequate." I've had moments, especially after a very powerful fire ceremony, that left me knowing I had to tear down my life as it was and re-create it to match who I was at that moment. Yet I have a hard time pulling just one of those moments out and crowning it as THE moment that changed my life forever.

My search for that one moment to define how I got where I am has left me frustrated and often deflated. It always seems, especially as I started taking classes on writing memoir, that I must find one moment; one spectacular, grand, illuminating, life altering collision of divine intervention moment and write about that. This task I find especially difficult, often moving me to take a hiatus from my daily writing all together feeling I'm not getting anywhere and I'll never get to where I'm supposed to be. Perhaps the truth is I don't have a story worth telling at all. I hate that my experience is not like everyone else's. And perhaps I, entoumbed in my belief that anything worth having can only be born from my measurable ability to work hard, am missing the spectacular view from my innate ability to simply observe.

Reading the Gordon Hempton interview today I pondered another option. My life is a series of moments, a series of experiences that all build upon each other. The cataclysmic moment that I'm searching for presents in much smaller ways for me and, instead of redefining my life in an instant, simply verifies what I already know but am struggling to understand. Almost like the universe is constantly handing me clues to who I am and what's true for me in any moment I just have to choose to be at attention with it. The profoundness of the universe and my own depth as a human comes almost silently - quietly and softly inviting me to question what I thought was true and experience how its not. The giant moment I constantly searching for instead comes as a series of soft questioning that points me in a direction giving me opportunity to explore, reflect and ultimately choose what's true for me.

Perhaps trusting my ability to work hard is not the most embracing strategy for me as a writer, or even as an evolving being. Perhaps having some faith in my ability to simply be can open my eyes to all the magical and perception shifting moments happening all day long that don’t require I suit up for a life long quest to find.