A Happy Ending
Aruni Sitting at the Guru’s Feet
About 500 years ago, in the early 1990’s, I was a young disciple in the Kripalu ashram. I felt so spiritually evolved, just a tad-better-than-most-people in my 12 Step meetings, which, thank goodness, I continued to attend. I was positive that living in an ashram, committing to my spiritual growth with such depth, would shelter me from the crasser, baser things in life, like, to name just a few:
Little did I know that being spiritual might just mean being present—and being present, just might mean, having relationship with some tiny parts of the human equation, like, oh, I don’t know—money, career, sex, relationship, anger, feelings, and etc.
We might name this phase of my life, The Era of Premature Transcendence.
However, beneath my mala beads and my guru scent-essential-oil and my white ashram clothes, my heart beat with wild insecurity. At the same time as feeling spiritually superior, I was terrified of you—of me—of us. I did not have access to my voice; I had no clue I had feelings. The articulation of my needs wasn’t yet born, since I was pretty sure being spiritual meant I didn’t have any needs.
My spiritual transcendence was a shield.
I hadn’t fully landed yet. The Kripalu ashram in the upcoming years would bake me into life, bake me into myself, but more about that down the road, in blogs-yet-to-be-imagined.
It is of a specific celebration that I speak. We, as a resident community, separate from you guys, our dear guests, (although I wasn’t so sure I liked you all so much yet—that, too, would transform), would have resident-only satsanga, an evening time with the guru (now the ex-guru), with chanting, singing, wild dancing, teaching (my least fav part), all with powerful shakti/energy. These Thursday nights were precious to me—They were like the best party that I never got invited to. Now, wearing white, I was up front, in the glow of the guru.
This particular night’s celebration was based in a certain holiday. I was never clear with details. But, in celebration of Whatever the Hindu Blessing Day might have been, I do remember Vandana. Vandana, in our tradition, is a ritual of coming before the guru in two’s, bowing at his holy lotus feet (yes, I did this), and receiving his blessing. We only did this a few times a year, hence it was way-special to me.
The best party I was never invited to? For sure!!
You can see in the picture above my goofy smile, as I look longingly toward Gurudev, who is perfectly shielded by his spiritual armor, the freaky rays of light. If you look carefully, you can see his knees.
Dancing around, then sitting at his feet, receiving a tap on the back of blessing, dancing wildly some more, goofiness released—I was sweaty and joyous and for a few breaths, I became miraculously freed from my own enslaving self-consciousness.
And in that profound emptiness, that amazing freedom from my own despair, I heard the Voice. Call it Truth, call it Grace, call it the Unconscious—whatever. I have never written about this ever—although it was a turning point in my life—for fear of sounding too woo-woo.
A voice deep inside of me (and not mine, for sure!) said to me, as clear as any human voice:
“Your life is going to have a happy ending.”
It stopped me in my tracks.
“No matter what happens, your life is going to have a happy ending.”
I knew it’s truth, in that moment. I dove down into it and cellularly memorized it.
And then the drums continued, the fevered dancing heightened, the truth slipped away, as it does, that slippery little devil, Truth.
As I sit here, decades later, considering the last year of loss, blessing and freedom, I can newly appreciate the perfection of that message, the absolutely right-for-me-ness, of that message.
These past months, I have had to live through such depth of terror of being alone, of my life sucking as an old, single woman.
This fear has no cognitive basis, of course. I am already an old woman, I am already alone, and I am already beyond-fine. It is a cellular, ancient experience of exile, that I have been feeling and purging.
And back then, in the early 1990’s, Life told me the answer.
My life will have a happy ending.
No matter what happens.
So, I say to you, dear friends, why not lean toward the positive?
Why not dare to rewrite the narratives, the old stories that limit us, that scare us, that make us tiny and constricted?
Why not imagine, no matter what, that we are blessed?
That we are safe?
That we are supported?
I think of the 23 Psalm, one of my go-to’s, such a beacon of positivity. Here is Bobby McFarrin offering us his version—please take in that promise in the opening lines:
I Shall Not Want.
I Shall Not Want.
There’s a positive direction to lean toward.
And why wouldn’t we?
What ancient, limiting narrative to do you wish to lean away from? What new affirmation can take its place? I’m going for I Shall Not Want. That speaks to the addictive hungry ghosts whispering inside me; it gives them a shudder.
What about you?
As Autumn sheds her leaves, as the temperatures drop, as the earth hardens, as the birds quiet down, what do you choose for yourself?
Let’s choose for ourselves.
Let’s live the lives we want.
I say yes to possibility.
Please join me.
Keep me posted. I am firstname.lastname@example.org