Back in 2003, I wrote a little booklet called “Movement within the Course of Love Series.” I have a certain casual attitude to anything I wrote that many years ago, a feeling that I have moved beyond what I might have seen back then. Yet it’s been on my mind lately. That notion of movement was a true one and I was writing of it because I was feeling it so keenly.
When my spiritual path opened up to me, one of the most amazing feelings of it was one of movement, or of “real” change. I felt, after a mere year or so, that I’d changed so much that I was hardly the same person. I saw that I’d been pretty much the same person my whole life. Until I began to see and experience in a new way, there had been no “real” change or movement. Lots of things happened. There were periods of considerable growth, but it didn’t really matter. It was as if all of those things, those physical changes, those growth periods, had only been like painting a house. I kept improving on the same old self and, at the time, those changes felt almost as meaningless as weight gain and loss.
So I imagine that what I was finding so remarkable back in 2003, was a movement that kept happening and that kept revealing a truer “me” and greater truths about life, love, and the work of A Course of Love. I do remember that by the time I finished putting the booklet together, I was entering a descent that had maybe already begun when I started it, but I’m no longer sure.
What I was seeing was the “honeymoon” that A Course of Love originally swept me up into. The maturing of the relationship that was like a marriage – where the blossom of first love fades and you see yourself and your marriage partner in a more whole fashion – in all the various moods and circumstances and where, in a sense, the “work” begins of “union and relationship.” Then I saw the next stage as a maturing, of having “the work” behind you a little bit, and of enjoying the more organic wisdom of the elder.
I also used the metaphor of undergraduate, graduate school, and entering a profession. In the undergraduate years you can think you know a lot more than you do and you’re really still following in the way of your teachers – not yet having come into your own. In graduate school this “coming into your own” is required. You have to choose your path and commit to it and bring fresh ideas – your own – to it. And finally I saw a parallel between The Dialogues and the time of entering a profession. You become one of the people “on the ground” living the profession you’ve chosen, and perhaps through professional associations, sharing in equality with your peers the wisdom you and they have gained through experience in the field.
It was easier to write this in 2003 than it is now when I can look back and see more of a cyclical pattern, a continual stream of these phases, a revisiting of being in love and beloved, a revisiting of the “hard work” times, and a fading in and out of wisdom or of calls to profess. Sometimes I feel as if the more I think I know the more I don’t know and I’ve come to welcome times of utter confusion even if they still make me uncomfortable.
At the end of 2003, after completing that booklet, I had one of my many “turning point” moments when I felt a call to solitude.
“Doing” still seems to take me out of the zone of contemplation a little too far. Before long, when I start doing, I feel as if I get mired in the details. I begin to long for a return to a different rhythm, one that’s like the difference between cleaning the house like a mad woman, and puttering about. I’m at my best when I’m in puttering mode, going at my own pace.
After some busyness, it takes me a while to shed the hyper-drive, to wipe myself clean of the details, and to begin again with a fresh slate (or state of mind and heart).
Transition times seem as if they’re about the same thing, but with greater longevity. You stand in the in between longer, neither here nor there, not quite able to disengage or to get your rhythm back. The music of the dance is changing, you can feel it, but you don’t yet know the beat. You feel awkward and totally lacking in poise. You want to move, but you can’t quite catch the swing of it. You might want to partner up, but can’t find the partner who’ll make it a smooth glide across the dance floor. The longer the transition time lasts, the more you feel you have let things slide and ought to be doing something other than what you’re doing. As much as change is longed for, it’s hard to hang out with the transitions that bring them into being.
I send these musings out into the internet stratosphere, in one sense as warning, in another as a hopeful if cautionary tale, an encouragement to hang out where you are, to appreciate transition if you can, to honor gestation, and to be aware of the cycle.