The Beginning of Something Else

On June 1, 2007 I found out my husband and partner of almost two decades had been unfaithful to me since before our marriage, and had been having intercourse with prostitutes for 3 1/2 years. This is what happened next.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

On being receptive to truth

"The trouble with the world," said the Master with a sigh, "is that human beings refuse to grow up."

"When can a person be said to have grown up?" asked a disciple.

"On the day he does not need to be lied to about anything."

Anthony de Mello

When I read this, I realized that one of the things I have been learning about is my ability to be with difficult truths.

I still have moments, stretches of time even, when I wish for that bliss I had when I was living inside lies. I often wonder if I'll ever be able to rid myself completely of that longing.

But I have also come to know with a certainty I never had before that part of myself that cannot be shattered.

There is nothing that can be revealed to me that can stop the gentle, lapping quiet of a clear dawn over Puget Sound. Nothing that can lift the smell of the ocean from a coastal breeze, or silence the rhythmic caress of the waves on the shore. No truth can take from me the beauty, joy and peace that exist in each moment if only I am willing to be open to them, even in times of great sadness or pain.

I feel there is nothing I need to be protected from, because I've experienced the peace that comes from allowing for the ever-changing nature of all things, and from letting go of wanting the past to be different and the future to be a certain way. I try to remember to remind myself of this when I need comfort. When it feels difficult to do this, I pray:

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace." - from the Serenity Prayer

"I am surrendering moment by moment to whatever is happening in this very instant of time. With precision and gentleness, I surrender my cherished ways of regarding myself and others, my cherished ways of holding it all together, my cherished ways of blocking bodhichitta. I do this again and again over many challenging and inspiring years, and in the process develop an appetite for groundlessness." - Pema Chodron, The Places that Scare You

This is a different version of "I can take it" than I used to hold before - that feeling of power that comes with hardening and shutting down. This is the peace beyond understanding that comes with softening and opening myself up, with willingness and faith, to whatever is so in a moment.

Because I'm human, and probably more because all things change, sometimes I can do this and sometimes I can't. When I can't, I look for the moment when I'm ready to try again.