Grasping and Being

How easy it is for the grasping to sneak back in—like weeds pushing up through cracks in pavement, but less lovely. Still, I am trying to slow down enough to notice both (the grasping and the patches of green in grey cement).

With the grasping, I am trying: “Look. There’s that anxiety again; the wanting-things-to-be-a-certain-way thinking,” and to keep walking, letting each go as a passing thought that is not-me.

plant concreteWith the weeds, I am trying: “Look! Look at the patches of green in grey cement!” and to bend down and notice the tendrils of stem and leaf reaching toward sky. An image of hope that, had I not slowed down enough to see, would be crushed under foot.

Today is our last day in this wide-open Arizona sky. Our last day surrounded by red rock and hours upon hours with nothing to do but be.


I am proud of myself for not grasping too hard. It is not uncommon for me to leave before it is time to leave: to inventory all that will soon be “lost”; to mentally transport myself back to the to-do lists waiting for me at home before I actually am home. So I am proud that this morning, when I woke up counting the number of hours until we leave this place (22) and the number of days until my surgery (5), I didn’t crawl down the dark and endless hole lined with accompanying thoughts. Instead, I did what needed to be done (return the pre-registration call from the hospital; leave a message for my oncologist); and what I knew would help (watch my thoughts like an outside observer watching the passing clouds; listen again to IMG_1043_2Belleruth Naparstek’s pre-surgery relaxation CD); and then what I wanted to do (write; play pool—and in the pool— with my family; soak up every last minute of this glorious place and time).

Still, I am aware of how utterly precarious this “just being” is. Sitting here now, I feel the precariousness in my bones; feel how easy for the “just being” to turn into yet another form of grasping—of me trying desperately, desperately to sink into presence. It is like walking uphill at the Grand Canyon. Stunningly beautiful, and so damn hard.

But also an absolute must. (After all, I don’t want to miss out on a “once in a lifetime” experience!) And so, I keep coming back: to this moment, to the passing clouds, to a splash of green pushing through concrete.

One thought on “Grasping and Being

  1. Again, beautifully written. I’m very stubborn about getting on my knees but will do so on your surgery day (writing in calendar now: knees!) Strangely enough, it does seem to make a difference: the posture of prayer changes something inside. Where have I been? I’m sure I must heard about this many times but suddenly it lands in a new place: we have many voices inside us (Gurdjieff says 987), all of whom need to be respected and listened to and worked with. Ignoring them, repressing them, belittling them only leads to things “mysteriously” not working well. The first voice and probably the loudest that speaks up is survival, need for approval, power and control … apparently aspects of the first three chakras. So far, that’s the voice I’m most tuned into. I don’t hear another voice (they’re probably sound asleep, having been ignored for all these years) but I am aware of the Observer or Witness who is simply there, bemused, with no opinions. Jenny, you seem to be in touch with several of your voices in this situation. Welcome them, love them all, especially the ones you prefer not to hear from: Dear Worrier, Dear Fearful One, Dear Grasping One, I am with you, I will not abandon you, I will not criticize you. Your Witness is with you always even if you’ve ignored her for a lifetime as I have. Much love, Jan


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