Nanette is a writer, yoga instructor, and wilderness guide, currently working in film production. New York City, NY.
(From journal entries during EOA in 2015)
In intimate accordance with life
If I am to inhabit that which compels life in me and shed the stiff, dead skins that I once rightfully wore but which no longer are large enough for the spirit contained within, it means coming to terms with the very realities of my life, the falling, the decomposition, the endings. I don’t need to produce honesty or cultivate it. Honesty is already here.
When I was standing in the ocean this past weekend letting the waves swell up and recede around my stationary body, I realized that it is not as if the universe is planning out my life for me, granting me blessings when I’m worthy and hardships when I’m not. Rather, the invitation is to let go into the knowledge that I am the universe, that I will move through the universe and the universe will move through me. In this way, I will shed, molt and let go as I am called in the name of love. Maybe there’s no plan, only creation—rising and falling--compelled by love, honest and true. Compassion comes easily when I am intimate, in accordance with and receptive to the ebbs and flows of life.
A new understanding of love
I think I’ve imagined love (the verb) to mean holding onto, embracing, cherishing, protecting. The side of love I’m less acquainted with is the love in falling, letting go, disintegrating, form to energy. Perhaps grieving, being with disintegration, is as great an act of love as connecting. Perhaps suffering is simply my reaction, my repulsion to disintegration, and learning to be with disintegration will show me something beyond suffering, show me that love pulses through disintegration as much as it does connection. To make room for the growth and connection, I must meet as readily their counterparts.
Perhaps to be with is to be honest. To be honest is to live within the swelling and receding of life not above it or below it. I am learning to feel safe in recession, sadness, ambiguity, undoing for these things, I am learning, will not undo me. I am learning to take refuge not in my ideas of self, but in the glimpses of something else within me that cannot be done or undone. That parallel, concurrent, to the tumult of ideas and the emotions they produce, is the clear, undisturbed current that I find flowing through me. Both are honest, both are sincere, both are worthy of and require my presence and care. For this, I find within myself the courage inherent to life moving as it will, honest, sincere, unabashedly so.
Perhaps all life asks of me is to see it how it is, nothing less, nothing more. Authenticity is when I can see and meet life as it truly is. To have the courage to look at it clearly, with unassuming eyes.
The desert sand burns beneath your bare feet.
The cholla cactus's long spines threaten to pierce your sole.
You’re at a crossroads.
Keep holding onto your life-long held identities, ideas, beliefs, ideologies—
all that you hold to be true.
Keep grasping onto your comforts and securities—
approval seeking, (false) “certainty”.
Keep clinging to that which you think you know.
Keep believing your thoughts.
And your life stays in tact, as it has been.
Maybe you find a certain amount of happiness and satisfaction
with a new and improved story,
better shinier beliefs, but all will wilt under the desert sun.
Enough of your precious life has been spent rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.
Gamble it ALL.
Jump into the fire.
Let your soul be pierced.
Admit to yourself that you have no idea what you are.
What this life is.
Let it all go: the controlling, gripping, grinding,
clinging onto the past, to blame, to regret, to unfelt emotions,
to all that you believe to be true.
Follow the feelings.
Travel into your darkest shadows,
meet those orphans who await your embrace.
Feel everything you’ve never let yourself feel.
Let it go.
Let yourself be unwound, unravelled, undone:
shedding belief by belief, fear by fear,
tear by tear that which stands between you and Freedom,
you and yourself (the object of your deepest longing).
Let yourself feel the pain, the grief, the insecurity and uncertainty.
Dare to let yourself stumble,
fall into the Truth and Joy that awaits you.
Do exactly what shames you.
When you get close enough to its face you'll blink twice and realize
that you're staring at yourself in the mirror but at 5, 6, maybe 7 years old.
You fling the cabinet door open and pull out all of your overalls and wranglers you never wear anymore.
It is a question of whether you will stay fearful or not.
It’s a question of salvation and suffering.
Admit to yourself that eating is currently your favorite activity on earth for the time being.
McFlurries aren’t the devil!
Impulsively cut off all your hair (Reason, within reason).
Proclaim that you’re bisexual even though that word means nothing to you beside
Images of her sweaty shoulder blade in the dark
Blinking on and off in your frame of mind.
You worry about losing your job cause you have lost all your old motivations,
there’s too much space for your anxieties.
Know the patience of the redwood,
A heart like lion’s.
But in reality,
Things feel slowed down, immensely so
And your mind bides the time worrying that you should be lonely
That you’re a failure and a broken promise.
How do you spell freedom?
The sign blinks blue and red, Closed.
Why won’t you let me in?
Don’t try to be anything but a
You’re trying to remember the
secrets past words.
Pluck the hornets hive
And listen to their song-
Pray that you will not abandon life
As everyone seems to be doing.
Pray that it will all hit you
That you’ll drop down on your knees right where you are,
Perhaps in your neighbor's backyard,
and kiss the dirt you walk upon,
And wonder whose story was that.
*All Poems copyright Nanette 2015