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It’s going to be hard. I don’t know when he’s leaving, but it must be sometime soon. It breaks my heart just a little bit more every day. There’s just… something about it that I can’t pin down. That I can’t… let go.

I gave Erika one of Eithne’s bracelets last night. Silver Celtic design. We had an issue over tutoring and I felt like she just couldn’t understand that we cared. That we were just another cog in the system fucking with her life; so I gave her the bracelet and told her to look at it whenever she felt we were getting on her about crap. Because if I gave her something so important to me, it’s obvious that we care about her a lot. I think she understood.

I have strep throat. Or so it feels like. I think I’m going to have to go to the Dr today (again). I just can’t get better. I’ve been awake since 5.30am. Not helpful. I see Barbara today–that at least should be helpful.

Sometimes I just feel so out_of_control of my life and my body. Especially when it comes to getting sick and getting well like this…

Abandonment. Terrifies me.

It seems everyone has gone these days, or is in the process of leaving.

Quietly closing the door, hoping I won’t notice.

The rain is still falling, echoing the falling of my tears. Trees, vulnerable and bare mock my own nakedness. Sometimes I’m tired of fighting, tired of surviving, tired of being everything that I am. But, there is no other choice. I exhausted those avenues years ago and am left with only this one…

I guess I’m just tired.

I lie, staring blankly at the ceiling. The memory of her hand gently caressing my face fades into the misty half-morning light. I fade with it. Sway of back, arch of breast echoed in each tear that trickles slowly down my pale cheeks and tumbles unwittingly into oblivion. I wish I could tumble with them. The whitewashed sky folds its suffocating embrace around the skeletal trees–and I exhale.

Another day.

I sit and I think, as I seem to do every morning, over my coffee. It’s been seven years I’ve been here.

Seven long years.
What have I done in those seven years?

Mostly, it would seem, I have wasted them. Created more problems than I have fixed.
So I sit, watching another mourning pass me by and wait for something to come to me.

It doesn’t.

I think about writing my life, but I laugh.
There are already a million books of a million lives like mine.

So I was abused my whole life. So I should be dead.
I don’t think I’m best seller material. I’m just another broken mirror, another shattered window.
Discarded and useless.

The sky is washed out, pale, hugging the trees fearfully.
I am scared. My past isn’t so far away and the future is too many tomorrows.

Today … today is washed out and pale,
and I hug my knees fearfully.

Well, it’s almost The Day. Sometimes, if I sit still long enough I wonder what in hell’s name I am doing. Taking the focus off me for a while? But, you know… I don’t think that there’s any point focusing ON me forever. I am never going to be entirely comfortable with my past. I am never going to embrace it or ask it to sit and drink tea, but maybe it’s okay to be me and not focus on the past. Maybe no one else needs to validate anything at all. Life is weird.

I don’t understand it most of the time, and I am beginning to think I don’t want to.

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It is the hardest thing to master. I hold on to everything with tightly clasped palms, afraid to let the rancid cockroach within them fly free. I cannot forgive them for what they did, no matter how long I berate myself or force myself, this round peg into the square hole of their choosing. I cannot accept what they did and lay it down on the road. I cannot unburden myself so easily. I hide behind fighting for the freedom of others, but what of myself? Trapped here? Sliding down a one way street to only one outcome.

I don’t know how to win this fight, I don’t know how to use my spirituality (what remains) or my knowledge to fight off this demon. I am an army of one, standing solitary against an angry hoarde.

Perhaps it was always supposed to come down to this.

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.”

-Pema Chodron

Another favourite from the semi-fated trip to the conservatory…

Orchids

Copyright Christina Cooper-Cummings 2007; All Rights Reserved.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately–just quietly thinking. I am very sick at the moment, with something that has yet to be diagnosed. I think it’s probably more autoimmune stuff, nevertheless it’s very disturbing to find myself ebbing away like this again.

My mind returns often to India and the peace and calm surrounding Dolma Ling and the nuns. I long to stroll out into the fields behind and lose myself amongst the long stems of wheat and barley. I long to awaken to the silence of the towering mountains, disturbed only by the call to prayer and the rythmical chanting of devotion.

It is a feeling I will never forget. A moment I will never forget. A journey that I could never forget even if I should try. India changed me, in ways I am still not sure of. The people I met changed me, the things I saw, the sounds and smells… all of it.

I forgot about illness and stress when I was over there. But since being back I’ve undergone over $6000 worth of testing and treatment. Luckily my insurance still pays most of the tab (though not all) and I hope that this round will be the last for a while…

At least, that is my prayer.

I let writing here slip. Just as I let everything slip, eventually. It became too hard to read my journal entries and process the feelings and faces from the trip. I miss India. Somehow it feels tainted because Adam died. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but just the knowledge of his passing is reflected in every photograph, every word written. Our group was a mismatched group, abrasive and yet caring. Each locked into his or her own journey, sometimes oblivious to the things around them. No one has shared pictures. No one has written. Each encapsulated back into their own monotony. It’s strange how things happen. How even the best events can become soured with remembrance. I wanted this trip to be a new beginning, and in a way it was–yet it’s a mirror image of so many other open doors. I don’t know why Adam died. I learned many things from his death, just as I learned many things from him. I also learned from the group not to trust, not to share, and not to believe others words. I thought, in their Buddhist way, that they would be more real and more honest… but that wasn’t the case. One or two–like Adam–spoke only truth when they did speak, but others spoke constantly and veiled themselves only with deception and masks.

Jaded? Perhaps. Disappointed? Certainly.

I wonder how everyone is doing, but know there is no reason to mail any one of them. I know because the mails I sent have remained unanswered. Perhaps Adam’s death polarized the feelings that separated us all… or perhaps it reminded us all of our mortality. Either way, I still cry when I see his picture, or remember his kind words to me. Of all people. I wonder why it was him and not me–but I already know the answer. He was a great and gentle man. He was far more enlightened than I can ever hope to be in my remaining days here.

It’s the small things I remember. The children as they swarmed over him, clamouring for his attention. The garden filled with butterflies flitting around his meditating form. The kind words and gentlemanly actions. The peace. The wisdom in his being that shone through his eyes. I take these things from the trip. Not the harsh words and actions of others, not the unanswered emails, not the feeling of rejection and lies told by others. I have been silent here for too long. It’s eating away inside. My mala rests undisturbed for weeks now, because I am afraid to practice. I am afraid of the festering feelings knocking at the walls of my heart. I cannot face my Buddha with the internal conflict that tugs at me now. I can’t even face the pictures of His Holiness or the Karmapa that adorn my altar.

I remember what the Karmapa said to me–in order to forgive others, I must learn to forgive myself. It’s hard. I try but inevitably come full circle. I know some of my actions will have others feeling the same anger towards me, and I wish to eradicate that by removing the hatred I have of myself. Why can’t I be a better person? Why can’t I have people like me, genuinely, for me? I know I am confused and have one hell of a past to deal with–but does that invalidate me as a person? Sometimes I feel as though it does. As though I can’t be close to anyone because they are afraid of me.

Perhaps I’m even afraid of myself.

Day Four

The mountains. Oh my Lord, the mountains. I forgot they were there until I looked up, and my eye was drawn upwards and upwards eventually stopping at the azure robe of the morning sky. How beautiful! I arose at 5.30am and went to prayers with the nuns. Walking past the dining room enroute to the temple, beautiful chanting echoed across the corridor. It was beyond words.  

This entry is hard to write. It reminds me a lot of Adam. He was staying in the clinic, in a little private room of his own (the guest house at Dolma Ling was all doubles and there were only four rooms, so with Debi making 8 women, there wasn’t room). The nuns seemed fascinated by his long hair and gentle bear like appearance. He was so tall and towered over most of them. He would always come to prayers, morning and evening and fold himself into a crosslegged position quietly and fully immerse himself in the process. Sometimes I forgot he was sitting right next to me. It seemed like he’d always been there. There are moments in my journal where I reflect on his status as lone male within the group as well as conversations and observations of him. Reading them now is hard. I’ve had this page open for two days. Perhaps I should simply add some photos, and come back to the words in a while…