(aka: Don’t Look Now, Your Underbelly is Showing)
As life percolates and the world rocks and rolls around us, bringing our personal and collective underbellies to the surface at a hot boiling roll (required for a good soup, less enjoyable in a thin-skinned canoe), we are all coming face to face with everything we’ve ever tried to ignore – in our lives, our minds, our hearts – in our societies, our schools, our social lives – in our politics, our planet, our partnerships. Reality coming up with a big, red R. You see, that’s what “ascension” is all about, apparently – although that wasn’t in the big print on the brochure – you had to really want to know this aspect, enough to read the fine print down the side of the envelope.
I think of it almost like a French press coffee mill – you know the type –
you can’t pull up just the top, because it’s all connected. When you lift the lid, that plunger comes with it – just like in life, with personal or planetary work – when you raise the top, the bottom comes along. That’s just how it works. And actually, that’s a very good thing, when you think about it – no movement without the whole. And yet, as that bottom is surfacing (which many will tell you is a necessary step in creating the perfect cup of coffee – letting the coffee bloom), any grounds that have escaped in our momentary makings may reveal a sludgy mess that’s not fit for drinking, at least not without a strainer and a major coughing fit.
That’s what’s happening now in this gloriously chaotic and slightly terrifying dance we call life. As it happens, as things surface that we’ve all tried very hard to keep up-covered, some of those things for as long as we’ve lived, some consciously, some not – well, let’s just say the light of consciousness certainly makes some things very clear, including perhaps a few things we don’t really want to see, don’t yet feel prepared to deal with. Things we’ve been sweeping under the rug every Friday before dinner. Um-hmm. Don’t think Life didn’t see that!
If you’re like me, all the situations this simultaneously brings into your awareness and all the personal growth and letting go and taking hold and trusting and knowing and simply being that it calls for, on so many different levels, can feel a bit overwhelming. This wasn’t advertised on the pony ride, and I’m not so sure I want to play along anymore. This isn’t what I came for – at least not on a conscious level, not at the moment.
In the midst of all this, one phrase keeps coming to mind, surfacing like one of those beans, ready, fully cooked, just like a good soup – coming to the surface because it is time to take that next right step about *whatever is coming to your surface, to our surface. I’ll be frank (or Joe or Bob), I don’t remember where I first heard this phrase, or even if I made it up in some literary dreamland – but the words bring me back to my center, grounding me, every time I slow down enough to hear them: “That being the case, now what?”
Those syllables carry a very practical idea – a very helpful idea – about accepting things as they are – dripping wet and slightly stinky from having been kept underwater for far too long, in the flooded basements of our deepest knowing. We can’t change the past. (Well,
one could debate that, and some people do, but let’s just roll with this thought for a moment.) If we can’t change the past, if we can’t change the people around us, if the only thing we can change is US, and if we can’t even change that until we face the full reality, both gory and glorious, of who we are, on all these levels – well, all this up-stirring may be the greatest gift we’ve ever been given. And let’s face it, we’re all in need of a party these days – a lightening of spirits, a gathering of joy, a giving of gifts – you can’t have a good party without gifts. Even if we define what those are a little differently. Even if it’s the most peculiar party you’ve ever been invited to, and it may not be turning out exactly the way you expected.
The party’s still on. The party of life that is, if you’re still topside and kicking. And the gifts just keep on giving. Bringing everything to the surface that we need to see, so we can take that next right step, whatever it may be. We can’t take that step until we know what we’re dealing with, look it straight in the eye, have a real heart to heart, and make what may be some tough decisions. One nice thing about this party – you know all those years of digging you’ve done – looking for what you need to fix, what you need to work on, what you need to root out, what you need to let go? Well, you don’t have to dig anymore. It’s coming to YOU now – just like that coffee press. You can put your little beach shovel aside, because the universal steam engine is hard at work in your favor. It may not look like that, or feel like that, right now. But it’s true.
So in each situation that we become aware of, as things come to light and we do our best to put down roots, grounding in faith that this really is all for the best, staying present in this moment, right here, right now, no matter what we’re faced with, as we realize, we’re truly better together, and that we *do need to extend ourselves, just as much as we need vibrant community (healthy communities require both giving AND receiving, you know), as we do our best to live fearlessly, mindfully, locally, flexing, fulfilling, refusing to compromise our inner truths and needs and love and light, those words can come back to us, moment by moment, asking us, as we ask ourselves: That being the case, now what?
Whatever I’m seeing, whatever is happening around me – it is what it is. Or maybe it’s so
much more, or even so much less – but for right now – this is what is presenting. This is what I need to deal with. This is what I need to make a decision on, take action on. This is what I need to love, even if that means letting it go. This is what I need to accept, with a key reminder that accepting means acknowledging reality, not agreeing to do nothing about it – like the flat tire on your car last month – you had to accept that reality before you could change the tire, remember? Aha!!!! So that’s how that works.
And then – asking yourself, myself, time and time and time again: That being the case, now what?
If you start asking yourself that question after every single thought or experience that rolls through your world, you may be surprised what comes out. I can assure you, it will be a very enlivening experience, in ways you can’t yet imagine. It will be very grounding, because it will require you to do like that lovely poem says – “start close in” – not ten feet, not five feet, not three feet out – you have to start with what’s directly in front of your right big toe. Look down. See it? There it is. What is that? That thing you keep stubbing your toe on, each time you try to move forward. I hate to break it to you, but in this world, in the state we’re in, until you take care of that toe-blocker, nobody’s going anywhere – and that means you.
So, today, tomorrow, next week, whenever you realize you’re feeling stuck, look down. Look for those toe blockers. What’s directly in front of you? What is your next quarter-inch right move? Maybe there’s something just surfacing in the mud – all the recent flooding can make that happen. Or maybe you’ll look down and see a trip wire leading to something big over on the side that your blinders, whether self- or other-applied, have conveniently kept from your vision. I don’t know what you’ll see, but I guarantee you there’s something there, and you’ll recognize it, if you just look closely enough.
When you see it, don’t look away. It’s ok to blink. It’s ok to flinch. It’s ok to feel. Just don’t look away. Don’t turn your back. Don’t go back to live in the desert, even if it’s scary trying to cross out of it. Face whatever you need to face, dead-on, in the ways you will know, you *already know, are good and necessary – if you’ll just relax and let that knowing come to the surface, along with the rest of those beans. Relax, let the revelation come, look at all that is revealed, in its beauty, in its horror – and ask yourself: That being the case, now what?
Don’t fixate on either extreme. That’s not the point. There are differences between facing, fixing, and fixating. And if you’ll slow down long enough to look, to listen, to focus, you’ll know what those differences are.
So now, back to our question: That being the case, now what?
Namaste, kind friends, wherever you may be.
(C) 2016 Mary Batson, FrontPorchRambles.com
All rights reserved, including the one to strain those grounds, then offer them to the nearest rose bush.