Friday afternoon I was getting poked full of delicious needles by my wonderful, witchy acupuncturist.
And between the resulting blissfully doped-out state and a brain-scramblingly fantastic Shiva Nata practice a bit earlier to shake up some old, stuck patterns … well, I found myself in a pretty deep meditative zone.
So. Here’s what I experienced.
I was deep inside my body in an enormous room, and everywhere there were layers of some gauzy dirty-pink material.
It was like cotton batting. Or a thinner version of that fiberglass insulation stuff they use in building houses.
I knew instantly what it was.
It was regret.
Insulation made of regret?
Yes. Sort of.
I asked some questions. The regret was old and a bit bedraggled. There wasn’t any sadness left in it.
It was more like … a shadow of regret. A casing that had once enclosed sadness but didn’t anymore.
Okay. So I poked around a bit more. I asked things like “What does this regret need from me right now?” and “What happens now?” and “What is the kindest, most compassionate thing for me?” and “What do I need?”
And what emerged was that this regret was ready to leave and it was asking me to take it down. So I started gently untangling and unwinding, and whenever my arms filled up with a serious pile, it disappeared.
As I worked, I asked more questions, trying to learn more about where the regret came from, what purpose it served, if there was anything else I needed to know.
I was especially curious because, generally speaking, I don’t tend to think of myself as someone who has a lot of regrets, or any, really.
Fear, anger, guilt, sadness, resentment, sure. I work with and through these emotions all the time.
But regret? Not really. Not lately. I’ve spent so much time making peace with things, reminding myself that at any given moment I was doing the best I could with the tools I had available at that time. This felt like new territory for me.
This was regret that was no longer alive.
This regret didn’t have any emotional charge to it anymore.
Nor did there seem to be any specific memories attached to it. It was empty, spent.
As if it was the wrappings from various things I’ve discarded or cleared over the past few years.
And oh boy, was there a lot of it.
So I made my peace with the idea that I wasn’t going to be able to get a clear read on what this regret was about or where it had come from, and I was just helping it go where it needed to go.
You know what happened then?
As I peeled and unraveled the soft, dirty-pink layers of regret, I discovered that there were tall wooden poles holding it all up.
Unlike the regret, which wanted nothing more than to be allowed to leave, these poles weren’t going anywhere.
I stood looking up at them, at the beautiful wood, at their firm, confident stance.
And I asked, “What are you?”
Instantly, the phrase that came into my head was “U’fros aleynu sukkat shlomecha“, which is a line from the Hebrew prayer Hashkiveinu from the Friday evening service.
Spread over us your canopy of peace.
These wooden poles were — apparently, weirdly — the structure for my own, personal canopy of peace. They were supposed to be there.
So I started strolling down this long corridor (or maybe it was a path), flanked by my wooden poles, and sheltered by my new canopy of peace.
Being under the canopy reminded me of a lot of things at once.
It reminded me of walking down the Karl-Marx Allee in East Berlin in the middle of the night — dark happy trees on each side, their branches leafing out above me.
The same street during the day when there’s so much green there you can hardly see anything but leaves.
And it reminded me of a wedding canopy with no one under it.
This made me think of the deep, complicated, loving, challenging relationship that I have with myself.
And the commitments I make to myself to keep getting better at learning how to give myself love, and stuff like that.
It reminded me of forests. It was lovely. I was very happy under my canopy of peace.
And (finally) getting to the part that has to do with you.
Of course — and forgive me, because I’m about to say something that sounds seriously cheesy but is very earnest — I completely see my business as a canopy of peace.
The whole reason I do this thing — the blog, the consulting, the writing — is that I want to have a safe, cozy, comfortable place where my Right People can show up as they are, with all their stuff and their stucknesses, and feel safe, supported and loved.
Where I can show up with my stuff and my stucknesses, and feel safe, supported and loved.
And I have that. Which is ridiculously awesome, and something I wish for you too, if you want it.
What I realized though, while walking beneath my canopy, was that I don’t always share with you that much of my own process.
Sorry, I just said process. You know what I mean. How I get there. How I work through things. How I stumble and what happens then.
Indirectly, sure. I hint at it and refer to it. But you don’t often get to see what I do when I’m working through the things that I find challenging. And yeah, I find all sorts of things challenging.
So one of my intentions for this new year is to spend more of my time here doing that. Not just symbolically modeling how I do stuff, but letting you peek into the experience itself.
One more thing.
There are some big crazy changes happening inside of my business right now.
And I imagine that I’ll end up talking about them …. oh, a lot. At least over the next few weeks.
My big hope is that I’ll be able to talk about them in a way that’s honest and kind and useful.
That those of you who have businesses of your own will be able to use some of the stuff that I’ve gone through in my own (I’ll say it again) process.
And that you’ll have a little more perspective on how I do things, and why I do them in the way that I do them. And that this will be helpful for you.
That is all.
Glad you’re here. Wishing you good things. See you tomorrow …
Also, let me add that this Wednesday is Jen Hofmann’s wonderful “take two hours to get some peace of mind and much needed perspective while working through piles and stucknesses in your home office” thing.
I’m hopelessly addicted to taking this class and I wait for it the whole month.
You’re doing it with me, right?