Friday, August 5, 2016

The Rainbow Comes and Goes

This is the title of the book I just finished listening to.  It is a record of the email correspondence between Anderson Cooper and his mother Gloria Vanderbilt in the year 2015.  It is about "a mother and son on life, love and loss." 
I have really loved listening to this because it was their voices and it felt like they were talking to me.  Gloria Vanderbilt is now 92 and really takes the time in this to unflinchingly look back at her life and the sorrows and joys and the failures and successes.  She is unafraid to face the mistakes that changed and shaped her life and to understand them and to forgive herself.  And it is clear that this kind of wisdom does not come easily or quickly.  It was an honest and thought provoking book and I imagine I will continue to reflect on it for some time.

The title is from a quote by Wordworth "The rainbow comes and goes and lovely is the rose" which speaks to the transcience of all things in life.  Life is sweet and  beautiful at times and hard and ugly at other times and none of it lasts forever. 

I am experiencing a week of the rainbow coming and going.  Tuesday I saw my spiritual director and spoke to her about feeling uncertain and  "groundless" and not knowing what to do about some issues in my life. Sunday I bought and started reading Pema Chodron's "When Things Fall Apart" and underlined this passage and wrote it in my journal:
"Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth."

And the truth that I know is that I am not in control of much.   In the aftermath of a stolen van,  as we replace keys and locks and garage door openers, I have to face personal insecurity and a sense of violation  I have to watch people I care about suffer and struggle and feel concerns on many levels . At the same time - I have some responsibility to maintain boundaries that may affect them and our relationship.  And there I am - groundless, fearful, confused and uncertain.  At times

But today I have a greater peace for some reason that I don't even know.  Except that maybe as I continue to interact with people on this journey - both in person and through books - I realize that these uncomfortable feelings are truly one of the blessings or gifts of being awake in life. In The Soul of a Pilgrim, there is a chapter on the practice of embracing the unknown. The author writes"The divine is that power which disrupts everything: it is at heart a great mystery at work."

Wouldn't be wonderful to believe only in the God who brings order and peace?  What I keep learning is that our God is in every moment  - the chaos, the confusion, the doubt, the danger, and the despair.
The rainbow comes and goes  - and God is present in all of it.

Ending with a quote from Pema Chodron:

The trick is to keep exploring and not bail out, even when we find out that something is not what we thought.  That's what we're going to discover again and again and again. 
 Nothing is what we thought., I can say that with great confidence.
Emptiness is not what we thought.
Neither is mindfulness or fear.
Compasion - not what we thought.
Buddha nature.
These are code words for things we don't know in our minds, but any of us could experience them.
These are words that point to what life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment.

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