Saturday, February 24, 2007

February 24: Wisdom

I'd like to share a little about _Wisdom_, as I understand it just now. Perhaps it will give you joy in some way -- I imagine especially those who have done Arete.

I have for years considered doing Arete. First, because of a completion party I was at (also my first professionally paid fire dancing gig) at which I met Travis. At the party, Marcella came up to me and said something that I would categorize now as poignantly honest. It was some insight about my social awkwardness and it was delivered with such innocence and love, it really made me curious about the Arete experience. You see, Marcella was answering my question about Arete, "What is it?"

Bryan did it, then Travis. Then a series of people I really respect and love. Then I felt pressured to do it. Then I felt judged at some point -- I'm sure it was my hallucination. Then I felt on the outside. Then I wasn't hanging out with so many folks in the Arete community. Then I returned to see many from that community who thought I had done it.

I've had an interesting relationship with attending and not attending for at least 5 years now. What strikes me about it is the idea of "being open" and what that means.

My greatest sense of openness shows up for me when I play with flow toys. Over the years, I've been integrating that flow into the rest of my life, working towards greater openness... Sensing that was better for me somehow but not really knowing why.

The past 36 hours has been fairly packed and intense for me. It included having the great pleasure of celebrating the inspirational life of a dear friend as well as the amazing gift of educating a 14 year young woman who flew in with her uncle to take a poi intensive with me.

The experiences was touching and concluded with me getting to witness Aria perform a little piece of choreography, most of which she couldn't do 36 hours ago. Then her uncle Joey gave me a gift.

It was wrapped in brown paper with GlitterGirl written on it and there was a heart over the "I" -- I was touched by that because I just decided how to sign "isa" on paper in the past few weeks: I am putting a heart as the "dot" on the "I".

I walked out of the building with the beautiful gift and got swept up into a hilarious series of misunderstandings with a good friend resulting in the expected expenditure of about $50. I thought that was a bummer.

Yet I maintained a good spirit, stayed in my center pretty well (at least by self-to-self comparison) and, to my great joy, remained _open_. I found my way home finally and kicked back to open the gift.

It is a beautiful book called Wisdom: 365 Thoughts from Indian Masters by Danielle and Olivier Foolmi.

I didn't notice at first, but there was a very beautiful thank you note and tip inside the book on the page with today's date on it. The amount? $50. Perfection I thought.

And then it got better. I sat there reading some of the quotes, thinking how awesome Joey was and reflecting on the craziness of the last 36 hours of my life.

Then I intentionally made myself open -- for the first time in my life I recall feeling completely at choice about my ability to open, particularly in the face of lots of things that in the past would have had me close.

Because of this, my understanding of openness has completely shifted... I realized it as I was reading a passage ("In nature, action and reaction are continuous. Everything is connected to everything else. No one part, nothing, is isolated. Everything is linked and interdependent. Everywhere everything is connected to everything else. Each question receives the correct answer" - Svami Prajnanpad) of _Wisdom_:

Being able to choose openness in every moment is freedom.

It is the freedom to choose to remain open when I might otherwise unconsciously close. I imagine it must be enlightenment.

I also can see so clearly so many ways in which I resist opening -- like resisting Arete for so long. . . which I am grateful I will be doing in May.