For Good Measure

A very long journal entry from the morning of August 18th, 2016 that feels so right to share in the rough...

It was such a special blessing to wake up on my birthday two days ago with balloons all over the Zodiac Hexagon Den. I feel so loved and appreciated in this Moon Sangha, and I wanted to give everyone a little taste of what it feels like to wake up to love on their doorstep. It's the last day of our month-long metaphysics course, day 5 of our culminated week in "silence." I say "silence" because oh, have I cheated! Tomorrow morning I end my 9 month journey in Guatemala to head back for the states, by way of Mexico. I needed to honor myself and say goodbye to the Lake in my own meaningful ways. 

So, for a little burst of love on this day of the auspicious Full Moon and the end of our time together, I decided to wrap a little Hershey Kiss in a note that says "You are loved :)" and tape it to everyone's door. I was delivering the last few just seconds before sunrise yoga and when I arrived at the Temple, the door was locked.

I was ultra bummed, as I really wanted to begin our last day together in this special, communal way. As I pouted a bit and walked to the side dock, I asked myself "What the hell is my Karma for this gesture of kindness???"

The dock was wet from the delicious rainfall all night long... rainy season is finally starting to make its appearance. After much contemplation of this unfortunate series of events, I decided to go get my yoga mat, pack a little bag of essentials (journal, water, banana), and come back down to be with the lake. Aside from a few moments of banter from a couple of older travelers, I have had the dock to myself for well over an hour now. I had THE most awakening, peaceful yoga practice - including crow and a baby headstand (working on dem physical body goals!). And I am able to enjoy this mystic, magic morning in proper communion with this home and heart of mine, Lago Atitlan. 

The air is still crisp, the sun is caressing and warming my skin. The Divine has so artfully filled the sky with clouds of every wisp, stroke and depth. It's as if I can see every single tree on Volcan San Pedro.. every crevasse of her impressive, towering form. And nestled in her foothills, the town of San Pedro. To see it at this distance across the lake and allow my mind to wander to the intense moments when I lived in her belly and danced with my shadow every night like a fool in the rain... it's just gratitude.

Those moments...
That place.

I learned to speak in two other tongues in that town. I healed one of the darkest moments of my past in that town. In that town, I breathed in and absorbed and took deep inside of every part of me the darkest truths of humanity and of myself, knowing full well...

I'll surely burn for this.
But I was going to burn anyways.
For that which is going to give Light,
Must be willing to catch fire.

I am ablaze. 

I'll never forget the sound of those boots, and all that they carried with them. It was 2am, outside of the huge Iglesia in the center of town. Coming down off a wild ride that started with my strangerfriend G at 9am and ended in an unexpected Lucy trip. Hours before, in the watchtower at Buddha Bar, G and I laughed hysterically at the ridiculous little mill of people far below. 

In. Out. Back In. Back Out. In again - once more - just for good measure. Just milling about - aimlessly from our vantage point - looking for a place to land and feel seen, heard, loved, accepted, known, held, told "You are beautiful. You are perfect. I love you."

In the end, that's really what this is all about. 

And now here I am on my dock... the sweet, supportive lake catching my tears.
What a profound truth to discover.
Yet again, just for good measure.

Moments before we arrived at the Iglesia, I had gotten G and I horribly lost coming back up the hill when I demanded it was time for Home. In the middle of the night (and thanks to my altered perception), the abandoned San Pedro looked so... fake and confusing. Like a back-country carnival fun house maze. Metal grates over the shop doors, brightly painted buildings glowing their tacky glow in the streetlights. Every decrepit piece of the patchwork was quintessential down-to-the-detail, and it felt like we were in the Guatemala section of the "It's a Small World" attraction at Disney. 

While our bodies made their ascension, my mind was feeling surreal... still lingering down below at the waters edge, where we sat at the very end of the Santiago dock. It precariously swayed with each wave, and we were surrounded with fog-blanketed, half-sunken buildings... abandonment and decay where there once lived excitement and the hope of prosperity. Our conversation went to such deep dimensions and at one point I screamed in the dark night - "I don't want to be loved like that! I don't want to be someone's everything!!!"

What does that even mean?
Why am writing about this night NOW, seven months later???

Throughout this month-long Moon Course, we do deep work on each of our bodies - physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. After much introspection, meditation, and journaling, we prompt ourselves to land on just ONE word that captures what we would like to embody in each layer.

My word for the emotional body is Vulnerable. An interesting, unexpected choice for this independent, globe-trotting, gypsy Leo. In looking at my obstacles to achieving this Ideal, I've been looking outward - "I'm afraid to be vulnerable because I've been abandoned." This is an old story and I KNOW I've healed this limiting belief years ago. 

No. The truth is, I'm afraid to be vulnerable because it's so much pressure to have someone rely on you.

To be beautiful. To be perfect in our million imperfections. To be loved. To be seen, heard, accepted and held. 
To just be.
No pretenses. No judgments.
Forgiveness, right at the start, for whatever might come from this humanness.
This unavoidable, raw humanness.

So I screamed and I wanted to run home. G wasn't ready to be alone with himself, with his thoughts. So I stalled to have "one last cigarette" for his sake, and we sat in silence on the steps of the Iglesia. And in the stillness of the abandoned night, from well more than a block away, we heard the boots. Clicking at an agonizing pace. One... two... t... h... r... e... e...

After what seemed like an eternity... clicking suspended in infinite time... Finally. The Man appeared in front of us and then disappeared around the next corner, his head hung so very low, moving to the rhythm of molasses. Click... clic... cli... cl... c...

Without even a glance at once another, G and I sighed the deepest universal sigh and hung our own heads so very low.

We could hear the loneliness of the entire world in those boots. Of every person who has ever lived and had to face the unavoidable moments of this humanness where we believe with every fiber of our beings that we are not - nor could we ever be - beautiful. Perfect. Loved.

I want to be in the moment again, right now! I want to throw my arms around The Man In The Boots At 2am, around G, around myself... hold us all so tight until we surrender into the knowingness that it's not true. We are those things, and so much more. 

THIS is why I do the work I do. This is why I express my Dharma as "helping people realize how beautiful they are."

This is why I go into moments of darkness, so I can see and know and hold the spaces where I can spread the Light. 

Last night in sunset meditation, for the fourth night in a row, we were pulling Oracle cards for each of our 4 bodies, for each of the 4 elements -- a process which takes FOREVER. I have been impatient in previous evenings in our large group of 20+ people. But not last night. In our silent meditation, I kept repeating my intention for the silent portion of the retreat:

Happiness, Abundance and Expression of Dharma for all living beings. 

It felt incredible and I was just moved to tears at the thought of ALL the multitude of happiness, abundance and expression of my Dharma that has found me in the past 9 months. I cried in joy at the thought of being back in San Diego in just 4 days... the thought of hugging my Soul Fam, the thought of sharing all that I've learned in an amazing workshop series I've created called Mayan Awakening. The thought of teaching all over the US again... it's just so precious and I feel complete. I feel ready for the next chapter of this journey. 

So when we began the long, arduous process of one-by-one pulling our Oracle cards, I decided to just wait and stay in meditation - left palm on my heart to receive the vibration of love, right palm turned upward to send that vibration outward. Each time I heard the bell chime with it's accompanying footsteps of someone rising to receiving their messages from the Divine, I silently send them the blessing:

Happiness, Abundance, and Expression of Dharma to you, Dear One.

My hands were pulsating with electricity and my heart overflowed. What a gift to hold space for another to blossom, whether they are aware of it or not.

I'm remembering how to make things sacred again.
Like bananas.
A bit of hunger strikes me with all this writing, and I tear open the yellow peel and prepare to sink my teeth in deep.
Instead I pause.
I admire my banana. I touch its flesh. I tell it it's beautiful.
I can't BELIEVE this came from the earth.
What a gift.
It melts in my grateful mouth.

Recounting the story of the little people-ants below the watch tower at Buddha Bar reminds me of sunset meditation just two nights ago. I was NOT patient. At ALL. I think I stood fourth or fifth to receive my cards and lie down... to "get it over with." As I lay with my head toward the Center Pyramid in the Temple, it was like absolute chaos around me... thud thud THUD of footsteps as I listened to everyone get up. Circle round. Pull cards. Move to the next. Go back. Lay down. Next. Next. Next. 

These people were a herd of mammoths and I couldn't help but muse to myself "What in the ACTUAL FUCK is going on out there?!?" And then.... near-hysterical silent laughter... "No one knows what the fuck is going on out there!"

A metaphor for life, so humorous to me in the moment. We have no fucking clue. But we go out and in, around, stand up, lay down, and go in again.. just for good measure. Because we are explorers. Because we are participants. Because we are seekers of Love.

And it's here in this perfect moment that I've found my Karma for taking the extra time to love on everyone this morning. You see, Karma is not a system of retribution. It's simply one link in the chain of life, affecting another and another.. nothing good or bad. Just the domino effect of synchronicity.

Because I chose to take the extra time to love on everyone this morning, I was able to receive this remarkable, immeasurable gift on the dock... of love and time...
With myself. With my practice. With my journey. With my amazing Lake MotherSisterFriend.

It's hard to even imagine a moment more perfect than this. The lake is a calm mirror. The sweet men in their ancient canoes chat with one another in their native Mayan tongue, allowing the glassy surface of the water to effortlessly carry their voices. I've never seen people tackle tireless, grueling, daily labor with such joy and jubilee as they do here in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. And I really think it's because the Maya see love everywhere. In each sunrise, in each ear of man's creator Corn, in every tiny fish of the thousands they must catch to satiate the village, and in the nets that do the catching. They are in love all the time -- literally IN it.

And when that kind of divine truth reaches your being - whether it's through months of deep conscious soulwork or through subconscious deep cultural roots - the only thing left to do is celebrate.

And then celebrate once more.
Just for good measure. 

All my love ~

Monica Graves