So this is it.
This is what the practice is for. This is the lesson I have been waiting for since that first day I arrived on that red sticky mat and learned I didn’t know how to breathe.
You don’t just show up once and figure it out, because that one time the sun may have shown brightly on you and the path was so clear. But that’s not reality. There is always mist; if not at dawn then at dusk. Mist, fog, wind, storms…it will arrive. And it will thrash you from right to left, like a little kid being tossed around in the cabin of grandpa’s sail boat on the Long Island Sound.
Sure, there is lightness in there. That little kid laughed about it. But now the wind blows through my hair, and my hair is thinning. Falling out slowly and exposing the nakedness of my scalp.
The darkness is getting heavier, the fog thicker as the days go on. It’s not what I expected. There are so many moments when, if I look closely enough, the light of the night sky illuminates the silhouette of the open door even in the darkest room. But then I blink, and all is black again.
I smack my face on the wall. The generator explodes in flames.
Breath in. Exhale. There are no expectations. Nothing is real and nothing is permanent. Just show up. It’s just practice.
So what the fuck do I practice for? In hopes that the fog will lift? In hopes that it will all make sense? Sense is not possible. This I know.
5 treatments down, but 7 more to go. Chemo works because it’s cumulative so the final half could be a lot worse than the first. And the longer we’re on this convoluted fucking path, the further our home drifts away from the dream we envision. Are our dreams enough?
Is this is a test? Of commitment? Of dedication? Of strength? Of what?
Or is this a privilege because you know I – we – will come out on top. We will learn more, we will find our way, we will be better students and stronger teachers.
But will I break before we get there? Will he?
I know the mat is laid out for me. It’s always there, always receptive. It absorbs the tears that flow from my eyes. The tears disappear into the years of practice; tears of joy and tears of sorrow become the same.
So this is it. Here we go.