braving mountain – hopping in iron horse and driving up, slowly, carefully, ascending great heights
passing signs of bear warnings, driving up into and across sleet / ice line, diving into fast paced environment
much courage and bravery are required, or ignorance of where one is treading
drifting off, wading through a field of others’ suffering, alert mind fading
gazing out window, sleet and ice at least an inch thick
remembering Garchen Rinpoche’s advice – “to allow the ice around our hearts to melt”
Recently I have started working at the local ski resort in a restaurant. There are some pros and cons to doing this, but it feels good to be mixing it up again – meeting many people, practicing humility, interacting with various types and most importantly, making some much needed $$ (I used to be in the food and beverage industry prior to 2006). However, in spite of taking a “regular person’s job” as a waiter, I am not able to escape the subtleties of life. That is, when metaphors come alive, and little things – like plumbing problems, freezing rain, thick fog, flooding, etc – keep coming up to grab my attention.
Down in the valley and in the city, there has been no inclement weather (yet, in the past week), but on the mountain, I have had to chisel my way into my car twice, and then I broke an ice scraper last night trying to free my windshield of a thick layer of frozen rain and sleet… This has happened two nights in a row. And it is just my second night of working! Oh, that is not to mention the soupy, mesmerizing fog I drive through to get down off the mountain.
You could say I took a job in a place that is known for its rough weather. And that would be quite true. You might also suggest that it is just melodramatic timing. And that seems to be the case as well. But I also wonder about the “melt the ice around your heart” statement and how there has been so much freezing rain up there. So far, on the job, I am doing an excellent job of keeping a low profile, maintaining inner neutral and saying something appropriate (truly compassionate) when someone who does not even know me starts talking about their suffering – nope sorry, I do not need to hear about it – at least not yet. Maintaining boundaries is a good practice, especially for an empathic Neptunian / Piscean type like myself.
In the midst of many changes, I am feeling some angst. I believe this inner drive has to do with practicing more, and as I attempt to honor my heart teacher’s recommendations, it is my intention to melt the ice around my heart. It’s like some spiritual astrology books say, “eggs cannot hatch in the refrigerator!” We need to introduce some lasting warmth and kindness into our lives, analyze our reactions and our mental habits and let go of that which no longer serves us – gently and at an appropriate pace.
My personal, provocative statement for this year is: may all sentient beings pierce through the veils of ignorance which prevent a limitless flow of compassion. To me, having to come down the mountain through veils of thick fog is reminiscent of living this provocative statement. I’m not saying the metaphors are that direct and instant for me, maybe when on retreat, but it is fascinating nonetheless.
Finally, between September 2009 and New Years 2010, I have been in buildings / apartments where three separate plumbing problems have occurred. There was flooding involved in two of those cases and once it was rather drastic. At the time, I was involved in a relationship where I was living out an old addictive pattern (among other things). You might say I was flooding my body with the “fight-or-flight” adrenaline, as I was feeling shock and severe contraction. I’m not sure why, but sometimes, I believe that if our system is in the midst of enormous changes (say transiting Uranus is crossing our Natal Sun), then it is good to rest way down and avoid many of the more normal human behaviors – when appropriate of course. Long story short, the flooding / plumbing metaphor had to be drilled into me on several occasions as I just did not seem to listen or contemplate its meaning at first.
Practicing kindness to self is very beneficial, as well as other tools for self care. Allowing the inner heat of authentic meditation to gradually melt the icy edges of the heart is also beneficial (not that I know anything about this). Knowing yourself and your patterns is helpful to making wise decisions. And so is being aware of the living messages – however nature gets them to you, open your mind and your heart to the possibility, and you may be amazed at what follows.