“I’m going on an adventure”. Thus spoke Bilbo Baggins as he left his comfortably stocked larder in his cozy hobbit hole, an allegory which could rightly apply to any of our lives. What comfortable rut – perhaps disguised as “the good life” might be holding us back from our unlimited potential? In my own case, I was captain of the good ship “CommuniChi”, with a huge bank of windows from the bridge overlooking a panorama of the Cascade Mountain range.
There are a lot of wonderful people at El Centro de la Raza that I made heart connections and smiles with on a daily basis – especially the people in the facilities department who were always gracious in supporting CommuniChi’s mission. My point here isn’t to stroll down memory lane pining for the past, but simply to set the stage at the outset of my tale. I had an increasingly self-limiting identity that was anchored to many little details of who I thought I was that over time obscured my view of the horizon. Does this sound familiar?
“You discover that there is a possibility of ….losing your identity as yourself, and dissolving into an utterly and completely harmonious situation, which is of course, the experience of the luminosity.” from The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa
As many of you already know, as part of my mid-life adventure, I decided not only to downsize my clinic and move to a cozy and warm space on the ground floor of my home, but I’m back in school, working towards a Masters in Counseling Psychology. My intention is to continue practicing community acupuncture, but to eventually offer counseling as part of a broader array of health care services, able to work with people in a variety of healing capacities – physical, mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual. Hence, I needed to downsize the scale of my business in order to make room for something new.
“A university professor went to visit a famous Zen master. While the master quietly served tea, the professor talked about Zen. The master poured the visitor’s cup to the brim, and then kept pouring. The professor watched the overflowing cup until he could no longer restrain himself. “It’s full! No more will go in!” the professor blurted. “This is you,” the master replied, “How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup.” (source unknown)
Most of the Masters programs I’ve looked at emphasize writing over test taking, which is a welcomed relief. Yesterday, I took a writing test at one school. We were given forty five minutes to compose a response to a psychologist’s statement about the science, art, rules of engagement, and other salient details relevant to the psychotherapeutic relationship. And get this – we had to write our essay using an actual pen or pencil, no keyboard, no thesaurus apps. We were told not to worry much about spelling or handwriting – they were mainly interested in seeing how we organized and composed our thoughts. I read and reread the statement, wrote a paragraph, crossed it out, paused – five minutes had already passed – but I remained decidedly calm and confident. I started writing again.
I did not know exactly where the writing would take me – do we ever know where we will end up – whether we depart with a pen, keyboard, paintbrush, or step outside the door of our comfortable hobbit hole? But I knew where to start – in the present moment, the ground under my feet – which in the case of the essay was simply to restate the essential question rhetorically and then explore the differences between science and art, knowledge and wisdom. When the test proctor announced “time”, I had just emphatically brought down the pen onto my final period.
But that was yesterday. Today I am back on the keyboard composing a new story, not sure where it will lead but enjoying the scenery, the sense of wonder, and discovery, and the letting go into the luminosity of the unknown. Thanks for being part of my adventure. I look forward to serving you soon.
Note: The acupuncture clinic will be closed this Wednesday while I observe classes at Seattle University, plenty of openings on Friday and Saturday.
Blessings of peace,