30 Days of Gratitude: Day 22

My last offering of gratitude for the week I spent in Pittsburgh goes to all the unintentional opportunities to do the Work.  Imagine 17-19 people in a spacious, yet single-family home; eating together out of a small galley kitchen and one dining room table; sleeping together in four, large basement rooms on a few beds and mostly air mattresses (four people slept outside in tents).  Add four bathrooms with two showers.  Also add three little dogs, two of them quite old and temperamental, who lived in the kitchen/family room area.  Then, floor the meeting room, dining room, walkway to the kitchen, hallway to the bathrooms with showers, and exit to the pool with expensive carpet that Melanie wanted kept dry and spotless.  Include dozens of antique china plates, cups and saucers displayed openly all around the dining and meeting areas.  Surround the pool area with a huge garden of precious day lilies and set old, fragile jade plants near the entryways.  And keep boxes of wine available on the kitchen counter to those who would like to imbibe.

To say we needed to stay conscious and self-aware just doesn’t cut it.  And of course, none of us could hold that awareness perfectly.  Wine got slopped.  A plate broke.  An ink pen marked the sofa.  Pool water puddled in the bathrooms.  Rules got forgotten, remembered, then forgotten again as our attention was captured by discussion topics, the rush to finish in the bathroom so someone else could use it, fatigue, finding a place to perch to eat a meal, or the heat.  The tension of navigating so many people in a high-maintenance space created the potential of sending us all into our personalities and egos, but it also created the potential of building chi.  And with more chi comes more raw material to build consciousness.

I felt myself doing both—diving into personality (especially when I broke a plate) and building chi.  And as I worked that space between the two, I marveled how I continued to be emotionally stable under all that stress.  My emotions and reactions were the same ones everyone else had—irritation, wounded pride, guilt, shame—and my response was the same as others as well.  Clean it up, shake it off, and move on.  And while the work of holding awareness and tension was incredibly difficult, the fact that I could accept my imperfection in the task seems huge to me.  I am who I am, whether that’s stable or during an episode, aware or asleep, fat or thin.  No more apologies.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. strugglingwithbipolar
    Aug 07, 2011 @ 17:32:07

    I think that it’s amazing that you are able to accept yourself as you are. It is something I continue to struggle with in life. It is something I am working on as part of my radical acceptance practice. It just isn’t easy.


  2. Kathryn McCullough
    Aug 08, 2011 @ 07:24:38

    Bless your heart. I am bad, bad about dropping and breaking things, so I can relate. Thanks for another gratitude post–meta thank you!


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