Getting Unstuck

Pooltable in doorLast Sunday we contracted with movers to carry another load of stuff from our old house to our new house–stuff from the garage and the basement, including this pool table.  Our other helpers had taken off the base, but it still took quite a bit of maneuvering for the guys to get the table out of the old basement bulkhead entrance.  Then when we got to the new house, it got stuck in the bulkhead entrance here.  It was just that much tighter.

Carve OutWell, they pulled it back out, and then Margy and one of the movers got creative: they chipped and sawed away at the bulkhead framing, to make a little carve out, and finally, with only a small cracked corner, the table made it into the basement!
Along with the rest of the stuff that we hadn’t really been sure would fit into our smaller space.  Now it is leaning against the wall, until we have a chance to unpack enough boxes to clear a space for it.

Not that everything is out of the old house.  This has been a slow process, and there are still items that we are planning to give away through Freecycle, and Margy still has a few boxes to sort and shred, and then we’re likely to have a dump run.  But it is happening, and it is almost done.

A larger feeling of stuck-ness has been in getting the radon levels in the basement to an acceptable level to our buyers.  Our contract was signed on January 26, and we’ve been in due diligence phase since then–two months.  We’ve gone through 5 radon tests, at least as many visits from radon mitigators, drilling eleven holes in the floor to see what was going on, three more “drops” to the system, many hundreds of dollars, and an exhausted feeling that we’d be stuck in this bad movie forever.  I didn’t even have the energy to blog about it all.

But, today, we got the results of our latest radon test, and it passed!  The realtors are preparing documents, and we expect to have a signed contract by 5 p.m. completing the due diligence phase and setting a closing date for April 14th.  I almost didn’t dare to write that down, the last weeks have been so discouraging.  Who could have guessed it would be so difficult?  But it seems we are finally unstuck and moving forward again.

Reality is a Dance

Kayaker Reality is a dance between making plans, and responding to small and large disruptions. So to embark on a spiritual journey is to grow our capacity to practice, to plan, to wait outside, and then to embrace all that reality offers.

A spiritual practice is meant to help us develop the skill of embracing what comes to us as an opportunity to wake up. A spiritual practice helps us to be fully present and to pay attention. If we have not been practicing, we can get thrown off by life’s disruptions, become grumpy and anxious, shut down or reactive. In fact, that can happen even when we have been practicing. Kayak Tipped OverBut I know from long experience that the more I practice this embrace of reality, the easier it becomes to shift from resistance to curiosity, from crankiness to compassion.

The spiritual journey is our search for an immediate, personal experience of the larger reality, our connection to the earth, to each other, and to the Mystery that connects and upholds life. Let us go back for a moment to an experiment.

Notice the energy in your heart right now.
If you wish, create an invitation in your heart, open your heart to experience the larger Mystery that connects and upholds all life.

As feelings come up, imagine your breath filling and embracing those feelings. Be present to what emerges in your heart. If you feel emptiness, breathe into the emptiness. If you feel joy, breathe into the joy. If you feel confused, breathe into the confusion.

The beginning and the ending of spiritual practice are in paying attention to the energy of the present moment.

After the wondrous, after the experience of Mystery, we must always come back to the everyday. In pagan rituals, they say we must “ground the energy.” We remember to eat food or have a drink of water. In Buddhism, there is a saying, “after the ecstasy, the laundry.” Sanity is being able to switch our consciousness from the mysterious to the ordinary. Life is not static, it keeps moving. We are not meant to remain in emptiness or in ecstatic feelings. We are meant to be fully involved in all that life is about. Says one Western lama, “What became clear is that spiritual practice is only what you’re doing now. Anything else is a fantasy.”

The most important grounding is how our spiritual experience affects the rest of our living. In the end, we may ask, What is spirituality for? I would answer that our experience of the Mystery that connects and upholds life is meant to bring greater power and resources into growing in community with all that lives. Authentic spiritual practice will energize us for greater kindness, compassion, peace, and humility. May it be so.

In the waterQuote from Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy the Laundry, (New York: Bantam, 2000). p. 126