Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Leaving the garden

Our youngest leaves with a friend this morning for a month of camping in the Southwest. Like her parents, she's a bit of a control freak, so she's been preparing for this trip for a while. But there are still enough unknowns ahead to make anticipation scary. So, after a lifetime of carrying her precious Bear-Bear everywhere with her, she's elected to leave him behind, thinking he might be safer at home.

This adds to the stress of the trip, in a way: leaving him behind is a way of acknowledging that "bad stuff" could happen. But knowing he won't be there to comfort her in a crisis is also difficult for her. So it was with interest and some amusement (what ever drove me to pick this book up and open it to this passage, which I don't ever remember reading?) that I read these words in Richard Rohr's Everything Belongs this morning.

"Until we are two or three years of age, we know ourselves primarily in the security of those who hold us and gaze upon us. It's not heard or seen or thought. It's felt...when we first begin to doubt that and move outside of that kinesthetic knowing...we take little things like Teddy Bears... to reassure ourselves that union is truth. ...The child does not want to let go of that kinesthetic knowing. Mom had given her such a primal experience that life is union. There is not infant; there is only infant/mother. It is one reality. When I begin to see myself through other eyes than my mother's, which tell me I'm the beloved, when I see myself through eyes that compare, judge, and dismiss, then the division begins and conscious spirituality/religion is needed."

When I read this, it helps me comprehend the deep impact of the hugs I've been getting this last day or two. We stand together in the hallway, my daughter and I, surrounded by all the detritus of packing, and when we hug there is this deep sense of connection, very physical, right at the heart level. It's always there, with both my girls, but now it seems to be taking on a life of its own, as it always does during periods of major transition.

And if I look at that feeling, step into it, I realize it is the same deep heartfelt sense of connection I feel in meditation at its best; a reminder that God loves us as we love our children, with the same acceptance of the need for separation and the same awareness of longing for union.

"It has to happen," says Rohr. "We have to leave the garden. We can't stay there, letting mother gaze at us [or holding Bear-Bear] forever...It is only important that you have a garden to remember...True religion parts the veil and returns us to the garden and tells us our primal experience was trustworthy. It is, finally, a benevolent universe, and it is on our side. The universe is radical grace. Therefore we do not need to be afraid. Scarcity is not the primary experience, but precisely abundance. Now I can relax and let go."

Yes, there is a garden; there is a place that is safe and real where you have always been loved. We don't always get to stay there: we have lessons to learn and roads to travel. But the garden is always there waiting for us, deep at the root of those heart connections we form and feel over the years.


M.L. Gallagher said...

Diane, I so relate to this post. Thank you -- I love this line from Rohr: "The universe is radical grace."

My yougnest daughter left in January for 8 months abroad. Five at University in the Netherlands, and three travelling. She left behind, "Blankie", her childhood to adult compatriot who was always there with her, at sleep overs, under her pillow, everywhere she slept, Blankie slept with her.

It was a tough call. Do I leave him? she asked. She was torn. She washed him before she left. A not too frequent event as Blankie tended to unravel at the slightest provocation.

Finally, she left him behind.

On our first Skype call I asked -- what's that furry thing behind your head? She promptly replied. I miss Blankie -- I bought myself a Pandabear neck pillow.

Home. That place where we feel safe no matter the storms around us -- as long as HOme is and always was a place of comfort.

Like the garden. Always there no matter what roads we travel.

Beautiful post -- thank you. And the photo is stunning.


Maureen said...

A touching post, Diane.

The garden: At OurCancer we created a place within the site we call Leroy's Garden and it meets all those words you use here to describe "garden".

L.L. Barkat said...

Gorgeous photo. :)