The Shimmering Grace thing seems to be still working. I ordered a book quite awhile ago with nothing but the tittle to go on: The Power of Grace: Recognizing Unexpected Gifts on our Path. (By David Richo) Just shimmered at me while I was ordering another book on the Shambhala website. It has been quietly living on our coffee table for months.
Meanwhile, I decided to have cataract surgery as a vote for even having a future in which to see anything, shimmering or not. And now my next CT scan is on the immediate horizon, this Friday. We’ll know next Tuesday what’s what. The surgery went well a week ago but was stressful for a number of reasons, none of it too extreme. Nothing miraculous yet, but after my second eye is done, I am told I may be able to read without glasses. We’ll see. I haven’t been able to read without glasses since the 4th grade, so that would be fun.
My life is extremely limited now. I have about 4 hours of energy a day. Mostly I do laundry, make the bed, clean up the kitchen, water the gardens, comb out more loose fur from Tara’s heavy coat, walk to the village to pick up our mail, and I’m done – down for a 3 hour nap. Talking on the phone is okay if it’s only one or two people, but in person visits wear me out after about one hour or so. Usually in the evening I have another 2 hours or so of energy left. Meeting with any groups over 4 people are a challenge. Fun, and I love it, but still, a challenge energetically speaking. So, living in a life the size of a postage stamp! It’s still all good because it is, well, living.
So many people want to visit me now, it’s both daunting and also amazing to me. I have no idea how to triage this, and often I actually just forget who wants to see me. I need a list! I can only realistically visit with one or two people a week, or less. For people coming from out of town, we make room somehow. Some of these journeys are perilous in nature so we honor them as best we can, floored by so much love.
What I’ve noticed is that people who do visit tell me, with some degree of surprise I guess, that I “look so well”. Even the Tibetan doctor Dr. Nida said that my life force pulse is strong. Good to hear. More on that encounter another time.
My new, internally guided map making ground to a halt, though. I stopped the intense efforting I was doing, that was so successful, and then shut down, started eating chocolate chip cookies and reading novels. And yes, resting deeply.
And that’s where the book, The Power of Grace, comes in. I picked it up, finally.
Here’s the quote that caught my attention: “Too much reliance on effort is one danger (a whole section on that, much to my surprise. This book is exactly addressing where I am right now.) but another is too little trust in the need for it. Grace loses its meaning when it does not stir and spur us. We then believe we lead a charmed life instead of being required to lead a responsible life. When grace and effort work in an integrated way, we see that grace is a cue to us to exert ourselves. We can be so pleased with grace, however, that we become overconfident. We imagine that grace will keep coming our way with no follow-up needed on our part. This is quietism. ”
Which is the opposite of activism, excess focus on effort. Some have an idea that their effort will result in merit, which this author discounts pretty easily, both historically and throughout various spiritual paths. Grace is pure gift, it’s not a reward for effort. You don’t earn it.
The way out of this is to cultivate universal love, beyond merit or demerit, beyond too much effort or too little effort – give myself utterly to loving -kindness, and let my heart lead the way, one step at a time.
Well, okay then. I wish I would remember this, and not keep forgetting. But I do.
About the upcoming CT scan? I am completely freaked out. Last time, in February, I went from a Stage IV to a Stage III. This time? Who knows. I have some reason to believe that it will not be good news. And also some reason to believe that it might be a fucking miracle. I don’t think there’s much room for it being both/and but again, who knows.
Sending all of you oodles of love, and deep respect for your journeys, whatever they are. Stay well. Follow your heart.