everything

I've been living inside a tornado ever since I did my basic training. A lot of moments have been incredibly dark, but others have been so many other things. Things like clarity, and empowerment, and some kind of expanding of the heart. Even if I did want to fight the torrent, I can't. I'm letting it carry me. I trust it. Jorge was right when he said the training never stops. The training is a positive feedback loop - it didn't even begin until I left that room at the Marriott. Now, still, always, the training pounds in my eardrums. 

I'm moving. Today I went to the store to buy packing tape. As I swiped my card I realized how I got here. To sickly, stuffy days of nonstop TV and overeating and day drinking. A guy I worked for last summer would say, "Honey, it's time to get up and wash the stink off ya." Sometimes I do. For a couple days it goes okay. Anything could go wrong really, and I'd be right back there on my bed, allergies and cheese-its and sweaty pajamas. It's like the training burst my pathogens and released their toxins into my bloodstream. You have to get sick before you can get better.

There was one moment, on the Friday of our lives. It was in the moist, static aftermath of one of the most difficult exercises. We were told to find a place to sit on the floor. No one said a word, because no one could. The room was silent because we were all screaming. No one spoke because at that moment there was no one in the room. Each of us was everyone else, because we had given away everything. Jorge cut through the crowd, to the center of the room, and sat down in the middle of all of us. He held the microphone over his head. We all knew what he meant. And because of that, we fused. He gave us our freedom.

The way I survive in the drift is by giving up. That's how I got here. When things get too hard I say fuck it. I declare that I am fucked, simply and unarguably screwed, and then I feel better. Then I don't have to care anymore. I am beyond help. I'm a victim, and this entitles me to hide while the rest of the world carries on. I give all of my power away to the universe. 

Things get hard because nothing I do is good enough for myself. Nothing I do is good enough for other people. Instead of failing, I'd rather not even try. I make excuses and a lot of nice people accept them. They feel for me. But it sends me back to my bed, and it leaves me there for days.

Today I went to the store to buy boxes. I'm packing up this little room for good before I head to LA for my advanced training. In this little room I have experienced the joy of falling in love with a community of people. Coming to grad school was like meeting my soulmate, except there are 25 of them. I hope the love I have found here never ceases to feel so beautiful and pure as it does today. This room will always represent that for me, but in this little room I have also experienced such profound darkness. When I leave here, I hope to leave that behind.

Jorge said that for most people, living in the present isn't any different from reliving the past, over and over. Ever since the training this message appears to me everywhere. In books, in movies, in late night phone calls, in later night text messages. The past creates the drift. Being stuck in the drift is the problem of our lives. The past is just a story you tell yourself. The only thing that repeats itself is Jorge drawing the train tracks of our lives on the whiteboard. Asking us if we're stupid. He says, no, you're not stupid -- you're strategic.

I want to live a life where I exist in a state of child-like wonderment. I want to feel every possible feeling with abandon. I will feel by learning, by exploring, by creating. I want to be the young woman who falls in love with everything

Everything. Ever since the training I've been thinking about everything. Everything is really the same as nothing. In fact, one proves the other. In Hinduism the mantra neti, neti means not this, not this. A guru points to a chair. He tells his student, neti neti, you are not a chair. He points to every object in the room. He points to the walls, to the floor. The student is none of these things. There is nothing but the Self. And the Self is everything.

Jorge says if you want to be standing up, you must be sitting down. If you want to be sitting down, you have to be standing up. You're stuck. You can't be something, because as soon as you do that, you can no longer be everything. And the best part about being everything is that it ties us to each other. There is no difference between anything and anything else. There is nothing scary about nothing. In fact, nothing is the greatest thing of all.

I want to be free. I want to let it all go. The freest thing I can imagine is being nothing. My strategy for surviving in the drift is giving up, because I tell myself that giving up is nothing in disguise. It's not. If I'm a person who gives up, then I can't be anything else. I can't be everything.

There was a moment, on the night of graduation, when I became nothing. We were on the 405. I was holding someone's hand. The windows were down. The music was blasting. The training took everything I had from me, and all that was left was a hand in mine, my hair blowing in the night air, the song pounding in my eardrums. Because we were nothing, our hearts were open. I smiled into that moment. A quiet thought filled that space. And I could hear Jorge's voice telling me, you are free.