On Friday, I head to Minnesota to celebrate my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary. 60. Wow. My little mind can’t even begin to comprehend a relationship of that length; I’ve been alive for less than half that time.
Inevitably, my aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents – whom I only see every few years – will ask me what I’m up to in life. The *safe* answer: “Oh, I quit my job running the gymnastics program a year ago, and now I’m doing administrative assistance for a few people, from home. Yeah, the flexibility and freedom are great!” I enjoy what I do and the solo entrepreneurs that I have the opportunity to support and interface with are kind, friendly, and doing amazing work in the world.
And, my work is not the area of my life that is most alive for me. I’m in a state of continual – perhaps even constant – change and transformation. My life and my self are being blown apart open again and again through Zen practice, relational practices, therapy, plant medicines, and relationships. Will I dare to share any of that with them? Can I let go of my judgments that they can’t handle that? That they’ll think I’m a weirdo? That I need to make myself smaller and more “digest-able” for them? When, really, what I’m afraid of is feeling different, and separate from the people who birthed me, and ironically, it’s by not sharing any of my actual self that I perpetuate my feelings of separateness. Vicious circle.
A few weeks ago, I was officially initiated into Zen practice through the Jukai ceremony. Jukai means “receiving the precepts,” which are, most simply, a code of ethics for being a decent human being. No killing, no sexual misconduct, no lying, etc.
This morning, as I sat drinking my tea and journaling about my upcoming trip, asking myself what I will divulge to my extended family, I was suddenly reminded of one of the precepts. “I vow to be generous and not stingy. Especially with the Dharma.”
My life is my dharma. Am I really going to keep it held in close because I’m afraid? Am I going to “be stingy” because it’s more comfortable? Or, will I take a risk? Generously disclosing my heart and soul? Will I give my family the opportunity to actually know and see me? Or, continue to hold them at arms length, the armor up strong and solid, “None shall pass!”?
I’m putting a stop to that vicious circle. I might not share everything – perhaps the plant medicines can wait for the next visit! But I vow to be generous, and not stingy.