Welcome, Annihilation. Please come in.
Today the Sunday sky is gray. Grasping at straws of serenity, my imagination transforms the sounds of cars passing on the wet road into the soft hush of ocean waves lapping on the beach. A perfect day for reflective introspection. How far have I come?
It's days like today that I just want to close. Some days the openness is too much. I feel that I could just be dissolved in the rain. There would be nothing left of me. When we open, we let people in and they will take and take and take. The things they do happen to leave behind are not usually very nice either. When you open, people jump at the opportunity to judge you, to criticize you, and to try and bring you down; to see how far they have to push you until you close again. I'm not sure where this sick impulse comes from but I've experienced it over and over again, from strangers, from loved ones, from all angles imaginable. That's the danger of this journey of authenticity. Opening and staying open means opening ourselves to annihilation, like Pema Chodron says, over and over and over again. We find that thing in us that is indestructible by remaining open to annihilation. I personally feel that this is a feminine quality that I have cultivated my entire life: how to remain open in the pain, how to not let the pain effect my future decisions to be open.
Today I'm feeling the challenge. I want to close. I want to erase everything that has been exposed from the past. I want to take it all back, reclaim it as my secret, as my story that only the privileged can know. But I remember: strength comes from this openness, healing comes from this openness. As scary as it is, as hard as it is, as much as it hurts, it's freedom. What we're striving for in this journey of authenticity is freedom. And my freedom is worth the effort. It's worth pushing past the fear. It's worth pushing past the hurt. My life relies upon it. If I'm ever going to bloom, I have to do this. There's no other way.
It's days like today that I remember other people see my story too, and might get inspiration from my story. Those are the people that I have a duty to. I have to stay open because I have to show them that they can stay open too. It's not just the people that I work with now, it's the legacy that I need to leave behind, of staying open, of letting the blows come, letting them come, come come, and eventually everything that is impermanent in us will fall away. Then, no matter how many blows we suffer, we will never be destroyed, we will never be broken.
This is my method for defeating demons. I've walked into their lair and I've let them do their worst to me. It peeled away the things that I was clinging onto (like fear, self-limiting beliefs, and anger) that kept me from knowing who I am and why I'm here. I have to stay open. I have a duty to myself, to my work, to my legacy and to the world. This gives me courage. This reminds me that I've done it before and I can do it again.
Each of us should remember this when we want to close, when we want to go into the defense. There's a difference between wanting to close and keeping something to yourself, as your own. We react differently when that thing is uncovered. This closing reflex is a good indicator that it's something that we need to expose, that we're desperately clinging onto. This is the process of surrender. We feel the resistance, we acknowledge the resistance, we investigate the resistance, and when we decide for ourselves that the resistance is a blockage that we're afraid of confronting, only then, can we surrender and overcome it.
So on gray days like today, I have to remember. I have to remember: Keep going. Don't close. Stay open. Open to the annihilation. You know who she is, and you know why she's here. Trust her.