Saturday, September 1, 2012

All Parts of Me

Tonight I gave a man a hug. I gave it to him because he needed it, but he wasn’t the only one to benefit.
The ashram is many things, but it is not the place to hug. It is a celibate community that does not encourage exclusive relationships of any kind – friendship or romantic relationships. Although it works to encourage introspection and giving people their space, human contact falls to the wayside. A couple days ago I showed my hot sauce stash to another man at the ashram, and he touched my arm in thanks. It jolted me to realize how long it had been since I had been touched like that by a man – not in a sexual way, but a squeeze to show me physically that my generosity was noticed, noted, and appreciated.
I forget where I read it – fact or fiction? – but somewhere, I read that babies can die if they aren’t held, simply from the lack of contact. Even if they don’t physically die, there is certainly an emotional component to this lack of touch. I know it because I feel it now in a way I didn’t before – when someone reaches out to me in love regardless of whether it’s platonic or romantic, my entire being blossoms in response.
It’s unfortunate that this lack of touch is what brought my appreciation for physical affection to my attention, but then again, it’s a very human characteristic to realize how much you miss something once it’s gone. I am still reeling at the thought that I get to hug Kyle Jaynes again because he was found alive after being lost for four days and thought dead after he disappeared on a hike; I ate a hamburger today because I got the chance to eat beef, and I haven’t had the opportunity to do so for awhile, since the ashram serves mostly vegetarian fare.
When I first came to the ashram, I thought it was the first place I had been in a long time where I could be myself, but that’s not true. This is the first place I’ve ever been that I could be THIS self, but that doesn’t mean I’m ALL parts of me here. I have found emotional support here, but not the physical comfort to accompany it; I have found a spiritual path, but it doesn’t leave room for my trucker’s vocabulary or my road rage at tourist drivers (many of whom actually come from British Columbia in their campers and manage to drive in front of me…regardless of where I am!)
Tonight, I feel enlightened, because I can focus on being here, now, without worrying about where I will go next, or what I want to be, when I’m already it…I’m already me. This morning, I didn’t feel enlightened. I will probably lose my enlightenment at some point – like when my alarm clock starts beeping at me tomorrow morning. Someone pointed out to me here that enlightenment comes in small pieces; in mundane tasks and every day moments, where you feel such profound joy to be where you are that all other thoughts are whisked away. In those moments, it doesn’t matter if I’ve reached some far off space that I hope to hold for the rest of my life; it doesn’t matter if I have everything I need or want to live the life I want and deserve. All that matters is that at that moment, I connect in a way that is tangible…as if I put my finger on a thread of the universe and can feel the vibrations resonate through me, as if I were the guitar body, and someone else is twanging the strings. 

Love and sometimes enlightened kisses