Where the Stillness Lives

How to put into the words the recent experience of moving my life to the back of my body? How to properly explain the emptiness at the front that isn’t loss or lack? How to communicate the peace that comes through the knowing, finally, that everything is exactly as it is meant to be?

A great shift has occurred from within. A gift received in the spirit it was intended – that I am not responsible for whether any other human being on this planet chooses to live or die – interlaces itself irrevocably amongst my cells. I now not only know this to be true, I KNOW this to be true. I am not responsible for your life. I feel it in the back of my body, tracing the outlines of my rib cage and delicately tickling my spine. My bones are permanent even while my flesh manifests daily the ever shortening remains of my life. I walk and walk and though I feel my feet connect with the concrete under me, I still look down from time to time to confirm that I am touching the ground. This place of suspension isn’t foreign to me. I’ve been here before. Only now I can stay.

Momento Mori – Remember that you, too, must die. This is thre Stoic mantra that, upon utterance, sucks me right back to here, into this moment, where it is all enough. I am complete.

Into my flesh I carve the Hebrew word השתוות as an anchor. I like the feeling of the needle as it etches and the stark contrast of the ink against my pale skin. I love the resonance of this word, and the way it links me to my history without pinning me to a faith that doesn’t mean anything to me. Hishtavut, equanimity, stillness, upekka. Every culture has a word to describe this state of being, the acceptance of things as they are, without need to change. The rapture that proceeds the awakening is painfully fleeting. It burns like sadness and grief. It feels too enormous for one body to contain. It burns away the need for things to be different, for me to be elsewhere. Here is where I want to be, for the first time. My life is a beautiful one. Why would I choose to be elsewhere but here, in the back of my body?

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