Sunday, August 9, 2009

Impermanence

About a week ago, a swarm of bees attacked my 85 year old neighbor. He moved a lawn chair, and they attacked him. In the end, Stan was fine. He had many many bites, but was up and around. The paramedics came and made sure of it. My sister and I had quite a few bites between us.

It was horrifying. Watching nature do its damnedest to kill a human. I mean, they are just bitty old carpenter bees, and it would have taken another swarm. Nonetheless, most of us on our best day are prepared for A bee, not hundreds. My neighbor was just laying there with a swarm covering his body, unable to move, paralyzed with fear and pain. When I saw him, it was akin to the feeling I would have if I walked into an auditorium watching a girl in her bra and hole-y underwear on stage trying to give a speech she couldn't find the notes to. You know, like walking into a nightmare I once had. You swat one bee, another moves in. You feel a pinch here, then there, and next thing you know, it is a matrix from which you cannot escape.

Today, I moved the bee and wasp spray back into its mostly ignored corner of the garage. We generally have a live and let live policy on the ranch, except when bastard insects attack one of our own. Then it is every bug for himself.

Before Lucy died, I probably would have sat down for meditation and put all these pieces together and tried to figure out what the universe is trying to teach me--fire at my mother's house, dead bird with maggots/scarab in my office, almost amputating my finger, neighbor attacked by bees...it certainly seems as though this last month was about learning impermanence.

Thinking about impermanence these days is like pouring salt into a wound, you know. My daughter died. I FUCKING GET IT. Nothing is guaranteed. The only thing that doesn't change is change. I get it. But it is something deeper than just the bittersweetness of impermanence that is important. And during these last eight months mourning my daughter, I wanted to learn something more than "life sucks." And so I turned once again, to When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron to look up impermanence.

People have no respect for impermanence. We take no de­light in it; in fact, we despair of it. We regard it as pain. We try to resist it by making things that will last—forever, we say—things that we don’t have to wash, things that we don’t have to iron. Somehow, in the process of trying to deny that things are always changing, we lose our sense of the sacredness of life. We tend to forget that we are part of the natural scheme of things.

Impermanence is a principle of harmony. When we don’t struggle against it, we are in harmony with reality.


I like that. It turns my whole raison d'etre(fighting against the death of my daughter) and turns it on its head. Change should not be regarded as negative or positive. Now why do I keep learning the non-judgment thing? When we live in harmony with change, we accept reality. And so, I am letting go on my trip to Panama this week. Accepting what comes when it comes. Trying not to despair at the change of my fortress of solitude, and being away from my Lucy's ashes, and her candle, and my computer...just roll into the jungle and live in reality.

I may or may not post again before Wednesday, but if not, just know that I will be out of email communication for the next two weeks. I know I will miss this space, but I'm also looking forward to connecting with my family and just being present.

16 comments:

  1. Happy trails, Angie. I'll miss you. xo

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  2. Have a lovely trip mama! XXXXXX

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  3. This post is so thought provoking Angie.

    I hope you have a wonderful holiday xx

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  4. Go wild Angie, and be careful please. Take some pictures (I want to see Panama through Angie's eyes)
    I will miss you, but I'm so glad you're getting away for a while.
    Sending my love,
    Lindsay

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  6. i will miss you angie! have a fantastic trip, get some sun on your face and enjoy the vacation and time away from technology.

    xo

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  7. safe travels. look foward to hearing all about it when you return. lots of love to you and your family.
    xo

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  8. Thanks for sharing this Ange, have a wonderful trip.

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  9. hope you can find some peace and acceptance in Panama. Have a safe trip

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  10. Ahh the image of the bees and the neighbor gives me the heeby jeebies. So glad he is ok.

    Have a safe trip hun.

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  11. How freaking scary is that? Argh. It is making me feel horrid just thinking about it. Your poor neighbour, what an experience. I'm so glad that he survived.

    Too late as I'm sure you've already gone but I hope you have (or had) a lovely time.

    I sometimes feel that life is trying to hammer home some sort of lesson, about letting go, about impermanence. To which I can only scream, yes, yes I get it. Enough already.

    I sometimes think that I will only begin to make any sort of 'sense' of Georgina's death on my own death bed. When I can see it in context, as it were. Even then probably not. Lately it all feels a bit like this post of Tash's http://awfulbutfunctioning.blogspot.com/2009/06/lightning.html

    xx

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