Integration & Healing
I was recently emailing a friend about the many ways I had changed. I was relaying a story my yoga teacher had told of a Buddhist nun she met in India. My teacher was quite impressed with this woman’s ability to translate Sanskrit and commented on how brilliant she was. The nun, whose name I never learned, replied “One day a shooting star, the next, a loaf of bread.”
The beauty of this story lies in its simplicity and truth. No matter how much we want to, we cannot always be a shooting star, and of course, we all want to. We love it when we feel we’re together, good, giving, wise, talented, or powerful. We all love to shine. Conversely, it’s very hard for any of us to feel ordinary, helpless, rejected, selfish, ineffective, incompetent – you know, to feel we have dribble on our chin. I know I can barely admit to ever dribbling… well maybe, but very, very infrequently.
For some, the willingness to embrace our capacity to be a shooting star can be difficult in itself. I could talk about that for a very long time. But today I want to talk about what I call dribble and shine. The peaks and valleys of who we are. I want to say I have discovered something truly wonderful about this.
I want to say – as I meditate and heal, as I embrace my willingness to see all the parts of myself, to hold the mirror up, to go where it hurts and where I wince, to be a spiritual warrior – I have begun to see… well, you know… dribble. Lots of it. Every time I sip from my cup of wisdom tea, I dribble. Every time I allow myself into myself completely, I realize that it is unavoidable and yes, it’s, well, dribble.
There was a time in my life where all I saw was my dribble. That was a very painful place to be. And when I began to see my shine, or rather to acknowledge it, that was all I wanted. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I could hold anything else, that I had other parts I considered less than perfect. I have learned a lot since then.
I’ve learned that one day a shooting star, the next a loaf of bread is so much more profound than the ups and downs of our personality. There is an ultimate grace that permeates this when we lovingly embrace and accept both aspects. This willingness gives them an endearing quality. A softness of the heart begins to develop for each of us as we go forth in this world, as we dribble and shine. This softness, this grace, allows us to be ourselves no matter what the odds, no matter how much dribble we meet, whether it is our own or someone else’s.
And the perception of the ups and downs of this shining star and this loaf of bread dissipates as we witness ourselves in each of those places with gentleness and love. The peaks and valleys are transformed into a grace-filled landscape of the soul, a landscape rich in color, form and depth. I have encountered a place where I am willing to embrace the shooting star with no fear and accept the loaf of bread with supreme affection.
Because of this, there are times that I feel overwhelmed with the sweetness of the human condition, where I can pour a heart full of love into each of these moments not expecting anything back but the tenderness of the moment, not expecting anything more than the joy of mindfulness.
One day a shooting star, the next, a loaf of bread: dribble and shine.
By Marianne Snow, Spring 2004