notes on refuge

last night i talked with a friend, like we do almost every night, and somewhere in between the worlds, and the words, and the emptiness that intersperses the sounds of the words, something different was vibrating ~something problematic, troubling. afterwards, i observed the shadow of my sister’s revelation beginning to flicker in my own mind, backlit by the fire of disillusion that she was experiencing at that moment. another disillusion foregrounded by the passing of time………..our conversation reminded me that although disillusion is somehow the lifting of a veil, a footstep towards honesty, authenticity, it is also the painful revealing of misplaced expectations, misguided investment.

“…you use up everything you got, trying to give everybody what they want…..”

~nina simone

after we spoke, i went about my nightly doings, and at the end, as i stood beneath a hot shower letting the thoughts flow, letting them go ~i could still feel her disillusion ~a high pitched vibrational residue that felt like a long, dull shard of glass lodged in my chest. a piece of shrapnel.

what resonates? vibrates? her loneliness. her desperation. sharp, pungent, black. gathering in cob-webbed corners. a fruitless pining for the things that never were, fueled by the impotence of unfairness and injustice.

i am reminded of an incident many, many years ago, on a camping trip to moreton island. swimming out with a couple of friends, a vicious rip came upon us and started dragging us out. i remember the sensation of having absolutely no power, of having to give it all just to survive. i tried to help one of my friends who was struggling, but she was blindly panicking, pushing me down into the water. the only thing to do was to let her go…………….it was going to be her or me. i spent what seemed like an eternity fighting my way back into shore. i had to draw on every ounce of persistence in my body. one of the guys in the group, a much stronger person than me, went out to help her and after some time was able to bring her back in. i lay on the beach, completely drained from fighting against this force that only wanted to take me where i did not want to go. the choice is simple: if i let go, i might die. where can you go when you are in that space? when it feels like a 360 degree 3D stinking pile of merde?

sister, i know today you feel better, but believe me, that black dog is going to come back around sniffing sooner or later. where will you go?

refuge. it is the mantra for the person who feels. refuge has saved me in moments when i worried that i was crazy (or perhaps in danger of going crazy). learning how to take refuge has helped me to love myself more, to take care of myself more, to honour myself and my desires. sister, the work that you are doing right now is very intense, it is not for everybody, and you are a person who operates very strongly through a feeling paradigm……that is the space where you and i connect. people like you (and i..) need protection. without this, all the things that will ultimately make your work human and beautiful, all those honest feelings and intentions and those hard emotional insights, they  will just do you harm. eat you up. maybe send you around the twist in the process.

refuge is the answer. fold into yourself. don’t worry because there is a strong core there. there is fire. against the force that just wants to drag you out and take you somewhere you don’t actually want to go, you must trust yourself. sink into the work. tuck yourself away, like the seed that has long since dropped from the tree and now sits patiently under the snow, waiting for spring to come so it can grow. the seed is fragile, yet it survives even the most brutal surroundings, just so it can grow.

i know you can do this. but my words mean nothing, you have to know it. you have to love it. immerse yourself in it. what you are doing is all about learning the fine art of giving a fuck ~by not giving a fuck. it is the only way that you are going to get through this and grow. only concern yourself with conducting your business ethically and with love, and let the rest and all those people that you have designated as authorities slip over and away from you. know when to be your own authority.

taking refuge means relinquishing to the experience. and sometimes it means doing what it takes. you only think you are tired. and the absence of a safety net adds to the illusion of hard work. there is no safety net. not for anyone. take refuge in this idea, even if it burns………………………… Cate.


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