On the eve of my birthday, I found myself in the throes of panic and loneliness.
Just as the great joy and discovery of my sobriety fell upon me, so came the hideous self judgment that held me back for so long.
What am I doing? Who am I working toward being? What has this last year of my life really meant to me? What is serving me and what’s been served?
As I begrudgingly basked in the existentialism that only the most self-involved, narcissistic, bat-shit-crazy woman in recovery is capable of, I eventually returned to some semblance of reality. And, for whatever reason, I remembered myself a year ago. I had had a rough night working at the restaurant and I came home and sat in a hot bath. I was reading Ram Dass’ extraordinary work, The Only Dance There Is, a book that would change my life forever.
That lonely night, not unlike this evening, I was in pain and I was seeking something. So, I read Baba Ram Dass, and it fed my soul. I remember being so engrossed in the book that I had to refill the tub with hot water several times to keep from shivering. And, after reading more than half of the tome, I remember that I felt I’d found it. I’d tapped into something that I had not even known to exist. Concepts of consciousness that seemed so basic, it amazed me that they had never occurred to me, so complex that I truly felt like my head might explode.
When this memory came to me, out of the ether, I knew I had to revisit the Baba. But, I’d lent my book to a friend months before. So, I plugged Baba Ram Dass into my Netflix search engine and found: Fierce Grace. A documentary about Ram Dass, his life, and his recovery after suffering a stroke. I pressed play with no expectations. Only the hope that, like a year before, something in his story would comfort and teach me.
Well, all I can say is, I balled through the whole thing. Baba Ram Dass, or as some know him, Richard Alpert, is one of the most amazing personalities I will ever encounter in my life. His open and willing heart, his compassion and honesty, his unabashed love of self and humanity, and fearless, present connection to every living moment is awe inspiring.
I could go on all day, but, trying to explain what it is that this man captures, what his soul inspires in me, isn’t really possible. I can only recommend that you read his work, which is prolific. Or, if you are of a visual nature, I encourage you to watch Fierce Grace, which presents an excellent portrait of what is possible when you become open to spiritual exploration.
So, as I enter into my 30th year of existence, I dry my eyes, presently. Because, yet again, Ram Dass reminds me that, it’s true, all we have is this moment. What preceded it is gone and what proceeds it is yet to come. And, much like last year, in this moment, I am both lost and found.
And, just for tonight, I accept that wherever I am, is where I’m meant to be. Years, tears, and all, with a Fierce Grace.