Courtyard Dance

Courtyard Dance

We are always saying goodbye and hello at the same time. There is a Sufi practice of seeing the opposite of a given condition at the same time it is ongoing – so, to remember death at birth, tragedy in the midst of triumph. I have found that when the attention is well placed on the heart and it has been given chance to open enough to embrace the present moment, those opposites can be seen reconciled there “in the courtyard at the center of the chest” and the poignancy of creation sort of runneth over in my cup. When I’m smart I take care to smash that cup when that poignancy turns to some form of ego vinegar. All of this is part of what I am calling forgiving the dream. I am cultivating a willingness to open the heart and experience the opposites reconciled.
Last week on the Journey to the Heart show we read from the ABC’s of Love talk, and Love was shown to be a thing quite apart and not subject to Attitude, Behavior, or Conditions. It is unconditional. To experience an unconditional state is to experience Love, it follows. In keeping, evolution is a reductive process that removes the conditions that keep us in a conditional state. We need some condition – nothing happens without the level of identification that is suggested by condition. What seems to best serve the general good is the development of a harmonious human being, a minimal identity structure, just enough to be able to help maintain creation, just enough to serve. We can use attitude, behavior and conditions to bring us to this place of harmony.
It is conditions that we have and they can be used to the benefit of our evolution. We fall in impure, partial love, in the worse most identified way, with people, things, conditions, but still, somewhere underneath it all there is purity. At times abstinence and restraint are called for, yes, and we must also allow ourselves the grace to live through and be changed by conditions. Transcendence of conditions is not a movement of avoidance, but one of absorption, of encompassing.
I fall in love in the worst way. People and conditions create the way in which I fall into the experience of love. I am learning what it is to be in the experience of love instead of falling into it. Sitting in the experience of love is something that can be done in the courtyard at the center of the chest, as Rumi put it. To be in the dream but not of it, to give all to the moment, to catch moments of freedom in the giving– this seems to be the way.
Today’s wish is to sit in that courtyard at least for a moment here and there. It’s a big day – two of my loves, my passions, are being brought together in a great set of circumstances. Lots of delightful, stress inducing phenomena to embrace. I will be performing Flamenco with some top notch flamencos in San Francisco at the opening of my art show at the beautiful Emerald Tablet Gallery/Creativity space. The work toward this has been intense, and there still remains the hanging of the show, much more to be done. But the hardest work of all is that of not losing myself in the ego/fear based thoughts and concerns that are triggered. At the same time, accepting, allowing, observing the perfection of my imperfect love as it unfolds. Spirit is so bound up with matter, might as well get used to the grit. Here, in the space of my heart, there is plenty of room for spirit and matter to dance together.


About gracekellyrivera

I am a perfumer and an artist of multiple disciplines located in California.
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