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Underbelly: 10 Things - Emptiness

Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#90 in a series of wild and precious things to help you contemplate what kind of emptiness you want.

  1. TWIL (This Week I Learned)
This week I learned about emptiness. Once I opened myself up to devising good…yup! All I could see was pure evil.
What a week — my heart felt wrought and peeled open a lot of the time. Not sure what was happening for you?
Emptiness is such a profound topic — I can’t do it justice. So I do not mean to even touch the edge of Buddhist or Christian teachings.
I am contemplating that, as I attempted to “love all” and “do wrong to none” this week in a super intentional way I both ended up feeling hate and also the will to do evil. I literally said a couple times, “Oh I wish I could just punch ___” and also that I felt punched a couple times. My body at times felt like I was on a fast, violent roller coaster with no restraining device.
Yeah, I felt beaten, empty, void. Lost (still, again)
And yet, and I am not making this up…nothing “bad” happened this week. It was an empty, virtual struggle — but what I realized and I am so grateful to my Uncle David for sending me the quote (below) is that I truly was wrestling with “trust a few”
That dancing partner with vulnerability, trust, is a tricky one.
2. Quote
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” — Shakespeare, All’s Well That Ends Well" via my Uncle David.
“Until the great mobs could be educated into a moral sense, someone must cry ‘thou shalt not’ — F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise
3. Prompt
I think I am not alone…I want to trust everyone. My heart yearns to trust everyone. That immortal, imaginary "village” I would have raised my children in?
I have lived in a few villages, and I notice that, yes, there’s a safety in them, but that safety comes from centuries of fail-safes (boundaries) built into the system of the village.
Here’s the “empty” idea: In my attempt to “love all” I unconsciously let my boundaries disappear, allowing lots of “untrustworthy” stuff in.
Now — boundaries! Amirite? In a traditional village, boundaries are easy. You know exactly who you are, what you are allowed to wear, who you are allowed to speak to, when, and how.
There’s a great set of Japanese expressions: Honne ( ほんね — 本音) and Tatemae ( たてまえ— 建前). Honne are your true feelings/opinions/thoughts that you share with a trusted few. Tatemae is your public face, what you share with everyone else.
I love these words and tried to instill the idea in my kids to make explicit what is often implicit in our culture.
The freedom of (I guess) post 1960’s culture is that we get to choose our boundaries, how is in our “honne” circle and who is in our “tatemae” circle.
The burden is that no one tells us explicitly anymore, what our boundaries are. Curfews, dress codes, office hours are rare.
So: What are your boundaries? These are literally your limits, your range, for what you let in and what you keep out.
Think of it this way. Your Aunt Nancy made you button your sweater. You’d rather keep it open, you like the feeling of wind hitting your body. It makes you feel alive. (true story)
That’s your boundary. And good for you! You’re a grown adult. :)
Try to free write your boundaries, and start with what you know
Boundaries can change, with seasons, with your environment, with you stress level.
The next level is the necessity of learning how to communicate our boundaries with others, especially when they change.
4. Quest
Now that we have boundaries, the emptying quest
I ended up consciously letting go of all my unneeded, piled up stuff that had accumulated from my lack of boundaries on a walk into the woods (You may have heard me if you live in Nelson).
I sometimes walk into the woods, dropping my “stuff” as I walk in. I use prayer, but whatever suits.
At the destination, there is emptiness.
Try this — a swim, a walk, a labyrinth, a physical letting go of all that you mistakenly carried with you this week.
5. Level-UP / Go Deeper
My walk back into town is always a filling up time — time to slowly remember what is mine, what I need to take with me, what I own.
6. Video
Mind Emptiness - the antidote of a TED Talk | Paul Allison | TEDxRoyalRoadsU
Mind Emptiness - the antidote of a TED Talk | Paul Allison | TEDxRoyalRoadsU
6. Podcast
SW945: A Walk in Japan
8. Poem
9. Hero
Cesar Cruz - Wikipedia
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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Nelson, British Columbia