"I am the mother of all living things, and I am so in love with each that it is as if there were none else. Each birth is my first and only."
I love to read late at night in a hot tub. I pour in Epsom salts and a wee bit of one of Emma Kupu Mitchell’s sacred anointing oils and slowly sink into the hot water—as hot as I can stand.
On the white tile shelf around the tub I put something delicious to read, a big bottle of cold water, and, of course, a yellow pad of paper. I go nowhere without paper. Because you just never know when the floor between worlds will open.
My bathtub matters to me. A lot. I bought this house because of the bathtub.
Is that silly? Weird? Doesn’t everyone buy their home because of the bathtub!
When my son and I were house hunting 20 years ago, I gave the agent my price range, which was pretty low, and told him I wanted my son in a good school. Those were conflicting criteria so there wasn’t a lot to look at. And sure enough, all the houses he showed me were dreary. Built in the 70s, covered with dark cracked tile and the kitchens. They were god-awful. The last straw was always the shower in the master bath. Really? Only a shower?
I had just about given up, when the realtor brought us to a townhouse in Ozona. My son and the realtor scooted ahead while I meandered around the first floor and slowly worked my way upstairs. With each room I thought hm, hmmm, hmmmm….
Finally, I caught up with them in the master bath. I took one look at the big white garden tub and blurted out, “I want this house!”
My son looked at the realtor and said, “Told ya.”
Huh? Turns out, as the two of them waited in the bathroom, Jerry sitting on the counter, the realtor on the tile shelf around the tub, Jerry told the realtor, “Watch. My mom is going to buy this house.”
I imagine the realtor rolled his eyes. After all, I hadn’t liked anything about any house he’d shown me. But of course, my son was right! He knew how much I love a long hot bath.
Twenty years later, I love a long hot bath even more. My bath is a special place. Where special things happen. I can’t count the number of deep downloads I have received while soaking and reading. Or soaking and simply staring at the wall.
What? You didn’t know that staring at the wall is a profound mystical practice! It is.
Because as you stare at nothing, thinking nothing, wanting nothing, you slip out of conscious mind effortlessly and drop into the magical theta brain wave state.
In that moment you are in this world, but definitely not of it.
And things happen.
Words float up from The Mystic. Ideas. Images. Sudden knowings. Shocking insights. And all you’re doing is lying in the tub.
Well, last Tuesday I was soaking and reading the Sunday New York Times. That Sunday paper is so humongous, it takes me the whole week to get through it.
On Sunday night, I soak and read the magazine and spend an hour with the word puzzle. What can I say. I love that beehive word puzzle.
On Monday, I work up the courage to read the front section because I know I will feel sick after absorbing what’s happening in the world. So I then shift my energy by reading the Arts and Leisure section. Or Sunday Styles.
I love the Sunday Styles section the most. In it are two columns I never miss: Vows and Modern Love.
Vows is a hoot. It’s the story of a couple’s wedding. Gay weddings. Lesbian weddings. Elaborate Asian heritage weddings with the man riding in on a horse. Weddings in city hall with two people who grabbed an hour off from work. Famous people. (Anne Lamott!) Unknown people. Even people getting married in the face of imminent death.
I never know who I’ll meet. And I love to meet them all.
The most amazing story I ever read in Vows was about a young girl in a small town in Wisconsin who gave her son up for adoption after she got pregnant at 15 and her 16-year-old boyfriend dumped her. Thirty years later, her son found her. She had converted to Judaism and was living in Hawaii. A short time later he found his father, who was living in Marshfield.
Wait? What? Marshfield? I’m from Marshfield!
I sat up in the tub and kept reading. The old high school sweethearts began to talk to one another through their son, eventually flew to meet one another again, and ended up getting married. Married! And their son was their officiant.
Is this not the greatest love story of all time.
The best part was the woman’s mother. Gotta love her. She took her new son-in-law aside before the wedding and said, “If you hurt her again, I will kill you.” What a woman!
If Vows doesn’t grab me that week, Modern Love will.
Modern Love is, as the name implies, stories about what it’s like to love today. Often the authors are young.
I never miss this column, although I confess much of the time I don’t get it. I often don’t understand the complexities these writers experience around gender, sexuality, commitment....
But I read the stories anyway. And often end up in tears. Tears because they loved one another but couldn’t stay together. Tears because someone died. Or walked out without a word. Or tears of joy because two of the most improbable people in the world married and lived “happily ever after.” Well, maybe not that last part, but still…
This week I felt blessed to get to read an entire section of award-winning Modern Love stories. Sad stories. Horrible stories. Frightening stories. Ecstatic stories. Heart-breaking stories. Confusing stories. Even one ghost story.
When I finished, I stared at the wall. For a long time. And realized I had been given a peek into the core heart of all the stories of our coming together and our pulling apart.
There’s only one thing that is the same in all the stories.
Doesn’t matter if it’s a story about family, siblings, roommates, friends, lovers….
In the end, they’re all love stories. Love letters. Love songs.
Now, I’m not in a relationship. Haven’t been for 12 years. Yet my heart knows these love songs. Knows them by heart.
Because I am in a deep love relationship.
A sacred love relationship.
A heart-to-heart exquisite love relationship.
And you are too.
We are all held in the loving arms of The Mother, the one mother, the first mother, the only mother. Our Mother.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro met her.
“...while chanting the Ave Maria at 2:00 am before a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe at La Casa de Maria in Santa Barbara, California, she spoke to me. ‘Do you know why I’m called the Perpetual Virgin?’ she asked. ‘No,” I said.
‘I’m called the Perpetual Virgin because I am the mother of all living things, and I am so in love with each that it is as if there were none else. Each birth is my first and only.’”
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, Holy Rascals
That’s how much you are loved. As if there were none other.
THAT’S what people are trying to describe in their Vows stories. THAT’S what people are trying to capture in their Modern Love stories.
And that’s what I have discovered in my own intimate relationship with Original Love. She sings to me now. As she sings to you. In Love Songs.
On the breath of the Beloved come love songs
All day, all night, caressing the world
But we don’t hear them
Like pop licks, they grab our bodies and we move
Like Ode to Joy, they lift our spirits and we soar
Like Irish pipes, they squeeze our hearts and we weep
But we don’t hear them
Every leaf, every star, every curl of ocean—
a love song
Every fern, every cloud, every spider web—
a love song
The rain sputtering
The storm clouds forming
The volcano erupting
The sun arriving
The sun departing
The moon smiling all night
The cicadas in Oaxaca pray for rain
All night, a cacophony of legs
And the rain comes
I sigh for you and you show your face
Your face in everything
Your face in what frightens me
Your face in what feeds me
Your face in my face in the mirror
Whether I look up or not
Your breath in my breath
Your heart in my heart
Your love in all I love
whether I recognize you or not
We are one love
We sing one song
One love song all night
All night, though I may not hear it
Your love song is all life
My love song is this life
Singing in beauty
Singing in pain
Singing in joy
Singing on my knees
to hearing love songs all night,
PS: Deep Soul Writing in The Mystic just opened. In our gathering this Tuesday we're going to explore all the ways to slip into the Theta brain wave state. We are now 105 souls in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, Spain, France, Greece, Denmark, and Australia. Would you like to join us?