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I do not know

I share my experience here, because with every fabric of my being I wish to hold the space for hope to be real, and because it is so important to me to paint the entire picture. I do not find it helpful to hear only one side of the story.

So, here is another side of my story, or what happened next.

I just loved writing the last post. I was able to dig deep and reach a crucial pocket of experience within myself, and in the process find my own transcendent message that I have yet to absorb.

However, I also disturbed a slumbering monster.

So, after having the distinct feeling of flying, of having connected to something real and true in my experience through my writing, having been able to adequately enough, for myself anyway, transmute the pain through my own brand of poetry, I was surprised at an onset of the exact pain I'd described, that began to rip through me shortly after my offering here.

This onset was entirely without the balance tipping in favor of a God interpretation. It was just the face-value definition of pain, of bitter consequence, abandonment, confusion; the familiar wild highway, bugs splattered all over, suffocating dust clouds, obscured vision. Blind, lost, and as always, victim of harsh reality.

Only now I'd exposed my fraudulence to myself. There was not God in any of this. I didn't even believe in God, or did I?

A heavy pain. One that you can drown in.

I found myself crying out in surrender.

I don't know, I don't know, I don't know! I don't know what to do with anything I've found!

All by myself. More alone than ever. Completely identified with separation.

I opened The Course, my Bible of choice, after one last emphatic I don't know! and I swear to you, this is what it said:

Yet the essential thing is learning that you do not know....

Yet, even this synchronicity was muted by the noise in my head. So, I read on.

You who have tried to keep power for yourself have "lost" it. You still have the power but you have interposed so much between it and your awareness of it that you cannot use it. Everything you have taught yourself has made your power more and more obscure to you. You know not what it is, nor where. Be willing, then, for all of it to be undone, and be glad that you are not bound to it forever.

You have one test by which to recognize if what you learned is true. If you are wholly free of fear of any kind, and if all those who meet or even think of you share in your perfect peace, then you can be sure that you have learned God's lesson, and not your own. Unless all this is true, there are dark lessons in your mind that hurt and hinder you, and everyone around you.

Do not be concerned about how you can learn a lesson so completely different from everything that you have taught yourself. How would you know? Your part is very simple. You need only recognize that everything you learned you do not want. Ask to be taught, and do no use your experiences to confirm what you have learned. When your peace is threatened or disturbed in any way, say to yourself:

I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my past learning as the light to guide me now.

Now, whatever you might think of this passage, whether you think God has a place in it or not, it doesn't matter, because it was the only sane thing in that moment. And experience unfolded in a completely different way than it would have had my mind not been stopped in its tracks.

I found quiet enough to stop and meditate on this. To abandon my own learning. And the strangest thing happened as I felt my mind gently halt its rusty mechanics.

Suddenly there was the image of my little brother laughing, which is funny, because his laugh is so golden. I resisted it a little bit, but stayed quiet, and then entered remnant memories of having been with my girls attempting to make chewing gum from a science kit my daughter had gotten for her birthday. The attempt had ended in all of us just throwing ingredients together and melting them with no rhyme or reason, and laughing, because it was literally impossible to stir the contents. 8-years and up, my eye! This was adult-proof! But, what a gift the experience was, because it was new for me to find laughter with my daughters when there was corn syrup and gum base scattered everywhere, not to mention powdered sugar flying!

So, in this moment of surrender to not knowing, my mind came to a complete standstill, and suddenly out of nowhere I just began to laugh. I couldn't stop. It just kept bubbling up, even though I was distinctly aware of a part of me trying to stop it, but I couldn't. It was like the laugh wasn't part of me, but that I had shifted the tectonic plates with my surrender just enough to give it space to burst through.

There was such a deep release in that moment, and I understood on a fundamental level why people like the dalai lama have such a childlike quality. Because in that laughter there was only room for joy. There was only room for connectedness, there was only space for peace and, yes, possibility.

I spent the rest of the day in a great release from my mind and my fear, able to move joyfully. I snuggled with my daughter and told her a story that contained punchlines that made us both laugh, having the feeling that the story wasn't coming from a little me, but from the depths of a joy that found everything so funny, interesting and limitless.

Later when I was driving my girls in the car and they were hitting each other and screaming at the other, calling names, I retraced the phrase, I do not know what anything, including this, means. And so I do not know how to respond to it. And I will not use my own past learning as the light to guide me now.

And instead of throwing out empty threats to get them to shut up and stop, I reached my hand gently behind me and placed it on my daughter's leg, who was screaming because she had just been clobbered by her sister's water bottle. I rubbed her leg gently. Her cry became a soft sob, and do you know what? She reached down and held my hand.

And I was flooded with love.

I admit that today the constriction and pain has returned a little, but more than ever, it holds the promise of release.

And if there is hope for me, people, there is hope for all.

And when my friend and I were talking about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and as we spoke of the legendary havoc just waiting to be unleashed on the Oregon coast near us, and very near her kin, any day, any year, or never at all in our life time--I heard myself say to her, "You know, just let it take me then. I'm ready. I'll go with it. I surrender."

I felt the release as I said it.

Deep down, I would much rather choose the sanity of not knowing what anything means, nor how I should respond--letting go of fear, letting it just take me if it must, than live with it as the threat of an eternal storm cloud hanging low over me, never to let in a drop of sunshine. God existing or not.

Sending love...


  1. Oh, dear God. This again is beyond words...only Love.

    "and do you know what? She reached down and held my hand."

    This cracked my heart wide open...the love is just here, pouring out all over the place.

  2. Brooke, you are on such an amazing journey. I love how present you are. I love that you were flooded with love. Sending you so much love.

  3. Sending love back to you, dear Brooke, and thank you for sharing yours. That moment with your daughter is profound. Isn't that what we all need when we are in pain? Not exhortations, not solutions, just a loving touch from someone willing to be present with us in the great unknown. Thank you for letting us all be present with you in that moment.

  4. The sweetness of this post comes shining through like a ray of sunshine...being okay with not knowing and aware in the moment, so perfectly beautiful!

    Thank you sharing a personal glimsp of bottomless joy and true freedom.

  5. I came back to read your post again ;)

  6. Brooke,

    What I love about your writing is that your wholeness shines through it all, pure and complete and beautiful.

    This was such a delight to read - I audibly exhaled as I read about your daughter reaching back to you to hold your hand.

    Oh, and aren't ALL those science kits completely adult proof! What fun!

    Love to you Brooke - you are a delight.

  7. Hey soul sista,

    I truly admire your courage and honesty to relinquish pain in favour of healing.The fine example you gave about your daughter in the car was simple yet profound. I read the following in the course today and I want to share it with you my friend because it reminds me of you.

    ' Children percieve frightening ghosts and monsters and dragons, and they are terrified. Yet if they ask someone they trust for the meaning of what they percieve, and are willing to let their own interpretations go in favour of reality, their fear goes with them. When a child is helped to translate his 'ghost' into a curtain, his 'monster' into a shadow, and his 'dragon' into a dream he is no longer afraid, and laughs happily at his own fear.' - ACIM

    Onward ...

    Love Nige


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