He creates a space free of judgement, thus harnessing the safety that pervades our meetings for healing to happen and to carry into my daily life. Here he is.
Today we did some diary housekeeping and then we spoke about the last month which has been a bit hellish and made me question values and who I am and what I do. This has been tempered with text messages telling me I am a marriage breaking whore and angry phone calls. We acknowledge that this is toxic and how hard to manage physically and mentally. I had to let go of someone who wasn't mine in the first place. His fingerprints are still fresh on the raw edges of the feelings that I dont fully understand. Not seeing or speaking to him was easier. I could pretend I never cared. He called, in the middle of the conversation all about him. I start chewing my lower lip.
"Do you see, in mindfulness, what this is doing to your body? You are biting your lip. Tell him you will call him back."
I answer the phone and tell him immediately I will call him back, "I need to talk to you...just five minutes, I am just going into a meeting, after..." his voice tails off, he sounds distant and urgent. I don't want to reject him, we are friends, I don't think he has many real friends in his life or people he talks to who listen with an open heart. He's a man in whose life the common currency is betrayal. I know him so well, I think, yet I didn't fathom the depths of his pain or the compromise he lives in.
"I really can't, I am with Vajradaka, I'm home all evening, call me later?"
"Ok, ok bye, we'll speak later." We hang up.
"Now check in with your body and see how it feels...in mindfulness, " says Vajradaka. I feel mixed up and immediately I want to give the feeling a name. "Don't call it anything. Just sit with it, notice what you are doing with your lip, just go into it."
I stop devouring my lower lip and let tears swell in my eyes, which is what I haven't wanted, for him to see my vulnerability. The tears cluster along the rim of my eyes, where the eyelashes gather, they don't seep over and betray me. I can deal with it, the sadness settles and relief gathers. The feeling I had been trying to chew away didn't overcome me.
I feel filled with gratitude and love. I look at him and there is a deep connection, it feels as if our minds are connecting, he calls it joint synapsing. He brings out every aspect of me and can hold it and create safety and space for me to just be. I tell him how essential it is for women like me, hard as granite but soft as sand, to meet a man like him, who can put it right, who doesn't want anything from me.
When I hug him to say goodbye, (a giant at 6'3") he feels solid like a tree and I lean right into him, a strong bear hug, full of strength and permanence.
"You know, people tell me you have been very good for me," he says as he stares down at me, it's the gaze of the father I still miss, the unconditional love I long for.
"You teach me a lot, Farah."
I don't know what to say to that, and as we part company with the towers of Kings Cross in the distance, we stand nestled in the freezing grey air under the glassy walls of York Place. But love seeps into winter's shroud. I'm cold yet there's warmth in my heart.
He called later, the tormented man but my phone had died and I decided to go to a friend's screening at the last moment. You never know when it might be the last time you speak to someone. Hold them anyway in your heart.
I hope you will come and join us for three very special evenings in April and May on mindfulness and creativity, as we continue to nurture the seed planted for the Women's Resilience Centre in Whitechapel. It could be life changing. It has been for me.