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It’s been over a month now since I made the trip back to Missouri to see my mother. It was a good trip.  It was more than I could have imagined and even in my most secret of dreams I could not have dreamed the experiences that rose to meet me as I traveled with ease and compassion back to the scene of my youth.

I was just Bob back then.

Back then I was ashamed of my name.  I was ashamed of who I was.  Back then I was just an ordinary confused, angry, sullen, creative kid trying to make sense of life, doing the best I could and just trying to survive and find or steal a little happiness on the side.  Back then I got really good at creating self-maintaining stories.  I left Springfield thirty five years ago to discover myself – to go beyond Bob.

“There is a difference Robert, between changing or re-writing an old story and simply letting the story go……..and not replacing it with anything,” Katherine told me over lunch.  “What happened with you in Missouri was the latter.  All the old stories and memories of who you were and who your mother was and and your dad and all of that – all of that just simply dropped away…”

Some mornings now,  I wake up and wonder “well where did 60 years of resentment go?”   I do not know.  There is space now where all that anger and confusion and doubt and fear had been.

“Who are you Robert without your stories?  Who am I to you without your stories of me” she asked with a twinkle in her eye as she picked up the check.

I have no idea what will unfold – what will arise from the space – I trust the Dharma and yeah I get impatient, I want to push the river and make life unfold on my terms.  Elder hood and pop psychology shows me that pushing never works and always brings unintended results.  So instead, I practice mindfulness and Beginner’s mind.  What else  is there to do?  We live by faith whether we know it or not.  However, knowing makes a difference, it seems.

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