Where you need to be

… is always exactly where you are.

And not just in terms of location. I mean with your family – they are exactly who you need them to be. I mean in your love relationships. I mean with your health. I mean in your job. I mean EVERYTHING when I say that where you need to be, is exactly where you are.

Have you ever heard that? Do you believe that? Is that true for your life?

If not, I gently suggest that you consider (or reconsider) it.

If I have observed anything over the last 6 years, it is that this isn’t a place of mistakes or random occurrence. This is a place where everything connects, where everything influences everything else like ripples and waves and wind on the ocean, where the people in each others’ lives exist purposefully to bounce ideas and come into conflict and challenge each other into growth and awareness and towards becoming the highest version of themselves, into learning and becoming stronger in what is truly most important and least tangible. It is a playground for the soul. It is a place to learn.

A Bodhisattva does not exist without the pupil. They create each other. They trade places with each other not just over lifetimes, but in the same conversation. They enlighten each other.

Where we need to be is always exactly where we are.

There aren’t conclusions to be drawn from it. There isn’t blame to be attached to it. It is a faultless, guileless, simple truth, for the sole purpose of helping the soul to blossom.

Where we need to be is always exactly where we are.

And it appears, friends, that where Adahlia and I need to be isn’t in Portland anymore.

A remarkable turn of events has happened for our family. I have not mentioned it because everything was too in flux for anything to be said. But several weeks ago, Joe relocated to Colorado with an offer from his previous job that validated him in extraordinary ways. We’ve finally worked out how and when Adahlia and I will be joining him, and as the tide would have it, it looks like we are buying a house. If I expressed to you all the serendipity and pieces that have fallen into place for us to be able to buy this house, you would be amazed. (I am.) We took Adahlia out to Colorado to see how she would handle the altitude (doctors are concerned she will need a transfusion every 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks for the first 6 months she is out there, and that’s still a possibility. But they were also concerned she’d suffer headaches and muscle cramps due to not having enough blood cells to cope with the altitude… but she seemed to do fine.) Adahlia’s next blood transfusion requirement is going to line up with when we need to fly back out to Colorado to close on the house, and, miraculously, it looks like the doctors are going to be able to get an authorization to change the stent in my kidney a few days before we fly.

In the past 2 months, everything — and I mean everything — has come down to the wire. I have been unable to offer a definite exit plan to the clinic I work at, to tell them when I would be leaving. Every day since mid-June, the next week has been a complete unknown. Because of when Joe would be leaving for Colorado. And when we could (and if we could) join him, due to Adahlia and I’s health situations. I could schedule patients only one week out, and sometimes, I had to cancel or add them back in with only days notice. It has been a phenomenal bit of coordination and letting things happen one day at a time.

The owner of the clinic I work at, three weeks ago, actually only knows of Adahlia’s health situation. I haven’t told of her of mine — I’m not sure why. I think its because it just is all so much, and I don’t want to overwhelm people, and I don’t want pity. As she was learning of the latest steps in my process, with all the big things like where we would live, and if we would even move, and how we would handle the transition for Adahlia — all such big things hanging in the mysterious unknown — she said to me: “How are you so calm? How come you aren’t completely stressed out?”

I replied: “Because it’s entirely out of my control.”

Now, this is not to say that I didn’t have my moments of stress. I certainly did. But they passed quickly. I can honestly say that. Because each day unfolded one more piece of the puzzle. Every day, something happened that would direct the action of the next two to seven days. And as I couldn’t plan beyond that, I didn’t try. Instead, I accepted that where Adahlia and I would end up at summer’s end would be where we needed to be, regardless of what it looked like.

I have come to realize that where I need to be is always exactly where I am. And sometimes that place isn’t exactly comfortable, or nice, or a step up in the world according to the average American.

And that’s okay. I don’t care if its uncomfortable, or looks bad, or is a downward trajectory. And I can say that without falsity or bravado.

I accept it.

Because, my friends, I know nothing.

And neither do you.

We can’t see the wizard behind the curtain. We don’t know the master plan. We don’t know if its going to rain or be sunny in the afternoon, and we know even less if any event is going to be “good” or “bad”… and this is because “good” and “bad” don’t exist. They are moving targets. They change based on relativity and based on what happens next.

I don’t know what’s going to come of Adahlia’s situation. I don’t know why this disorder is in our bloodline (if it wasn’t a freak mutation), and I don’t know how it got there.

Today, one of my doctor’s expressed dismay learning that my surgery had been cancelled to save my kidney, because its function is too low.

“I don’t understand why it failed!” she said.

Well, neither do I.

Of course, I have my conjectures. Why did it happen? Because it was meant to be? Or perhaps it has to do with what I stated earlier — how everything is connected, nothing is a mistake, there are reasons behind everything. I see more connections between things than most people would prefer not to connect. (It can be daunting to start to realize the connections. And tempting, then, to play the blame game.)

If we are exactly where we need to be, and we don’t like it, how do we get out?

Well, we remain open to change, but we stop “trying” to be other than where we are.

We start with being where we are.

We start with listening: not to others, but to our deepest truth, gut, and inner self.

We act only from that place.

And if we aren’t sure of what to do, we do nothing. We see what unfolds. We let what happens, happen. We stop trying to control, to direct, to change, our lives.

Sound silly?

What will sound sillier then, is that we continue to stay there, in that uncomfortable place. And we examine everything we can about that place. And we love ourselves for being there. And we come to love that place. And we love God for having us there, because in it is the difficult and dark places that we learn and grow.

Things appear to be changing for our family it seems. Miraculously. Financially, and more important, in health. I have hope for my kidney, even though supposedly its dead. I have hope for Adahlia, even though there is no medical reason to hope at this point.

And when I say hope, I mean love.

I love my kidneys. They have been through hell, and they are amazing.

And I love Adahlia. She has been through hell, and she is amazing.

In my last post, I talked about what I had given up for Adahlia, to carry her and birth her and bring her to this day. It has not been easy. But the truth is, my friends, that I had some foreshadowing of difficulty ahead. There was a moment early in my pregnancy, when Joe told me that in certain religions, in order to birth an extraordinary person into the world, the price was the mother’s life.

I breathed. And then I said, “Well, if that’s what happens, I accept.”

Of course, though, I didn’t want that to happen. I knew and could communicate with and loved Adahlia while she was in my belly — an extraordinary person! I definitely wanted to know her when she was outside it. And the price for Adahlia has not been my life. I have been blessed to nurture her, hold her, kiss her, read to her, teach her, learn from her, and play with her. She is my very best friend. The best friend I wanted when I was little. The best friend I wanted when I was older. And truly, my best friend now.

Does she make me mad sometimes? Yes, of course. She can be ornery and demanding. But she is also the absolutely most intelligent, soulful, sweet, fun, inquisitive, and musical person I have ever met. And she is extraordinarily patient and reasonable. If folks say you can’t reason with a 2 year old, well, Adahlia and I prove them wrong multiple times a day.

The truth is, friends, that I would actually give both my kidneys for her. If conceiving her set off a strange chain of events and her existence ends up costing me my life, that’s okay. Even if she dies, too, and it all seems like it was for nothing.

Is anything ever for nothing?

Does not every movement, every ripple, even ever so small, cause an effect upon the greater whole?

Where we need to be is always exactly where we are.

And it does look like things are turning around for our family. We are enjoying it — oh, it would be wonderful to have a house! And to be healthy! That would be so fantastic.

But if it doesn’t happen, if the house falls through… well, that’s okay.

If something happens with Joe’s work, or Adahlia’s health, or anything else… well, that’s okay.

And I mean it. I kind of don’t care about things “working out” anymore.

I’m just happy to be here.

For however long I happen to be here.

And I wont go down without a fight — for myself, or for Adahlia.

Adahlia is now 2 years old. She celebrated her 2nd birthday the day before independence day. She still says “Happeebihrddday” and engages with me about it. (I ask her how old she is, she holds up two fingers. I ask how old she used to be, and she holds up one finger. “But not anymore,” I say. “Because you had a happy birthday. Now you are two.” And she nods and smiles and exclaims “happebihrdday!” and asks for ‘more’ happy birthday in sign language. Then I laugh and tell her not for a long time, that a lot of other people have to have a happy birthday first, and then she can have another one. “You get to be two for a long time,” I say. “Do you like to be two?” And she smiles and looks at me mysteriously: “yeeah.”)

I have so much fun learning and playing with Adahlia. Going on bike rides, getting pizza, emptying the dishwasher, running errands… she’s a trooper and a pretty darn good team player. We still sleep together at night… and in fact, she’s waking up right now and looking around wondering where I am. I should go.

Because I need sleep too.

Where we need to be is always where we are, until we no longer need to be there.

And then something will shift, and we will no longer be there.

We set our intentions, and we bring our best forward, but we don’t need to push it. We don’t need elaborate plans for our future (it is somewhat folly — there’s so much we can’t control or anticipate!) And we certainly don’t need to stress about it.

What we need is to be flexible, and strong in our center, so that the winds, the waves, the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” can strike us, and we find that we are okay in the depth of our being. We use it as an opportunity to learn, to grow, in our own Being. And possibly we will be able to offer something greater and deeper once we come through it.

Where you need to be is exactly where you are, until you no longer need to be there.

Believe it.

And love where you are.