I realize, through a hole I came into this life and to a hole I'll return.
This sobering fact is what makes life so precious and encourages me to savor every moment with everyone.
Because we never know when we'll pass through our final hole in this life, as my beloved stepbrother Kyle recently did before his 25 birthday. Which would have been today.
Nothing makes sense.
Makes me wonder so many things about life and death. Kyle, I love you. And I trust that you're finally free on the other side of the Mystery.
We all share this holey fate.
From my mothers' womb to my tomb this life will inevitably be filled with holes.
Even that sentence is a paradox. How is something filled with holes, when holes are "nothing"? Curious.
Nothing makes sense.
Maybe that's it. No-thing makes sense. If holes appear to be nothing- and our body holes are portals for our senses- therefore holes must make sense. Does that make scents? Or is my head just full of holes? Well yes, it is. I can count at least seven.
And for some-thing to exist the hole must be filled. Filling the nothing with something.
But what causes the hole to be filled, I wonder? Curiouser and curiouser.
I wonder if it's in the very wondering that the hole gets filled? My parents must have wondered at least a little bit about each other before jumping right into bed.
What if no-thingness becomes some-thingness by simply wondering through holes? Alice did fall down the rabbit hole by wondering...
I suppose that's true with my own dark holes. And my eternal quest to fill Mystery with sense, only to discover more and more wonder.
To make sense of this, I'll share a story of when nothing made sense.
It's summer of 2006. I'm freshly graduated from UW with a BA in International Studies and going through a bit of an existential crisis. Not my first one at that. My childhood diary can attest.
On top of my 'ready for hire to save the world because I'm clearly qualified now' delusion, I also carried a hypocritical edge toward cocktail party small talk where the first question asked is "what do you do?" I'd reply, "I'm a human being not a human doing." Little did I know I was a human 'tryingtoohard'ing.
During this dilemma on where to apply my eager ideals, I picked up my first restaurant gig at Nishino in Madison Park. Even though my BA ego was ready to help eradicate malaria in Sub Saharan Africa or something else as urgent, I justified that this esteemed Japanese establishment would teach me fine dining etiquette and therefore prep me for the professional world. Being raised by super young and hardworking parents in Gig Harbor, fine dining meant McDonalds, tatertot casserole and wonder bread. Still a wonder.
Soon my career pit became more tolerable as I filled my mouth hole with Nishino's Albacore Tuna Sashimi salad, Hamachi crudo, and whatever surprise roll Mori would whip up at the sushi bar. I began to notice my energy increase with this new fancy fish diet that I could only afford with a staff discount.
Nishino nourishment helped ease not only my career pit, but my relationship pit. Max and I were out of orbit that summer after being in and out since 17. I met Max in 2nd grade and I knew back then that this special boy would be in my life forever, I just didn't know how. Still don't. Leaving it for the wonder. And 14 years later Max and I still orbit in and out of fluctuating spirals of time and space. Our only constant is unconditional love.
So when I found out the news about Max's dad that June of 2006, I spiraled out into the dark spaces of disbelief and despair.
Hughie has Alzheimer's disease. That doesn't make any sense.
Hughie was only 56 and a fit doctor with the wildest intelligence. He was the sixth of ten Irish Catholic siblings and still the only one to have this tragic fate.
His diagnosis didn't make sense. Still doesn't. Probably never will.
Nothing makes sense.
This devastating news ripped a deep dark hole in my heart. A pit that couldn't be filled by Nishino or anything. So the only thing I could do that fateful day was what I always do when I'm lost: start walking.
I left my Fremont home with no destination. My feet headed toward Ballard as my heart sunk and my head spun with hows and whys and memories...
The first time I met Hughie was unforgettable.
He enthusiastically talked at me for 2 hours about the Mysteries of the Universe. Midway through his lesson Max and his mom Beth split off to go watch Dawson's Creek downstairs.
My teenage mind attempted to grasp what the hell Hughie was talking about. He spurted on how the Fibonacci Sequence and the golden ratio can be found in the spirals of a nautilus shell.
He led me over to his case of oddities to further prove his point and handed me the following:
Huh? This doesn't make sense.
Even though I was lost, I didn't start walking. I stood in awe of his kooky charisma.
Today I'm finally catching up to his wise insights, and if only he were here to share my own expanding curiosity for the Mysteries. Alas, in 2011 Hughie spiraled into the greatest Mystery of all after living 5 years with this insidious illness...
My own Hughie moments could fill volumes. And I know that goes for anyone who's ever spiraled with him. It's as if Alzheimer's robbed his memories and gave them all to us.
For this story I'll spiral back to June 2006 now.
My feet wandered into a Ballard bookstore. I normally love getting lost in the different sections and wondering who's reading what and why. That day was different. I wondered what, if anything, could help with my pain. The first book that caught my eye was:
The Power of Now: A Guide For Spiritual Enlightenment.
Hmmm. I could use some of that right now.
So I purchased my printed hope and schlepped 3 more miles to Golden Gardens Park. My feet continued to march as my heart continued to sink and my head continued to spin with hows and whys and memories.
My growing pains were also stemming from guilt. Guilt for not being in orbit with Max during this time.
I now know this guilt was dressed up as assumed responsibility for others, for hoping to fix or improve situations that couldn't or shouldn't be fixed by me or at all. What I needed to focus on was my own fixing, or not. But I didn't have the understanding then, so I sunk deep into the quicksand of guilt as I walked on.
Once I got to Golden Gardens beach I posted on driftwood and quickly sunk my feet into the sand.
Alright 'Spiritual Enlightenment', whaddya got?
I flipped open to a random page. And after reading just a few sentences of Eckart Tolle's simple words, something began to fill my nothing:
P R E S E N C E
For that golden moment at Golden Gardens, I allowed presence to pour into my dark holes and fill my being with sense.
My eyes saw what was actually around me: The sunlight dancing on Elliot Bay with the Olympic mountains in the distance and a seagull swooping down for a plunge.
My ears listened to what was actually around me: The rhythmic pulsation of waves tumbling pebbles and children laughing in the distance flying kites and a beagle barking.
My skin felt what was actually around me: The barnacles poking my feet and the warm breeze caressing my face.
My nose smelled what was actually around me: Seaweed caking on the rocks and that beagle's business.
My tongue tasted what was actually around and in me: The salty sweet air and remnants of my Americano.
My heart opened to what was actually around and in me: My inner landscape merged with the outer with an all pervading sense of Love, actually.
Hmmm, I do feel lighter.
(Disclaimer: this did not shortcut my grief process, which is as long as insidious as the disease itself.)
This new presence practice helped me muster the energy to work at Nishino the following day. Luckily I did.
Another server named Rey was also working that evening. I've been hearing so many wonderful things about this cool and collected Rey from the old school crew who worked with her a couple years back. Rey returned for the summer after acupuncture school. I had a total crush on her. She was so... Present.
So when Rey asked if I wanted to get some late night dinner at Palace Kitchen after our shift, I internally squealed with excitement.
"Yeah, sure. I think I'm free."
We got a table in the corner. Back then I'd normally be nervous being one on one with someone for the first time, but there was something about Rey that was calming. My attention expanded beyond my inner critic noise to notice the beauty and magic all around us. Our conversation spiraled between the depths and surfaces of life's Mysteries for hours.
"Rey, the most amazing thing happened to me yesterday."
"Oh yeah? What's that?"
"Have you heard of the book Power of Now?"
Rey slaps her hands on the table and and looks me straight in the eye.
"I KNEW you were my hole sister!"
From that present moment on our relateholeship began to spiral...
Over the past decade Rey's presence has filled my hole life with sense. Because of our connection, I presently walk a path of Yoga, Soma, and a hole heart.
I'm eternally grateful I am surrounded by others like Rey walking a path of presence so we can remind each other to fill our holes with sense. So when the spirals of those we love orbit in and out of our physical presence, the very hole of their absence allows s p a c e to be filled with the wonder of sense.
Because when nothing makes sense in life and death, as with Kyle and Hughie, I practice opening my senses to be filled with the Mystery. And to fill the presence of their absence with the memory of their presence. And trust that nothing makes sense.