Papa Gourd aka King of Cups- the guru within
You know him, or maybe that part of yourself, the one who reads poetry, or writes it; is a natural born healer, has strong empathetic vein running through the center; or a deep commitment to injustices towards human beings, across the borders of race, culture and income brackets; the one who is drawn to serve, and if not actively engaging it, is championing some cause through writing or art. The one who volunteers to hold premature babies at the local hospital or be at the side of the dying, or wanting to lean into this part of one’s nature. That person, or part of you, is kin to Papa Gourd.
Now if you just read that and thought, ‘I have no idea what you are talking about, nor do I know anyone who behaves in this way’; well then, I offer that you may be spinning your wheels in the wrong direction my friend. The thing of it is we are all, and I mean ALL, in need of a little Papa Gourd in our lives; especially these days.
Now I am hardly suggesting anyone quit their day job or their friends, though if you consider making a few tune ups to your current line up, some things may get cleaned up, or cleared out. Just sayin’
This is the quality of slowing down and realizing that most of the shit (stuff) that occupies your time and your mind, is just that, STUFF. And if you are reading this, meaning have the luxury or the inclination or the time, you likely have enough. Really. Me too. Meaning, yes that, but also I have enough.
After a while we choke on it, grow fat on it, our minds get muddled with it and our hearts grow cold. Man that’s depressing, but Papa is here, right by your side, waiting to be let in, or, woke. This is an invitation to experience softness, but also the fire of desire. A desire for equality and equanimity; for the things that have the potential to elevate us, the very things that distinguish us from most mammals, the possibility to create art and music and poetry; the part of us that wonders at the immensity of the universe and also the expanse of the human heart; the part of us that wants to heal and be healed by offering of ourselves. To experience and live into our potential for kindness and compassion.
Now look, there are always two sides to the coin and, when out of balance, Papa Gourd energy can also be self indulgent, a little lazy and yes a bit narcissistic, so beware of this, or the tendency to give just to be seen, but mostly I like to hold the thought that we are seeking to illuminate something positive within ourselves, or, to give gratitude to those in our lives that we recognize have these qualities.
So this week, look around, and look within, to notice and honor this gentle King. Make an offering or create some time, and perhaps a ritual, to commit to nurturing this part of you. Be gentle, run a bath, read some poetry, drink some tea or enjoy some fine wine or special chocolate. Nurture yourself first and let that sense of self care and pleasure and honoring of the senses, extend to others or other areas of your life. Have an intimate gathering where each person offers gratitude to another person in the room. Then perhaps each person extends compassion to someone not there, a person or group of people, or a cause, that needs compassion. Then a layer further out, extending this to something or someone that you have a very difficult time with.
This practice is a riff on Metta. I mean no disrespect to the original practice, and some of you may already engage in this practice personally, but for those who don’t know of it, this is a beautiful way to experience the boundless nature of the the human heart, so I think it is a service to extend it to anyone interested in it apart from a full on Buddhist practice.
Whatever you do, explore the part of you that desires to step into your own innate wisdom. Stop seeking outside yourself, or trying to collect it by acquiring more stuff. Slow down for just an hour, breathe, be near the water or even see The Shape of Water. Flow, let yourself flow.
‘Unable to perceive the shape of You, I find You all around me. Your presence fills my eyes with Your love, It humbles my heart, For You are everywhere.’