The Freshest Chamber

Be Well Be Happy

“Our ability to find something to love, and to love again for the first time, depends greatly on how we resolve and integrate where we’ve been before. A great model for us exists in the chambered nautilus, an exquisite shell creature that lives along the ocean floor.  The nautilus is a deep-sea form of life that inches like a soft man in a hard shell finding his prayers along the bottom. Over time it builds a spiral shell, but always lives in the newest chamber.

“The other chambers, they say, contain a gas or liquid that helps the nautilus control its buoyancy.  Even here, a mute lesson in how to use the past:  live in the most recent chamber and use the others to stay afloat.

“Can we, in this way, build strong chambers for our traumas:  not living there, but breaking our past down ‘til it is fluid enough to lose most of its weight? Can we internalize where we’ve been enough to know that we are no longer living there?  When we can, life will seem lighter.

“It is not by accident that the nautilus turns its slow digestion of the bottom into a body that can float. It tells us that only time can put the past in perspective, and only when the past is behind us, and not before us, can we be open enough and empty enough to truly feel what is about to happen. Only by living in the freshest chamber of the heart can we love again and again for the first time.” (The Book of Awakening, Mark Nepo)

This is one of the most profound passages I have read in a long time. Maybe because it resonates deeply at this point in my life, or maybe because it is so pointed, full of sense and brings forth a process for perfect balance. 

Transform the bad, the hard, the trauma and integrate each by allowing them to become something that helps us to live rather than prevents us from living.  We can retell, re-feel, re-embody all of the bad things over and over again, but when we acknowledge, know and feel that they are a part of us—whether we like it or not—we create something that helps us to live—to float and swim like the nautilus.  We are a sum total of our experience on this earth—that is a lot of moments.  These millions of moments contributed to the people we are.  Using the past as a means to live now is a powerful message. 

A few days ago, I used the image above and scooped up some not so good life experiences and put them in a chamber below where I am living now and imagined them with very little weight—so light that they barely existed —only to keep the person I am living upward in the newest chamber, the freshest chamber of my heart. 

May you be happy.  May you be free. May you be grateful.  May you be compassionate.  May you let go of things that do not serve you. May you have inner peace. 

By Paulette Mancuso

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