The deepest desire of the human soul is to live in the ecstasy of love; all other desires are rooted in this one. Jalaja Bonheim, The Hunger for Ecstasy
. . . it is never too late to embrace our desires or to experience the rapture of being fully alive. Jalaja Bonheim, The Hunger for Ecstasy
Honoring our true desires and dedicating ourselves to realizing them are not selfishness. On the contrary, these practices awaken a beautiful generosity in our hearts. Jalaja Bonheim, The Hunger for Ecstacy
What about the snake? How could I have forgotten the snake? It sat in the middle of the road, thick-bodied and coiled, sizzling in the hot summer sun of a July afternoon. We screeched the car to a halt, ran back to see if it was okay and it rose up to greet us. I would have given my life for that snake. I stood there in the middle of a fifty-five-mile-an-hour highway, waving my arms, beckoning the traffic to the side, while my fellow traveler, she stepped forward close enough to pick it up. But how do you pick it up, something like that, something bigger than any snake you’ve ever seen, bigger than the rattlers out west, something that rises from its coil and looks you in the eye and opens its unhinged mouth and hisses? How do you stay hinged yourself when you are in the presence of power like that, pure unbridled, unhinged power?
And that’s what we had been talking about as we drove south along M-35, my friend and I, about projects stuck in the closet, about dreams ready to uncoil themselves, about hair standing on end because it is so darn exciting, about unhinged power ready to thrust itself forward. And that’s when we saw the snake. I remembered all of this the other night, months later in the midst of a freezing cold winter. I remembered the sizzling hot snake and the car ride south and the talk of creative projects and of growing desire. It was at a Valentine party, a Joy Center workshop nourishing our inner goddess and we were eating pure handcrafted chocolate and we were drinking cacao sprinkled with cayenne and cinnamon and we were lifting our mugs to the sky and we were cheering heartily and that’s when something opened inside of me, that’s when something surrendered itself to all of this dizzying sizzling chocolate of life. And what am I trying to say here?!? How could I have forgotten the snake? How could I have forgotten how she lifted herself up, insisting that we stop, take pause, recognize her for what she is, pure power, pure desire. And what is so wrong with desire?
I have been stuck in the trees. I have been tangled in the roots. I have been etched with lines and walled by stones. When did I become so tame? That’s what I wondered the other night. It’s fine to rub your hands against the rough bark of a tree, to feel its mighty roots beneath your feet, to feel your own mighty roots. But what about the snake? What about the sheer power rising up through that tree? What about the poems that rattle around inside of you, poems that can’t be squeezed from something as rigid as wood, as solid as stone? There are snakes that slither into the middle of the road and there are bees too. Have I forgotten about the bees? I used to know the sweet taste of nectar, the stickiness of honey. I used to let sticky into my playground. I remembered the snake the other night and I remembered the poetry of bees and I remembered how good it feels to ride the waves of a chocolate desire. And I remembered something else, too, that these things need to be talked about, the snake in the middle of the road, the project tucked away in the closet, the hunger for something that you don’t quite know yet, the stirring inside that simply can’t be ignored.
And the others, they need to know these things too, that you can let sticky into your life and you can enjoy the taste of chocolate, and those dreams, the ones you’ve tucked into the closet, the ones that have coiled themselves into a dormant ball, you can take them out and watch them grow. Because the snake, the one in the middle of the road — it is not dead. It is merely soaking up sun, merely waiting for the moment when you beckon, and then, it will rise up and it will meet you, eye to eye.