Mermaids Do Exist
I was at a meditation workshop in Garrison New York with my partner. It was a contemplative study of relationships. Both of us may have secretly thought this would fix the other of those irksome habits we couldn’t help but notice. And of course, in true contemplative spirit, we soon realized the workshop was just as much about our relationships with ourselves as it was with each other.
On the first day we were led through a guided meditation to explore the quality of our hearts at that moment. Sitting with our eyes closed, knees kissing those of our triad partners, we sunk under the melodious voice of our teacher.
“You are walking down a path,” she said. “It might be a path you recognize, perhaps a path in nature . . . ” Immediately I was on a path in Wonderland as Alice. Not too bad, I thought, look around at the talking flowers and forested path where every tree, branch, and leaf seemed to glow from the inside out.
“As you walk along this path,” the deep voice continued, “you approach a curve. Around the curve something waits for you that describes the quality of your heart at this moment.” It might be an object, she suggested, or a subject, or nothing. We were not to judge.
I grew excited, picking up speed through Wonderland, rushing around my corner from which delicious music could be heard. Rounding the corner, I stopped. There, floating above ground with the wind stirring her wavy blonde hair, was a mermaid.
First I laughed (it’s not often you find a mermaid in the forest); then I marveled at her sparkly multi-colored tail and conch shells; then I was pissed. What the hell did this mean?! How could the state of my heart be a mermaid? Oh, and now smiling dolphins were jumping over her head. Fantastic! My heart had gone completely bonkers in Wonderland.
After pouting for a moment, wondering what deep, life-changing visions my partners were having, I heard a soft voice. The mermaid’s lips were moving. Stepping close, I heard the single word she was repeating with an all-knowing smile.
I stared, breathing. A small smile inches across my lips. I got it. This Buddha in a bikini was challenging me with my perfect lesson: to believe. To believe in the impossible. To believe in myself. To believe in, well, mermaids.
I felt choked. I wanted to hug my scaly friend and weep into her glittering hair, but thought it might be rude, even in Wonderland.
“I will,” I promised her quietly. “I will believe in mermaids. I will believe in myself.”
That doesn’t mean my 2016 started by hunting for Ariel or deciding to test gravity, but I have dedicated this year to embracing this quality of heart. Too often we self-eliminate. Too often our minds focus on the negative, on what we think we can’t do.
Now ask yourself: what would life look like if I believed? Believe that you can, that you will, that your heart supports your deepest desires. This year, believe in mermaids. Because we all deserve a little more light, a little more humor, and a little more freedom in our lives.