It's not about the perfection of the act or the skill, but the process of doing it, the delight in the physical experience. It's feeling the guitar strings under your fingers, even if you only know two chords. It's the singing, full throttle, in the shower with only the dog to hear you. It's not caring a whit what the guy stuck in traffic next to you thinks of your mad steering-wheel-drumming skills.
It's when we lose ourselves in the movement that we find our tune and the inspiration to play it.
Maybe it's that we're tired of searching. That's our common denominator, isn't it? We're all searching--for love, for health, for community, for security, for assurity. Maybe that sweetly innocent aspect of the human condition will be what brings us, despite our apparent differences, together. I don't know.
But I do know one answer. I do know that peace lies in paying attention. That paying attention anchors us to this moment and in this moment, we're here, we're breathing, life is breathing on beside us and we're just fine. Paying attention is the magical act that brings us into presence--and our ability to to change, to manifest, to influence anything in our lives is limited to the present, to this immediate moment.
Beyond that, I don't know. But that's the lovely thing about it--if we pay attention, we don't need to know.
We always have a choice. Sometimes, yes, it takes more energy to choose wonder, to choose belief, to choose optimism, but I think it's worth it. I think it worth it to climb the hill as soon as you're awake and aware enough to find your footing, and then coast the rest of the day, bouncing joyfully over obstacles, until delivered safely back to rest.
I think, really, that we probably have to work harder at blending in than standing out. Or, we would, if we were belted into our own self worth as we ought to be. But that being said, there's no reason we can't be both--part of some bigger label-of-choice while not having to work so hard to distance ourselves, distinguish ourselves.
All on our own, given that we're wearing clothes that make us truly happy (rather than what's so-called acceptable or popular), eating foods that truly nourish us (as opposed to the diet-of-the-day, eating by dogma, or eating/not eating by guilt), listening to music that sings to our soul (loudly and with the windows open), and dancing or skipping or galloping in our bare feet as much as possible, well, that's a different story.
If that's the story, then there's nothing to worry about. We are who we are to the glorious tips of our calloused or manicured toes--stunningly here and beautifully wild.
We forget we have a choice of focus. Yes, we're tired; yes, we work hard. But the tiredness is well-earned, the working hard allows us to feed and clothe ourselves, to rest when we can. Illness means our body is working toward health; restlessness means we're halfway there.
I get it. It's so easy to go negative because it's always, always there--maybe it's a side effect of gravity? But even at our most blissful, our most in-flow, the negative is there--we're just too well-balanced, too much the masters of perspective to let it bother us, to let it pull us down.
But if we can remember those moments--those balanced moments--even if we can't pull ourselves into them, then I think we'll get a window into what it will be like when we finally accept contentment as our natural state.
This is motherwort--one of my favorite herbs of all time. I grow it in my garden and just love knowing it's there--this protective, supporting herb that feels so much like being called home, then embraced once you get there. I grow so many medicinal herbs in my garden, but more and more, I find I've less interest in harvesting them and more interest in watching them live out their perennial cycles; their riot of blooms; their odd, leggy growth patterns. These days, I've more interest in growing medicine than making medicine.
And I don't know what that means or says about me and the greater scheme, etc.,etc. I'm not sure I care to know. I'm quite sure I'm sick of self-reflection, so perhaps I'll just sit here, in the little leisure time afforded me, and watch the bees visit the motherwort.
This is a conversation two of us were having on Instagram the other day--how much of this life is dedicated to survival versus thriving? We discovered, I think, sadly, that thriving--growing green and glorious, dense and full--is secondary to the basics of food-shelter-water. And, yes, without means for survival there can be no opportunity to really thrive, but this is the question--is that living?
So when we wake up in the morning, heavy and burdened, too tired and already defeated, sure, we move through our days, we survive. But without the spark of life for life's sake, joy for joy's sake, then we are little better than clockworks, mechanisms marking time and ticking along until we stop.
How to redistribute our focus, our priorities? I have no idea, but I have a feeling it's a simple matter of shifting our attention--noticing something beautiful, simple though it may be, and finding wonder in that beauty. Letting ourselves be amazed on a regular basis--that's where we begin to...
Spring is the doorway to the otherworld, whatever that otherworld is for you, whatever religious/folkloric/intuited tradition it comes from. We are dangerously narrow-minded when we assume there is only one path to divinity; we are heartbreakingly short-sighted when we fail to realize that every path of light leads to divinity.
And speaking of light, spring provides us with plenty of it. If we can acknowledge this gift of light whenever it occurs to us, then we foster the alchemical connection between our daily- and divine-self. Because here's the thing--I have to believe that divine self is up there, tethered tightly to the crown of my head, the seat of my heart, the soles of my feet. I have to believe it because, from time to time, I hear her voice, I glimpse the shimmer of her long skirt, her bare feet above my head. I sense her in my quietest, most contented moments, no matter how short-lived they may be.
And if I lose that belief from time to time, well, I thank the godd...
As an herbalist, I believe strongly in the power of the entire plant, the entire organism. Are there times when the extract of one constituent of one plant is preferable? Surely, I can't say that there aren't. However, nothing, when possible, can compete with the whole food, the whole being of one herb.
Those constituents which might be irritating, caustic, or too strong are tempered by the ingeniousness of natural order--mucilage to counter alkaloids and tannins, relaxants to counter stimulants, nutritives to rebuild, astringents to re-tone. Food is indeed our medicine and, likewise, our medicine--as often as possible--should be food.
But like so many called to the healing arts, the body of the healer (I'm using that term incredibly loosely) is too often neglected and, at least in my case, the brain is too full of possible remedies to create a simple solution. Too often we complicate our own situation--the price of sticky subjectivity.
This will sound crazy, but whatever. We know each other well enough at this point. When I was a kiddo--young, like 5-8ish--I used to hear voices. Not voices-in-my-head voices, but voices in the woods. We lived in Rhode Island, and behind our house stood an enormity of woods, or so it seemed; I loved going off by myself, pretending I was making potions and medicines from the leaves, flowers, and berries I foraged there.
Two conditions necessitated the voices; one, I had to be alone and in the woods or two, I had to be alone and just drifting off to sleep. I have absolutely no idea what they were saying; they were whispers, murmurs from an overheard party downstairs when you were supposed to be fast asleep upstairs--that sort of thing.
All I know was that I found comfort in it, inclusion. I didn't try to intrude on the conversations, and then one day, they were gone. You see, I'd grown up enough to 'know better,' despite the fact that I never told anyone about them, and ev...