And this morning, we've come back to Thich Nhat Hanh's (paraphrased) advice: if you're unhappy/overwhelmed/lost/restless/bored look at a flower. It's not about the perfection of a flower, because nothing is Platonically perfect, so don't look for perfection. Heck, don't look for anything so-called 'deep.' The point, I think, is just to look at one thing. One thing in this vast sea of things.
And of course it doesn't have to be a flower. It could be a pencil, a cup, the steam rising from a cup, the lines on a calendar, the crumpled paper in the recycling bin. Anything.
We are overwhelmed with choice, which I think is most of our problem.
If all those years watching 'Back to the Future' taught me anything, it's that time is a construct and, really, means very little. (Eastern philosophy has also taught me that, but the brain being the nostalgic sod it is, prefers the vehicle of 80's cinema). Either way, it's an impossible understanding to live in.
We are slaves to the clock, I get that. The sun doesn't give a flying fig if we think it sets at 8:02 or 8:03. It just sets, and we have to scramble behind it, assigning it numbers and schedules (and meetings and memos, classroom bells, too, if we could get away with it), because we can't seem to handle, at least collectively, this idea that we aren't in charge. Not just of the natural beasts like sunrise, moonrise, and season shifting, but of each other.
As kiddos, we're trained to bells, to schedules, to mealtimes and bedtimes. As adults, we rebel, gathering up all the nighttime hours as ours (finally!), only to find exhaustion at the other end, dragging ourselves through so...
My graduate degree is in poetry which is a funny sort of classically romantic and daring degree for someone who, really, could not be described as either romantic or daring (though, perhaps I'd admit to classic-leaning). Nevertheless, I do love it. I love the bare-bones basics of it, the you-have-to-know-this-right-now-and-the-only-way-to-tell-you-is-like-this nature of it. It's essential storytelling, and though one might not always decipher the why and how of the language, the punch is always there, the intention.
All of that is true.
It's also a disclaimer for today's Satya (and countless others, no doubt). Because sometimes something is true, and I have no idea why or even what it means.
Humans are burdened, and it's too bad, really, because I'm sure, once, we were as lovely as any other naturally occurring sequence of light and chemistry. That loveliness, that once-upon-a-time silent wonder is there still, I'm sure.
But it's so much easier to be sure, standing in the woods, alone, at sunrise.
Every time I can sit as quietly with a person as I can a tree, with no apprehension, no motivation, and no expectation except that of mutual respect and acceptance, then I take it as a sign that we have a chance in this world.
All I know is that we're stronger than we think. This isn't news and, as pep talks go, it isn't even that inspired. But it's true, and I'm not sure if truth needs a brand, a hook, a catchphrase. Truth is in your bones, and you know it whether you want to or not.
So. Whatever it is, remember this: your bones and blood share more in common with the sea, the stars, and the stones than they do anything else. Those are the relations I claim and, dear goddess, I hope they're proud to claim me, to claim all of us toiling away down here, tired hands in the earth, tired heart against the stones, tired head in the grass.
I'm no expert in these things (or anything, really), but I don't think the earth frets and worries. It just gets on, which leads me to believe that comparison and wishing for otherwise (whatever your otherwise is), is the pernicious root of misery and chronic dissatisfaction.
So, if I insert that lesson here (whatever, exactly, that lesson is), I think might begin to feel my way forward, antennae-like, instinct-like.
It's been one of those weeks. And it's sort of lovely that that's all I need to say, because 'those' is so telling--the beauty of it is, we're in this, and have been there, together. Maybe (thankfully) not at the same time, but from time to time. Staggered suffering, staggered discomfort.
I used to think (not really, but secretly) that I was being tested or punished, or that I was being given a lesson whose moral I can't seem for the life of me master (can you please rephrase the question, universal being/mother/father). And although the weird, worried, Yankee Puritan ancestry haunting my DNA latches onto these ideas of punishment, testing, and cosmic education, I think it's more about empathy and community than divine judgment or ancestral karma.
I want to do/fix/be everything by myself. I want self-reliance and to have all the right answers on my own. But we're a hive (or a pack, but not being a dog person, I'll go with bees), and we have a hive-mind (for better, for worse). And...
I am so guilty of this--focusing on the one out-of-the-ordinary, pain-in-the-arse task, inconvenience, or new thing that will be, in reality, uncomfortable for maybe five minutes. But here I am, already having dedicated countless minutes to imposing that discomfort on myself.
I don't know how we got this way. Surely, our hunter-gatherer ancestors needed that antennae, that apprehension of the unknown, but they couldn't have lived it *all* the time, or we wouldn't be here. We'd have killed each other off or died under stress-related illness long before now.
I don't have the reason and, let's face it, it's not like I have the answer, either. But I'm aware of it. Even if I shift my focus back to the one cloud in an otherwise perfect sky, I remember. I shift back.
Really, I think that's all we can hope for in the beginning. But that's not a small thing--to have the power, the choice, to shift focus?That's some bad-ass magic right there. Remember that; when you reclaim your focus,...
Oh, man. We are all tested. That's how it feels, anyway. Or, maybe, more benignly, like we're at the center of some huge cosmic joke and the punch line has *got* to be coming any minute.
A big universal #justkidding.
And then, eternally flabbergasted, I think, nope. This is just how it is. This is just how it is, and we have to make do. Simplify. The less we have to herd, keep track of, or replace, the better. The more we can invent, rely on our own cleverness of mind and cleverness of hands, well, the happier we'll be, I think.
Because really, that's not only the awesome-sauciness of doing something for yourself, but suddenly, in a world where you're never good/clever/skinny/strong/young/old/smart/capable/solvent/productive enough, well, you've just proved a big ol' hell-yes-I-am. I mean, look! Look at this bad-ass thing you just made. That's the community, the tribe, that will put the punch in the punchline.*