I've never been a high-heels/make-up/hair kind of girl, which is no judgement on any of those lifestyle choices. On the contrary--I completely understand how the fashion game can be thrilling. I admire the instinct and the creativity it takes to put together a signature look, and the men and women who can do it with poise and energy are certainly forces to be reckoned with.
But that's the key--it's their instinct, their default setting. If I were to try, I'd be nothing more than a poor copy of the original. I would be ridiculous in any heel higher than my Frye boots, sticking out like an elephant in a tutu. It's just not right. But the point is, I've been there, I've tried. I've tried the make-up/hair thing (briefly, in college; it wasn't pretty). I felt like I was wearing someone else's ill-fitting clothes. Talk about self-conscious.
I'd rather arrive underdressed than overdressed. I'd rather be overlooked than stand out (at least in person; I'd rather let my work speak for itself). T...
If you're like me (And I assume, at least in part, you are--otherwise, why read? Unless, of course, you're just here to be entertained by my neurotic struggles, and in that case, I completely understand. You may continue.), then you apologize way too much. Perhaps not out loud, but certainly in your head.
I yearn to be so under the radar that I avoid drawing any kind of attention to myself. Perhaps because I assume it's as uncomfortable for the person I'm querying as it is for me? I always imagine that I'm putting someone at an inconvenience. Right? Do we all feel this way? I wonder when and where we learned that we had no right to our own time, to our own questions, to our own misgivings and fears and need for reassurance. I wonder, too, if we'll ever get over it. I wonder if we'll ever, ever find strength and courage enough to stand up and just say, 'hang on a second--I'm really frightened here and I need some answers. I have a right to my own peace of mind.'
Today I resolve, no matter what happens--planned or unplanned, charming or difficult--to handle every beautiful, interesting, mundane, intriguing nuance in my day as if I chose it. As if I'd foreseen the unfolding of events and decided to go ahead anyway. I resolve to pull intention and purpose, meaningful gesture and economical movement back into my life.
Today I invite intention to rush in, filling the empty space where anxiety has long found such a comfortable home.
We don't give ourselves enough credit, I don't think, for waking up every morning and getting on with it despite and despite and despite. That is a gorgeous act of bravery, an illuminating and heart-breaking testament to how much we value this life, this world, and all the creatures in it. We could so easily sit this one out, draw the covers back up, and hibernate until we waste away to nothing. The effort--the effort!--it takes to pull up our socks, to move our sweet souls through a culture caustic with assumptions and double standards, wariness and downright spitefulness.
The air is polluted with the fetid breath of those who wake up just to shout, just to hear themselves speak, just to hear their targets fall beneath the fire of their own hot air.
Well, my doves, we are the antidote. We are the sweet green creatures who hold our tongues until the moment arises to lash out. We are trained to watch, to listen, and to strike--quietly, effectively, and with purpose. There are no ca...
Some mornings I wake up and it's like the faith fairy has visited me in the night. I'm not sure what the trigger is, what the catalyst is that inspires her occasional visitations, but I wish I knew. Or, more likely, she visits every night and it's only during certain fluctuations of moons and stars and moods that I'm able (or willing) to hear her.
Whatever the case, I'm grateful for any time she can spare me. It's lovely to wake up and not expect the worst, at least, not first thing. And it makes me wonder--how did we learn this? How did we learn that the worst-case scenario is the most likely? Because it's not--hardly ever. And yet that's our default. How did we become so downtrodden? How did we lose the carefree days of coloring the grass blue, the sky green? How did we become so rigid, so unsettled, so addicted to the words, 'no' and 'never'?
It's been a long, deep winter, doves. I think we could all use a little levity, a little breath of something fresh and green, something th...
I assume (well, I hope, because I don't really want to be nuts) that everyone has worries buried deep that they're afraid to churn up for fear that they're actually true. But then if we don't turn that soil over, we risk that contaminant spoiling an entire season's work. On one hand, we find out we've distorted the truth (again), and on the other, we find we haven't this time, and honestly? I'm not sure which is worse.
And then I think, ye gads! Enough with the introspection already. Can't you just put on your shoes and hat like a normal person and go enjoy the day? But you know, I'm not sure I was ever that person. Are any of us? Or has the whole atmosphere just become too weighty for us to dance along like we used to?
I'm not sure, but March is coming; the inevitable sticky churning of mud season is coming. Sometimes that smell of thawing earth offers nothing but possibility. Sometimes it offers nothing but the veiled threat of secrets uncovered.
Dormancy is necessary, as much a part of the cycle as growth. We've seen what a sleepless culture has done to our society, to our patience, to our resistance to stress, anxiety, and depression. And though we'd be wise to value rest far more than we do, we can't allow ourselves to ignore the inevitable nibbles of restlessness.
We can't ignore the lengthening days, the muscles of our legs and feet firing in readiness for a season of activity--not mindless or habitual busyness. That distinction is important. There is no growth with exhaustion, with nagging obligation. If we're doing this right, if we're honoring the physical, mental, spiritual signals calling us to move, calling us back to the earth, then we need answer to no one. We need not say yes when our deep, soft spirit says no.
We are here to breed compassionate hearts, but not at the risk of our own wellbeing. Risk that, and we risk pitching headlong into dormancy, lingering there as one season follows another.
I think I might be ready to look up and around for once. You know? It becomes such habit to walk, head down, watching our feet, as if they don't know what they're doing, as if they need our constant coaching. It becomes a crutch, this false sense of being needed, and we hang onto it--our perfect "I can't; I'm busy" excuse.
But I think we miss a lot, sacrificing to this inward focus. And it's not even constructive inward focus--this isn't introspection; this isn't growth. This is pure head-in-the-sand avoidance, and it's a skill we've honed to shiny perfection.
The thing about shoving one's head in the sand, however, is that it's dark, and it's hard to get any enthusiasm, any kind of groove kindled in the dark. But, you know, I think we're due for some sun. And I don't think any of us would come to any harm by pausing, looking around--not to see what we've missed, because that's an exercise in deliberate self-sabotage--but to see how far we've come, to see how close we are to the incred...
I believe in absolute and instant connection. I believe in putting one's faith, wholeheartedly and without reservation, into instinct. I don't, however, have much faith in first impressions. I don't believe that any sensible judgement can be made in a moment simply because I have been so absolutely wrong so many times. I chalk that up to an inherent people-meeting reticence.
But you know what I'm saying--eventually, with enough encounters, a vibe oscillates into your orbit and you pick up the feed, deciding how this person fits. A like-minded, life-supporting planet? A distant planet you pass by on occasion, but wouldn't go out of your way to bump into? An ice-covered satellite planet that rockets around, thankfully, at a great distance? Or, on those rare occasions, a sun? A moon?
And here's the thing--relationships, like orbits, aren't static. They can change as time and atmosphere shifts. If we're not mindful day to day, then we fall into habit, into dependence, into a routine th...
We can no longer afford not to be heard. We can no longer funnel energy away from our happiness, away from our surprised delight when happiness drops in, every time it drops in. And if those moments feel rare? Feel too precious to risk frightening them away with anything other than a sidelong look? Well, rest assured that happiness is not a skittish sheep, dashing back into the pasture at the merest hint of a bell, a drum, a laugh, a dance.
On the contrary, happiness is drawn to the noise, to the light of celebration. It grows stronger the more energy we give it, the more energy we unselfconsciously allow, despite circumstances, despite whatever our present company. Happiness delights in spontaneity, in pleasant surprise, and the longer we tell it to wait, the longer we put it off until we're alone and comfortable, away from passersby, the less and less it will be inclined to visit.
And if it's been so long since happiness came around that you fear you'd never recognize it, try calling...