I'm not good with chaos, and I definitely consider messiness and its close cousin, clutter, chaos. That I have no artistic talent aside, that's probably why I became a writer--there's something so clean and satisfying about words on a page, so easily erasable and changeable.
But I also learned that a love of gardening and a love of the outdoors required tolerance for a certain degree of messiness. So I developed an appreciation for soil, for dirt beneath my fingernails, for callused feet and muddy knees. I played up the romance of weather and uncertainty, seasonal shifts and unexpected results.
Inoculating ourselves against the messiness of life by immersing ourselves in the clean, natural messiness of art, of the outdoors, of baking is one of the cheeriest ways we can strengthen our resolve, our tolerance, and our fondness for a little chaos.
Working in the garden is essential therapy for me, for so many of us. It's the lesson, again and again, that you can start with nothing. You can start with nothing and with enough applied effort, the results are never anything short of miraculous. For so long, nothing happens--all that work, all that effort, gone underground. So much time passes with seemingly so little progress.
Unless you know where to look and what to look for. Eventually, the collaboration between seed, sun, weather, and your own effort, yields results that, to me, are an endlessly delightful surprise.
I never felt especially smart or talented or magical, but every year around harvest time, I reassess that very dour view of myself and think, yes, maybe there *is* a little magic here.
Panic struck me in the night, despair about this country, its administration, and the latent hatred that seems to surface more and more every day. So often it's so hard to be a small, insignificant being in a large, loud world.
And then I think, surely other people have felt this way, in their own countries under their own dictators, under conditions much more dire, and somehow they still found enough lightness to create, to play music, to dance in spite of.
Maybe our country is just too large to find anything resembling an easy alliance, but I refuse--I refuse--to give up my compassion. I will not bury my quite justified anger, but I will not let it eat away at my hope. Because once you've given them that, you truly have lost everything.
It's the materials and circumstances at hand that we have to find peace with--those are the only materials with which we can work. Wishing for otherwise will do nothing but make us--and those falling into our immediate orbit--miserable.
We can only effect change with what's immediate. We can, of course, work toward larger change, larger goals, but each triumph of contentment we can muster in the moment, day-to-day, is a direct and vital piece of that larger change.
What small choice, what small adjustment in perspective can we make today, not only to ease our passage in the world, but perhaps to allow ourselves a glimpse of that happiness we've been promising ourselves for so long?
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 actually love when someone tells me it's impossible or unsolvable. Maybe that's my Aquarian rebellion surfacing--I've never liked being told what I could or could not do, but I can't help it. I love to solve a problem. I love to sit and let the wheels turn and look at the problem from every angle, testing this seam, prodding that one.
Because here's the thing--I'm convinced everything is solvable. And if I have some puzzles I've not yet solved? Well, their time is coming. Time--that's another side of the problem conundrum--some things can't be solved in the timeframe we have in mind. Some problems require props and resources for their solutions--items to be acquired or learned one at a time until the collection is assembled and we have what we need to get the job done.
But it's progress--and progress is a massive cog in the problem-solving machine. Luckily, the delight of the glimmer of a solution is enough to keep us on fire, no matter how long the solution spins itself out.
I think setbacks are normal. Self-doubt is normal and, let's face it, a regular visitor at our doors. But these, not intruders per se, but too-nosy-for-their-own-good neighbors are (in the spirit of generosity) just checking in. Just seeing how healthy our resolve is these days.
I'm not sure how often we pass the test, but I resolve to believe I'm here for my own good and that the answers, whatever they happen to be, are trying to get to me in any way that jolts me or intrigues me enough to sit up and take notice.
I have to believe we are loved. And I have to believe--I have to *remember*--that that message is delivered daily.
I don't often picture myself on the blog, or on the tubes in general, these days. Not anymore. And I'm not quite sure why that changed, except it began to feel uncomfortable, like the way a fear of heights will sneak up on you, despite being okay with them most of your life. Just one of those things.
But here we are, today, not in the background, just a face on any given day. This is me, and this is what I do. Our stories are quite simple, really, once we understand where we are and how we move in the world.
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.
I think our default answer is too often (as in almost always) 'no.' Or, waaaay more accurately, at least in my case, 'I don't want to.'
Now, there's a fine line here--some things, some offers, some opportunities, some options just don't resonate with the song your soul is playing, and I hear you. Say 'no' all you want, up and down the scale.
But some offerings nudge gently at that familiar melody--and you can always tell, down in your heart of hearts, that this particular addition, were you to embrace it, would add depth and feeling to the music you've been playing all of you life. And yes, that's scary. And yes that takes adjustment and a bit of tuning. But isn't it worth it? Isn't this the music you love? And isn't the practice, really, if we're honest, one of the most beautiful aspects of living?