It's hard work to be reminded, again and again, that we choose to make our lives more difficult through worry, through anticipation of what may never happen. But it's a path that's worn and familiar--it fits our feet, and though it makes us miserable, there's a certain comfort in that.
But what if I told you that you could keep that dubious comfort and still bring yourself to present? All we need do is acknowledge the worry, the anticipation, the forecasting. Instead of becoming swept away in its current, we say hello, let it come in on its fierce tide, then watch it go out again, all while leaving ourselves where we are--sturdy and at center.
What was once a contact sport becomes a spectator sport. Those thoughts will always come, but that's not the life-sentence it seems. It's our reaction, our dissolving into them, that condemns us.
What have you long left dormant that might be calling for a return? What gifts have you forgotten about, stashed in a corner of your very different life, that might be unearthed, dusted off, and reopened?
I think, as we get older, we forget that we don't exist in one dimension, that we have more than one expression, one passion, one life-long interest, one calling. When we are young, we experiment with everything--fashion, music, personality, hobbies, hairstyles. That's the gift (and the work) of youth.
But we don't have to remain the shape we've grown into. We can expand our boundaries to take on any shape we like, changing daily if it pleases us. We've forgotten that we were born with the permission to evolve, to improvise, to experiment, to return. We were born with the freedom to dictate not only who we will become, but who we will be at any given moment.
The hardest thing is faith. I think we try so hard at everything else, all the other minutiae of our lives until we're so micromanaged, we chalk the whole thing up, at worst, as a giant failure or, at best, an exercise in frustration.
But if we could just focus on one thing, wouldn't that be so much easier? And what's more all-encompassing than faith? Granted, it sounds easy--just have faith and you'll solve everything. If only! But I think if we could just work toward that one thing, practice that one thing, then maybe the rest would fall into place?
After all, faith has a vast, spacious, and generous umbrella--faith in ourselves, faith in each other, faith in community, faith in the universe, and on and on. So, I'll say it--have faith. Have faith in your ability to be open to possibility. Have faith in your ability to get your sweet self through today and every day following. Start there, and have faith that the rest will fall into place.
This is why I love the sunrise--I need the reminder to be present. I need the reminder that this achingly beautiful event happens again and again, every day, without fail. It's effortless, and it reminds me that I really needn't try so very hard.
Two magical things happened yesterday. One, my car wouldn't start (not the magic part). If you know me, then you know I love my car, but we've had a rough old year together. So, of course, I assumed the worst.
Well, then, wasn't it the most magical gift to hear that it was merely a corroded connection, and that the grand total for the repair was under 50 dollars? It was one of the highlights of my year, I tell you.
The second magical thing happened in the middle of the night--the power went out (again, not the magical part). All I could think about (after hoping it wasn't an accident and, if it was, that everyone was okay) was how this new thing would change my routine, how I have to hustle differently, and then (of course) I lay awake for hours, trying to read myself back to sleep.
And then I slept and I dreamed the power came on (as you do). When I woke up, I reminded myself not to get my hopes up, but then there it was--the streetlamp (the one I complain about being too bright--never...
We can't live every moment, or even every day, at the same level of importance. It's exhausting, and I'm afraid it's become our habit. It was a revelation the other day when it occurred to me that whatever thing I was doing? It wasn't that important. It didn't warrant the stress or the energy or the tension or the breath-holding I was affording it.
This is not that important. It's become my new mantra, and I can't tell you what a relief it is. We forget, you see, that very rarely are we faced with a life-or-death situation. We forget because we've tuned our stress response so acutely that it responds to the slightest stimuli.
Our bodies are ruling our minds. Or vice versa. It doesn't matter. All that matters is that this, most of this? It's not that important.
Despite how hard it can be, I like to think that the universe is not only benevolent, but actively engaged in our good. Because why not? What do I know? We didn't know why, after all, our parents rationed our Halloween candy or made us eat dinner before dessert until much later. And certainly we were angry, and certainly we deemed it unfair. But most of us can now thank our parents for the majority of those decisions, made on our part, when our own unchecked wants would have destroyed us.
So, yes, it's hard to hear 'no,' and sometimes it's hard to keep going when you want to quit, but I have to believe there's someone up there or out there with a global perspective, nudging us along for our highest good.
You do have to wonder, when you're awake in the middle of the night worrying about something as mundane and supposedly joyful as gardening, if you've really lost it and fallen between the cracks of nightmare and habitual anxiety. And you have to slap yourself out of it, saying aloud, 'Um, excuse me, but what the hell are you doing with your precious and impressive brain?'
And, more often than not, come morning, it all seems so silly, so you chalk it up to restless dreams, but I wonder if there's a lesson in that--that surrendering to it in the moment (the anxiety, the worry, the nightmare) will free us from the fear of recurrence. That maybe if we learn to sit with the anxiety--silly or not--we'll develop a tolerance. We'll vaccinate ourselves against our own sabotage.