We are problem-solvers by nature--every single one of us. It's a skill we've very obviously inherited, considering we're here at all. All it takes, and maybe this is the hard bit, is a few moments of calm, a few moments of silence, and a few moments of clear sight. Is it impossible to achieve all three simultaneously? Perhaps, especially the latter, but like everything else, all it takes is a bit of patience and a bit of practice.
For now, just tell yourself this and believe it: there is no situation from which you cannot emerge. Undamaged? Whole? Those labels are up for debate. But in my book, if you emerge? You emerge keeping your whole self, everything that matters, and that, petals, is nothing short of a triumph.
Food, water, shelter, warmth are all obvious, life-sustaining essentials. But I'm quick to add space to that list--space to think freely; space to make judgments, and then assess them for honesty; space to move and dance and run without witnesses (because, no matter how popular the quote, I've never been able to dance as if no one were watching); space to make your mistakes and your quiet triumphs; space to decide how to go forward, and how not to go back.
Find space--even if it's under a bed, in a shower stall, under the winter coats at the back of the closet, but designate it, name it, christen it: space.
Make it your second home and watch how quickly you thrive.
I am quite certain I almost ruined my life in the pursuit of perfection. I'm not even sure whose definition I was following; most likely it was the most dangerous--one made up entirely in my poor, addled and misguided brain. But even recognition is rarely enough. We become so wedded to the idea of perfection, so thin-skinned yet strong-willed, afraid, eventually, even to leave the house for fear of marring the image, giving in to temptation, falling apart.
But at the same time, what's all that work for if not to be seen? It's the blessing and the curse--to be seen is too much and not enough. How much easier some days would be if we were carved from marble, unchanging, unfeeling, unambitious, but, what? Un-moving? Unmoved?
There are people out there comfortable with themselves or, if not comfortable, comfortable with their discomfort, comfortable with our universal imperfections. They are the truly charismatic, the authentically present souls we're inevitably drawn to. They are the truly...
Even when things are going well, I think we ought to make it a daily habit to look for the light, lest we forget how to find it. If that can be our constant, our touchstone, then we're never really thrown if it all goes pear-shaped, because we've never lost the ability to realize that even this is temporary, that we've been through discomfort before and come out the other side.
Because that's the charming (if painful) naivete that's part and parcel of being human--we believe that every state we're experiencing, good or bad, will last forever. We're so wrapped up (not trapped; never trapped but, shall we say, preoccupied) in ourselves that suddenly we forget physics, forget how time works, forget how all states are fluid and shifting, reflecting and refracting whatever light we choose (or don't choose) to throw on our particular situation.
So. No matter how you feel today--blissful, elated, grieving, bored, furious, or frustrated--make it a point to find and sit in the light, for a m...
I think we confuse the two, stillness and stagnation. I think we get to a point where we're so afraid of choice, we choose not to make any. But that choice, or non-choice, is a catalyst from which a multitude of unasked-for, unapproved choices will be made.
At least by making decisions, we can begin to exert some control over our lives again. Even if they end up not being what we want, we've begun empowering ourselves with our own faith and decided--made the choice--to trust ourselves again. And, over time, that renewed trust will not, cannot, lead us astray.
Letting our mind still itself seems like a scary prospect, counter-intuitive--if we let our minds still and settle, then there would be nothing there to stop the avalanche of dread, worry, anxiety, and worst-case-scenarios to come toppling down from where we've shoved them, our backs aching from the effort.
But that, doves, is the crux of the illness--this belief that it takes all of our brute strength to ward off the messy onslaught of our minds. And the ridiculously unfair and cruel thing about worry, about anxiety is that the more we struggle, the more it manifests. Think of it this way: a glass of water on your desk, when left alone, will not rush up and topple the glass, soaking everything in its path. Of course not--that's not the nature of water. It takes a force--the wind, the moon, the tides, gravity--to inspire movement, gentle or violent.
We are our own act of god--we provide our own force by struggling to hold everything back. But here's the secret--if we were to wa...
I don't know if we're ever truly ready to stop hiding. It's like those mornings when you say aloud, "Get up, Amy," over and over because nothing else is going to spring you from bed.
Coming out of hiding necessitates the same impulse, the same self-talk (though not self-discipline--I think that harsh taskmaster and I have parted ways for good...talk about an unequal relationship...).
Don't get me wrong--being seen is, can be, terrifying. But if we all chose to be seen, to be transparent, where's the fear? And how distributed the power?
Last night I dreamt that I was walking through some foreign city, naked, and neither the nakedness nor the foreignness bothered me.
Shakespeare wrote, in Richard III, "Talkers are no good doers." I've always loved that, and I've always used it to remind myself that I don't need to fill space, that there's nothing wrong with quietly going about, getting on with my work. Silence, after all, can be far more profound--we don't have words for everything (and, really, thank goodness for that).
In silence we not only find ourselves, but we meet ourselves, sometimes for the first time after a long absence. That may not always be a comfortable reunion, but in time, it will resolve itself joyfully.
That is, if we don't talk ourselves out of the journey first.
You don't need to wait to be whole, to be here now, to manifest time or space or patience. You don't even need your own permission to tell this body that it's already home, that it's always been home, but it helps.
We're addicted to waiting--as much as we, as a culture, hate it, we can't get enough of it. It's inevitable that, if we look for it, there will always be something we're waiting for--an appointment, a birthday, a season, a weekend, a baby to be born, a haircut to grow out, a holiday, a deadline, a presidential election.
And for some reason we have this idea that we can't do *anything* else in the meantime but wait. No wonder we hate it--what kind of purgatory have we sentenced ourselves to? And it's all on us--no one has locked us here. Yet here we sit on our cold, hard bench in our cold, hard cell, desperate for some idea of freedom.
So here's the thing--you're already home. You're already here. You already have what you need to do your joyful work in the meantime. Yo...
It's hard enough to know yourself, much less to live comfortably, unapologetically in your own skin. I certainly haven't gotten either mastered, not even remotely. I feel as if I'm always apologizing for myself, for my arrival, my departure, my inherently rebellious nature that, apparently, is never going to change.
But what else is there? This is the arrangement of our cells, of our psychology and how else are we to live? How exhausting it is to edit ourselves, day in and day out, conforming and shaping and keeping quiet.
Well. Let's try. Let's try to live on and live up to the standards our higher selves set when we came into this world, to dance through our days to our own tune, never mind the melody that might already be playing.