I think we often fall into the misconception that it takes energy to be who we are, to show up for ourselves, as ourselves. But it's the misconception that taxes us, the trying to try, or not to try, as the case may be.
Being, even becoming (or allowing) who we are should be easiest thing in the world. Does that mean there aren't things to learn about ourselves or about how to navigate the world? Of course not. There's always more to learn for the willing. But there should be (key: should be, ought to be) an ease in our bearing, in our communication, in our arrival. The trick is always, always to allow. To allow for shortcomings, for mistakes, for misunderstandings because attempting to avoid those is what costs us, what depletes us.
It's inevitable that people won't like you, just as it's inevitable that you won't like everyone. And, sure, you'll talk about those you dislike in unkind ways, and you'll regret that, and maybe you'll learn, or maybe you won't, but allow either outco...
As part of my jobby-job (i.e. my day job), I've been reading a lot about birds, and I've suddenly realized how rarely I look to another species for a kind of nonverbal approach to better living. I mean, I spend hours watching the birds in my own woods, but it's never occured to me how much they don't fight the elements, how much they don't fight against circumstance, how much they don't fight against a blizzard, say, simply because a visit to the feeder is what they normally do at 9 a.m.
It's also got me thinking how silly it is to impose all these rules and expectations on ourselves, and yes, plans. Plans may be the death of us, I'm convinced. A list? That's okay--without lists, most of us (am I projecting, or is it just me?) would be lost. But to expect to get all of that done in a given timeframe? Who are we? What kinds of superhuman powers do we think we possess? Just because we walk on two legs, wear clothes, and buy stuff doesn't make us superior in any wa...
Ever see someone try to leave the dock, only to realize they're still tethered to it? There's always a moment of confusion, of gunning the engine because *surely* more force is the answer.
More force is very rarely ever the answer.
We can't force ourselves to be kind, to be brave, to be content, to be satisfied. I mean, we can, but it's short-lived and not very pleasant or honest. But what we can do is allow it. In other words, stop fighting the tide, the cycle that *wants* to carry us away from the shore if only we'd stop struggling for a second and look around for what's holding us back.
We can stop wallowing in the muck of our self-imposed misery (even though--admit it--we've become addicted to the pain of it, the attention of it), and just sit there--salt-stains, bone-deep damp and all. And just wait. And just listen for the lapping of the tide that will, if we could just be still, carry us away.
In the moments after a powerful dream or a good sleep or a redeeming meditation, I like to think that we are all like these rogue seeds the birds and squirrels drop here and there among my vegetables and herbs--volunteers who found a good patch and, digging in, made decent use of a scrap of tenantless earth.
And, sure, there's use to these volunteers--seeds, medicine, food, but really, aren't they also just here to help us to remember wonder? To help us remember that there is so much not in our control, and thank the goddess for it. We, on our own, could never be this creative, this bold, or this cheerful simply to be here.
I just can't believe that anyone is born evil. Whatever 'evil' means. I believe that some of us are more vulnerable to...what, influence? We're impressionable? Or we're more inherently fearful? Aside from actually facing the fear full-on, the only other way to lessen panic is to assign it a target, a scapegoat. It doesn't work, of course, but it's "easy." And, of course, there's the added bonus that it's not our weakness (or whatever) but a weakness, a disadvantage, forced onto us by this other guy--this target.
'Target' is the key, here. We've all experienced how, too easily, fear can erupt into anger--a fire to eviscerate the damp, creeping decay. But, man, you're burning down the forest when all you had to do was rehabilitate a tree or two (that is, if you can catch the decay early enough).
And, of course, you can only start with yourself. You can only begin with your own knee-jerk impressions, assumptions. You can only turn that hot, bright, cleansing, light onto you...
So this thought occurred to me (and if it's true, it's going to save me a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a lot of hard, fruitless labor). What if we aren't meant to hold it all together? What I mean is, what if our lives aren't meant to fit into some kind of cohesive outline?
See, I was talking to my kids (my students) about outlining and its use in research. I hate outlining, and I can't do it. I've tried. It's just not how my brain works. But *reverse* outlining--when you go back over your finished product, pull it apart to see what's cohesive and what's a blatant outlier, well, that has some merit for me.
So. Why, in the name of all that is holy, am I trying to outline my life, day to day, moment by ever-present moment? What makes me think that I can apply some concept that has *never* worked for me in scholarly pursuit to the ever-loving organic nature of my life?
Well. I can't. But (!!), I can reverse outline it. I can do that now, write it down, cut it out (coll...