I already know how little I need to be happy, to be peaceful (in fact, less equals more room for peace). But it's so easy to focus on material stuff, because it's there. You can hold it, donate it, reform it, recycle it.
But what about the other stuff? The preconceptions, the judgments, the expectations, the anxieties, the uncertainties? We don't have to expect the worst, but we so often do (I so often do), because that's the default, just like it's the default to buy a bigger/better house/car/wardrobe with a step up in income.
But there's no rule telling us we *have* to define our lifestyle by a generous paycheck. Nor do we have to let our fears and cynicism ruin the simple structure of our days.
I don't know how many times I've told myself that I was just going to start asking for what I want/need, and not say yes (or no) when I didn't want to, not make promises I couldn't keep, or redefine the truth to make myself fit in.
Well, now I'm not only telling myself, I'm telling those...
I put my foot in my mouth on a daily basis, and if I manage to avoid that pitfall, it's ridiculously easy to tell what I'm thinking (read: feeling) even when I don't speak. On one hand, it makes it almost impossible for me to lie and pretty much ensures that I'll show up authentically--for better or for worse--whether I like it or not. On the other hand, it makes me a terrible diplomat and, probably, a rubbish party guest where small talk is the done thing.
I've also found--and perhaps you're the same way?--that this inability to hide almost anything made me, at first, enormously trusting of face-values. Now? A lifetime later? I alternate between complete trust and wild suspicion. It's all in the vibe. I guess trying to impress others is always a waste of time and energy and--let's be honest--trust.
So, how to deal? I don't know. I think it goes back to yesterday's post--show up as the change, faults and all. So what if I can't hide anything? Why try? Sure, it might result in a reputat...
I know it feels slow. I know it and I know it and I know it. I also know we're doing our best, and that it never feels like enough. But I'm telling you this--living the change, actively and mindfully waking up every day and spending that day being authentically you, actively working and creating and living the world you want to see is the fiercest, most revolutionary act you can perform. Yes, sometimes we need to show up, voices carrying and colors flying, but that's only part of our authentic revolution--a part, but not the whole.
So go on in this day. Do your thing, quiet or not, but do it as you. Do it with all the romance and optimism in your heart, and let no one take that from you. Because once they have that, they have everything.
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.
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...
The thing about winter is that everything is obvious, everything is laid out and bare and you can't really turn away from it, give it the cold (ha ha) shoulder. The thing, too, about winter is the light. The light--there is no other season with light like this, no other season when the light lies low on the horizon, just touching it all long enough to expose what must be dealt with, completed, or stored before tucking itself away, giving us ample time to rest up for the next cycle of rising and setting.
It's both gentle and stark--a tough-love sort of season that urges us to work now because soon the distractions will be all too many and all too much for us to focus on ourselves, on our healing, on our deeper needs, and on a landscape that is such a relief in its lack of pretension, its lack of pretending, and its unapologetic authenticity.
If you put the easy draw of pop culture aside, we all have our own standard of beauty--what pulls, enchants, hypnotizes, relieves. That's the draw, the calling card, the captivating melody that snatches our wandering attention. But if nothing lies beneath, then it becomes fad fodder, overly sweet and clutched as a talisman for mass acceptance.
No, the real beauty, the true beauty is older than that and deeper. It is the creak of good bones growing older, the music of ancient trees surviving another windstorm, the harmonics of breath with breath, the deep hush before dawn.
With real beauty, deep beauty, discomfort cannot drive us away. We stay because, by now, its sweet soil has gathered in our own roots and there is no doubt of our own sweet survival.
'Authenticity' has become quite the buzzword and, I think, for good reason. We don't really project our authentic selves via the plate-glass window that is social media (I mean, until you buy curtains, you don't really walk around naked. Well. Most of the time anyway...), and I think we waste away in that virtual world as it bleeds into the actual. I mean, we can try for honesty, transparency, but then we're, what? We're *trying* which seems to shoot authenticity right in the foot. I don't know. It's tricky. I think the path to an authentic, transparent self is paved, not with posts and keystrokes and hashtags, but with old-fashioned legwork, old-fashioned eccentricity. Maybe.
Well, anyway. It's one of the those mornings that I crack open my brain, rummage around, and write down whatever I find there, unplanned and unedited (talk about nakedness and plate-glass windows), and see what happens. I don't know. I guess what I'm saying is that one day I want to be the old woman with the craz...
One of my favorite mantras to repeat in my classes is this:
You are enough; you are more than enough.
It covers everything; the bonus, of course, is that everything about that statement is the absolute truth. Because we *are* enough. We are brewed in a cosmic, chemical, creative soup that has prepared us for the lives we are leading. We have good ideas; we have good instincts.
We only have to realize the truth of that statement, and we'll be just fine.
I'm a yogi, a writer, a wanderer, female (though not particularly feminine), and an herbalist--these are all ways I've defined myself. But here's the thing--when we define ourselves we're doing nothing more than limiting ourselves.
For instance, let's take that last bit--female, but not feminine. I've been labelling myself that way since I can remember. Then, one day, I was shopping for some event (shudder...shopping...), and I saw a dress I really liked. I walked around for an hour before convincing myself to try it on, really liking it, then being scared of liking it because, heaven forfend, what would it to do to that label I'd so painstakingly crafted over the years? So I put it back on the hanger.
I still think about that silly dress.
But it's not the loss of the dress that disturbs me; it's that I allowed myself--rebel (another label) that I am--to be swayed by *my own* labeling system. If I had been authentically present, I would have tapped into the authenti...