It's so tempting, isn't it? To just set down your heart and walk away? It's so heavy these days, so full, so cumbersome to haul around and still hold a normal conversation, a normal workday, a normal interaction with those you love. It's so easy to wish for a light and airy rib cage, one that will let you dance the way you used to, breathe the way you used to. There's a longing to once again be mothered, fathered.
But perhaps that's why the heart is suddenly so dense--it is pulling us to earth, gathering us in, returning us to the mother, to the father. It is a cosmic hushing, a warm compress to the forehead, a tucking in of blankets, a pulling of shades, and a whispered hush to rest now. The illness will pass, but we need to gather strength to see it through.
We were not born to be timid. Wary, cautious, sure, depending on the situation--our survival depended on it. But here's the thing--wariness, cautiousness can make us stronger. They can make us braver. They are the first tools we need when we go out into the world, because to feel cautious, to feel vigilant means we are testing ourselves, stretching ourselves, exploring the world--either literally or creatively--we've been set down upon.
But to let timidity creep in, to let it keep us from stepping outside our front doors, is a terrible loss. Timidity is a taker of hostages and if we don't rise up and fight back, then we'll be doomed to the same uninspired view for a very long time.
I have never liked being told what to do, not that that will come as a surprise to any of my regular readers (or friends, for that matter). But at the same time, I have bent over backwards, compromised myself and my intuition more times than I care to admit in order to keep people happy or (maybe worse) to fit in, to be liked.
I'm sure it's a habit common to so many of us here. But every time it's happened, every time I said yes or even maybe when I really wanted to say no, well, a little of that rebelliousness gets up, dusts itself off, and stalks away in search of someone with more willingness, more backbone, more confidence in herself.
Because that's what it comes down to, isn't it? Confidence. Confidence in who we are, faith in our intelligence and our innate beauty, in our charm and in our very right to exist. I don't care what we were taught or what politeness dictates--it's high time we took up space, asserted ourselves despite how the world/media/history has dictated...
Most of us do something that frightens us every day--sometimes getting out of bed is daunting enough. But how often do we attempt to tackle something that frightens us straight to the core of who we (think we) are? I reckon, for me at least, it ain't that often. You can't be brave without being frightened, and I consider myself pretty brave for someone who *really* enjoys a good comfort zone.
But yesterday I did a thing that frightened me so much, I wasn't sure how I would navigate, not only the rest of my day, but the rest of my days. Perhaps that sounds dramatic, but for me, it most certainly was.
So. There are levels of bravery and levels of scary things and I think we must judge this journey on our own merits. No one is doing this living for us--everything we feel, everything we navigate, if it's true to us, it's legitimate. Don't let anyone downplay or belittle your achievements. You are one fierce warrior and your journey is nothing but epic.
We do the best we can in the moment we have with what we're given. Write that on your chalkboard (sheesh--white board?) over and over until you believe it. We can blame ourselves, apologize for ourselves until we leave this earth, but to what end? What's the point? After all, if we can only do the best we can in the moment we have with what we're given, well. What alternative is there? And if there is no alternative, what in blazes are we apologizing for?
What a waste of energy. But worse--what a waste of a life. What an insult to the sweet soul who's only doing the best she can with what she has at any given moment. This is resilience, though we may not label it as such, though we may not feel resilient or robust or strong or any of those things to which we aspire.
Well--hear me now (and I'm talking to myself here as much as anyone)--you are already strong. You are already resilient. You are already brave. You are here--without apology.
Paths don't come along as often as we imagine. Or, more likely, we don't notice them as much as we could. But when one rolls itself out in front of you, don't let fear and the lack of a map stop you from exploring it.
We've lost too much to fear, and if we don't stop now, when will we stop? And when will we ever start to live?
No one needs to tell us how long the journey is, nor how much muscle it takes to gets wherever it is we think we're going. But perhaps we do need reminding to coast on the downhill bits to save energy for the inevitable climb. Perhaps we also need reminding that to climb is not to be taxed with more work. Nor is it a punishment, but an opportunity to gain higher ground, an incredible view, and another thrilling downhill slope.
The deception of the question, "What if?" is that it will always work both ways--'what if I'd stayed/gone/said yes/said no'--and it will never have a satisfactory answer. So why ask?
Of course, the alter ego, knee-jerk response to this question is to project and think and worry and weigh and then think a bit more. But all we're doing is worrying away the time between our fingers until it's stretched so thin it has no hope of telling us anything.
The only choice you can make, the only answer you can give, is based in the now. How do you feel *right now?* You will never know what you might have decided tomorrow because it's impossible to be two places at once, so why try? Why sacrifice another day to 'what if?'
It's inevitable that people, habits, and belongings will fall by the wayside as we move into ourselves. And while we may mourn their loss, we cannot allow that attachment--if it will not stretch without breaking--to keep us from moving forward, moving away.
We are here, yes, to help, yes to serve, but also to see to our own happiness, our own contentment. If we cannot put that first in the delicate balance that is the process of living, then we will be not only of little use to anyone, but a great burden to almost everyone.