Maybe we'd be better off if we just saw everything as a beginning. Maybe we'd have more faith in ourselves, in the world, and in the possibility of optimism as a sustainable worldview. Maybe it's as simple as that--a change in language, switching out one word for another.
Let the endings take care of themselves, knit themselves neatly and tuck in their trailing threads while we begin again. Again.
It's amazing the work we make for ourselves, isn't it? Especially when it would be so breathtakingly easy simply to watch the rising sun and take it as the sign that it is--that you're headed in the right direction, that every day you spend stepping toward, leaning into, the light is a day of progress.
There are no wasted days--even those spent fumbling around in shadows of our own making. There is always something to learn. There is always something to uncover, to discover, or to give--at long last--a decent burial.
Light and shadow teach us that there are some things best left behind and others necessary for the journey.
Because it *is* art, this life--and art doesn't have to be beautiful. It doesn't even have to make sense or have some greater meaning. It only has to evoke, provoke, inspire its viewer to be better or different or other or like. It just has to move you--toward or away.
Movement and stillness--that's our dance; that's what we're learning.
We can't go back. Goddess help us, we can't. I think the hardest thing about being an adult is coming to terms with that-- coming to terms with the fact that, yes, you can do *anything* you choose, but you have to do it from where you stand. There is no room for regret, for 'if only,' for 'otherwise.'
Let those thieves in the door and before you know it, you'll be left empty-handed without time left for anything else.
It's not about the perfection of the act or the skill, but the process of doing it, the delight in the physical experience. It's feeling the guitar strings under your fingers, even if you only know two chords. It's the singing, full throttle, in the shower with only the dog to hear you. It's not caring a whit what the guy stuck in traffic next to you thinks of your mad steering-wheel-drumming skills.
It's when we lose ourselves in the movement that we find our tune and the inspiration to play it.
I think the advice of discovering what you love, donating time to it, and seeing where it takes you is always sound. But I think for some of us, for those of us who have spent so long trying to be who we're not, the question of what we (authentically, organically) love can be almost impossible to answer. Sometimes, no matter how authentic it feels, we're still questioning, "Is this me? Or is this still that other person, that other self?"
Perhaps the easier path, in the wise words of Elizabeth Gilbert, is to follow our curiosity. Love is tricky--it's too slippery to pin down. But curiosity is an unmistakable tug in one direction or another and to follow it is immensely satisfying. For those of us who have, by nature or design, less of an emotional vocabulary, curiosity is a clearer path, and who knows? It probably amounts to the same thing. But don't be frustrated by love or by passion--it's not always clear in the messy landscape of the heart.
I was going to start this post by saying, "there are some comforts we can't live without." And then I thought, what? Who says? Who says we should eschew comfort and why? Granted, I'm not talking about wasteful comfort--driving bigger cars than we need to bigger houses than we need, etc.
No, this isn't about waste--we know what waste is and don't need to be told. I'm talking about need. I'm talking about everything we've given up because someone told us it wasn't good or right or perfect for us, and because we're good people, we gave it up, and then spent the rest of every subsequent day wondering what (and for whom) we were doing without for. You know? There is so much I miss and have been missing and I think I'm ready, at this belated age, to start living for myself and for my own good.
It's funny really--we've been followers for so long, I'm not sure we even know who's up there leading us. Or maybe we do, but it's become habit--following trends, people, fashion. We've forgotten that maybe we weren't the ones who made these choices, that maybe they were made for us and we just shrugged and nodded and kept up our slow shuffle.
Well. I think it's high time this follower, at least, put down the map and started charting by her own stars.
This is my new mantra: It can only get better. Knowing what we know now, it can only get better. Given the information and the energy and the assets we have at hand at this very moment, it can only get better.
I don't care what the past was like--I don't care how marvelous or how tedious, from this moment it can only get better.
No matter what your doubts, no matter what your hesitations, from this moment forward, with what you have at your disposal and all the power you possess, it can only get better.