I think I've become so wary of self-delusion that I've landed, by default, on the side of pessimism, of worst-case-scenario-ism. Which, I suppose, is just as deluded as is the all-season, rose-colored accessorizing camp. I'm not sure when pessimism became synonymous with reality, but it is corrosive, pervasive, and weakening of body and spirit--which is ironic, really, considering how heavy pessimism is, how much strength you must dredge up just to wield it.
Optimism, on the other hand, is light, energizing. It, like pessimism, feeds itself, but the more it ingests, the lighter it becomes--the more it carries us, rather than the other way around.
I speak like someone who knows optimism, but we're no more than nodding acquaintances. I can recognize it, but I can't start a conversation. It's not a language I've mastered; my ear is not yet attuned.
Usually by this point in the post I have an offering, a hint of a solution, a direction by which to set my (our) compass--that's the...
I don't generally celebrate the new year--maybe it's just too much world-wide momentum, too much expectation, and too much (in my experience) false hope buoyed up on the hangover of the holidays and the unstable, frozen January ground. Instead, I jive much more naturally to the astrological new year--April and Aries. It just seems to make more sense to this body to look for hope where there's a chance for last frosts, first growth, and the life inherent in Maine's ever-present spring mud.
As usual, I spent my new year's day quietly in front of the fire, darning holes in sweaters, finishing sewing projects, and generally keeping to myself. But there's an ominous flip-side to stubbornly resisting the pull of an undertow so much bigger than one small self--the expectation of the day pulls at you, and the more you resist, the more it shoves you into some dark space you had no idea was a mere few steps away. Once you're in, you're in.
So, next year, I think, I'll revise my new year's routine...
I woke up thinking about the sides of self, and how we can go to bed one person and awake on the other side--like we're a two-headed coin involved in a merciless experiment in statistics, flipped randomly to see how we land.
And it's not a bad thing, I don't think. Lightness and darkness are essential to all life--the sleep cycle, the wake cycle; the build-up, the repair. Waking in the dark cycle, in the low-energy cycle doesn't have to mean anything. It's our poor brain, so overly fond of answers and labels, who assigns a 'badness' or a 'goodness' to the state of the union of the body at any given time.
I'll put it this way: I have no choice but to be tired today, to shake my inner stores of energy, hoping there's a bit left in there. But the day will pass, and if I let it pass without commentary, without complaint, no matter what happens, it may very well be the rest I need.
For the most part, I'm a cloudy day kind of girl. Maybe that's a New England thing, maybe it's a bookworm thing. Maybe it's an introvert, under-the-radar type thing. Meh. Maybe it's just a thing of my particular tribe. Doesn't matter.
What matters is that the light is everything--its absence and its presence. Both heal. Both cleanse. Both draw us up to ourselves, either internally or externally. Both are important. Both are balance.
Without balance, we teeter quite purposefully on the edge of madness. Embrace both. Thank the sun for being so warm, so life-affirming, so open. Thank the dark and the dim for being so understanding, so patient, so gently (or not-so-gently) uncovering and exposing.
And then walk on into what you've been given this day, this time.
I love the moment before dawn, the inhale when the earth is coldest, the beat before the cardinal begins singing about everything that happened between 8pm and 4am. It's a startling thing, this absolute trough of the day's cycle into the upswing of light and the activity of living.
There must be other moments like this call of the morning, other moments reminding us that transitions are startling, inevitable, and fierce.
It’s the softness we mistake, thinking we should tread lightly, feel our way slowly. But dawn is a violent, dazzling, timely transition.
We, too, can move with such fierce gravity.
We, too, can move the planet into action with grace, poise, breath, and light.
I've gotten really into the old science of life as guided by the moon--phases, waxing/waning, sign passing through, ascending/descending--not only in gardening and growing, which in my (simplified) definition is the basis for biodynamic cultivation, but in daily household tasks, in charting mood--hopefulness? Despair?
You know, that sort of thing. But that's a project for another post down the line, once I have some data (what a nutty word for what I'm doing) to share with you.
But it's got me thinking about the moon and her fixed face. That's not uncommon, so I've read, with satellites, but the moon seems so much more than mere satellite. She's a guide, a prodder of secrets, one who secrets things away, and one who exposes them. She pulls the tides, the sap, the seasons, and the water table that is the majority of our make-up. If the sun is electric, the moon is cool blue pulsation, a reverberation sometimes too low to hear, but the thrumming is always there, in the ebbing and re...
I know in light of recent events, hope can seem a dangerous, apathetic, complacent commodity. A liability. I hear that argument, and I understand it.
But in this life, I have clutched the floorboards in panic, in substance-draining terror, in sweat-drenched and erratic surely-this-must-be-it palpitations. I have been there; I have seen and welcomed darkness, even asked for it.
But I'm here. You see? I'm here. Nothing saved me, no one saved me. Things pass. Things pass because Pandora, bless her curious soul, was right to open that box. She was right to free hope. Sure, she let out a slew of nastiness that hounds and haunts us now, whose slimy touch is still on our skin from earlier in the month, but think of it this way: hope was trapped in that box with those things. And it survived.
It not only survived; that sweet sister flew--last out, cramped and stuffed beneath an eternity of darkness, and still she flew.
Hope changes everything. Hope is what assures us that yes, yes, the sa...
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...