Eventually, we've done enough work. Eventually, self-reflection mutates from worthwhile growth activity to guilt-induced habit, mourning everything we're not--and, perversely, everything we are.
Part of it, I think, is our fix-it, self-help society, and part of it stems from really, truly wanting to be the best version of ourselves possible.
But, you know, we've done the work. And despite the work, we'll slip, we'll do rotten things, and we'll regret them. We'll apologize and we'll keep trying. But those moments aren't the norm. Apologizing isn't the norm, nor is it necessary.
We're good people. We're hard workers, but we don't need to keep demonstrating that at every turn. We've done enough. Take us as we are--lovely and flawed and very much deserving of a rest.
You don't need to wait to be whole, to be here now, to manifest time or space or patience. You don't even need your own permission to tell this body that it's already home, that it's always been home, but it helps.
We're addicted to waiting--as much as we, as a culture, hate it, we can't get enough of it. It's inevitable that, if we look for it, there will always be something we're waiting for--an appointment, a birthday, a season, a weekend, a baby to be born, a haircut to grow out, a holiday, a deadline, a presidential election.
And for some reason we have this idea that we can't do *anything* else in the meantime but wait. No wonder we hate it--what kind of purgatory have we sentenced ourselves to? And it's all on us--no one has locked us here. Yet here we sit on our cold, hard bench in our cold, hard cell, desperate for some idea of freedom.
So here's the thing--you're already home. You're already here. You already have what you need to do your joyful work in the meantime. Yo...
There is nothing so certain as change, which is as frustrating and terrifying as it is reassuring. So, I guess the problem here isn't the change, but our reaction to (and anticipation of) it. Easily said, but so hard to live--how to stop reacting? How to stop anticipating? I don't know. Some of us are so finely tuned that any disruption sends us to static. Perhaps we need a stronger signal--more time with our bare feet in the earth might help.
I have come to the belated realization that we are far too hard on ourselves and that our expectations of ourselves are monstrously, disastrously high.
At least, I've found this true for myself. Not to impose my own discoveries onto you, petals, but I have a feeling you do the same? And how often do we meet these expectations? And what on earth made us set them in the first place? We wake up every morning at a deficit with no way to catch up.
Well, the good news is, if we set them, we can un-set them. From here, my only expectation--no. No expectations. From here, my only WISH for myself is that I find light and ease and delight in this day. But no matter what, may whatever happens amount to a certain kind of joy. And may that joy be redefined daily or hourly or by the minute, depending on my needs and the fluctuations of the day.
We worriers will probably never stop worrying (more's the pity), but what we can learn is that MOST of these worries never come to pass. Over time, that's proven to us, and eventually we can acknowledge, then dismiss our worries based on the very real experience of their dire predictions never manifesting. It's like an itch, or the nagging feeling that you haven't locked the door when you very clearly remember doing it. Eventually, I think, we ignore them, distract our minds with something else, and they'll go away.
And wouldn't that, in the middle of a sleepless night, be a relief?
Some of us try so hard to dredge up the positive, the beautiful in a situation because, I think, we're not hard-wired to see it (or we were and, somewhere along the way, those wires crossed). But what I'm learning is that we don't need to try so hard. In fact, I'm not sure we need to try at all.
I think, as the saying goes, hope floats.
If only we would stop shoving it back under in our desperate attempt at rescue. We, too, after all have some skill with buoyancy.
We don't know why we go through these things. Maybe it's to make us more creative thinkers, more skillful strategists and navigators--I don't know. But I do know that, sometimes, misery is inevitable, but its value is that it launches us into action, into uncovering, as my wise mother would say, plan B.
And maybe that's the point in the first place--maybe we have to walk through fire to burn away the excess, the illusions, the heavy burden of long-held desires and wishes that no longer serve us. Maybe we just give up berating ourselves for lousing up plan A and move on, lighter, with our lives.
My strengths do not lie in handling changes in routine. Perhaps that comes from a childhood spent moving around so much, but my guess is that I would have been like this even if I'd been born and raised in the same small town. And, who knows? Likely, that would have been worse. We can't know, but, what's more, we can't change what we are, not when it's woven that deeply into the fabric of our being.
But, yes, I (we) can adapt for short periods of time, at least. My problem is that, despite my carefully cultivated discipline, my impulsive nature, matched with my anxiety over the anticipation of change, results in opening my big mouth when, really, all I meant to do was sit quietly through the storm, no matter how long it's meant to last.
Well, what can I say? Best laid plans and all that. Anyway. Where is this going? No idea, except to say this: we cannot help, in large part, who we are. We need not apologize for that, but fear is no excuse for not keeping a civil tongue in our head...
I think it's impossible to be kinder to others without being kinder to ourselves first. And I think it's all-out impossible to be kind to ourselves when we've lost our sense of magic, of wonder, in the world.
I think it's natural for wonder to go on hiatus, at least in the so-called modern age. I think we've anesthetized ourselves to it by protecting ourselves in a spongy, poisonous layer of cynicism or numbing ourselves so thoroughly, we wouldn't find wonder in if it rode up on a unicorn and started quoting Shakespeare to us.
So, how to remedy that? I don't know. Start small. Tell yourself you're allowed to be happy, that happiness isn't a shirking of responsibility. Tell yourself it's okay to do or say the wrong thing because, man, we try so very hard. And trying that hard is bound to result in a few mistakes and misunderstandings along the way.
More and more, I like the idea of being carried. Not by an individual, but by time, by nature. And while those may seem like daft concepts--too big, too common--well, all I can say is that I have no other word for it, this flow. I don't think it will always be easy, but I don't think the world, the gods, the universe, nature is out to make it harder on us.
I think we do just fine in that area all on our own. No, I think the world, the universe is out to ease the death-grip with which most of us seem to be clutching our lives, whispering in our ears, "This, right here--is this really all that important?"