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.
Be grateful, too, for unanswered prayers. I read that somewhere, and it's never failed to make me feel immensely better, as if we're not out here on our own, as if there IS a guiding hand gently nudging us first in one direction, then away from another. Because we don't know, we can't know, we might as well believe. We might as well believe in a higher good, a compassionate universe whose joy is in our joy.
If we can believe that, the rest becomes a little less important, a little less fraught, a little less like a constant flirting with deadlines and a little more just, well, flirting--with life and chance and the thrill of the unknown.
Because maybe you really are supposed to be here, and maybe it really is okay not to know what comes next.
We have nurtured and bred within ourselves a penchant for catastrophic thinking. We're really good at worst-case-scenario. And perhaps at one point that was necessary, for an instant or two in our lives when it was best to be prepared. But when did it become a habit? When did expecting the worst become the reality?
And here's the worst (ha!) of it--we begin to believe that not only will the assumed horrors happen, but that we are deserving of them. We've learned to forget that good things can happen for us, that we are the kinds of beings who experience luck and goodwill and a universal generosity of spirit.
Hard to believe, isn't it? Well, why not? What have we to lose but a disturbing dependence on darkness?
We have so much power--and that's both wonderful and dangerous. Wonderful when we remember that positivity and faith are our birthright--our default mode before we were taught otherwise by the hard edges of the world. Dangerous when we let the dents from those hard edges cripple us, trip us up, determine the way we will, from here on out, walk in this world.
For today, let us skip the banged-up middle bits of our journey here and remember when magic existed around every corner--familiar or no--in every color, in every storm, in every sunrise, in every nightfall. Let us remember there was a time when we weren't afraid, when we had a cavalry of angels, a field of fairies, a legion of guides at our service, a time when we were on a first-name basis with hope and well-acquainted with grace.
Maybe so many of our tangles come from trying to figure it all out--what to do with our lives, where we went wrong, what we could have done differently, what we *should* do differently, repeated ad nauseam. In fact, running that well-worn track seems to be primarily what we ARE doing with our lives. And honestly? It's just another way to escape, just another way of remaining trapped in our minds and absent from our bodies, where the real living happens.
Maybe, as a dear friend pointed out, all we have to do is ignore the chatter and invest in sensation. Relax our grip on our thoughts, recognize them for what they are--just another habit, just another addiction--and stop giving them so much weight. That's the key, I think--that ranking, that label. Not everything is a top priority. Not everything is that important. So much (so much!) is just filler and so used are we to the adrenaline rush, to the stress response, to the fight-flight-or-freeze that we know no other alternative.
Ever see someone try to leave the dock, only to realize they're still tethered to it? There's always a moment of confusion, of gunning the engine because *surely* more force is the answer.
More force is very rarely ever the answer.
We can't force ourselves to be kind, to be brave, to be content, to be satisfied. I mean, we can, but it's short-lived and not very pleasant or honest. But what we can do is allow it. In other words, stop fighting the tide, the cycle that *wants* to carry us away from the shore if only we'd stop struggling for a second and look around for what's holding us back.
Now. I say this while living with something that, at the moment I cannot change and that, in the immediate, impacts my sleep and my quality of life. But what can I do? Painful as it is even to write this--I just have to surrender. I have to surrender to time and hope and faith and the belief that we can be healed and that we can heal all aspects of our lives--physical, emotional, external, internal....
Perhaps we underestimate what we know, what we remember from what we've learned. But we certainly don't give ourselves enough credit for what we've learned through belief, through channels we can't immediately, necessarily, explain.
Like it or not, explain it or not, we are intuitive creatures. We hear far more than we acknowledge, and we learn far more from the unknown, the unseen, than we can imagine.
There's a comfort in believing that, if you're here, you're meant to be here, at least, for now. After all, you can only move forward from where you're standing, and you can, likewise, only move forward while looking in that direction. The best gift we can give ourselves is forgiveness--forgiveness for the mistakes in our past that wake us up at night, forgiveness for believing in what we consider foolish dreams, forgiveness for not being our best selves all the time.
We have to allow so much--we have to allow ourselves to fail, to be mistaken, to try and try and try. But for that to matter, for it to mean anything, we have to forgive each other. And we have to believe. To try and believe accomplishes nothing. It's not a thing you can attempt. You can only believe by living belief, by being belief.
Just stop thinking. Stop criticizing. Stop diagramming. Just breathe and keep going.
Even breathing, we are art. We are a collection of found objects, curated treasures, unique imperfections, long lines, and daring curves. Even uninspired, we are inspiring--if we'll allow ourselves the luxury of belief, the all-too-necessary food of faith.
Some things we're just born with--hair color, eye color, height. I have also come to believe that our default outlook--positive or negative, optimistic or pessimistic, has to be one of them. Can it be mitigated and controlled? Possibly, for short periods of time. But I don't believe the default setting can be changed.
Or perhaps I say this because, try as I might, I'll never be an optimist. Although, I'm not quite a pessimist, either. I don't think it's a black & white thing, but that I fall into the "perpetually wary" category. I have a hard time with those things I cannot see, and I have a hard time believing in universal benevolence, at least, as far as I, individually, am concerned.
I also believe that some people are lucky, and that luck favors those who know who they are and what they want--consciously or unconsciously. I've never been one of those, either, and it's a trait I've always, always envied. Especially in hindsight. I think I've made unfortunate choices in...