I don't think I'd rather live in a different time. Well. To be honest, I don't think I have the stamina or the energy to wish for another time, to add that kind of dissatisfaction to my days. I'll admit I do miss the days of landlines and answering machines, old-school cable television, the fashion of the mid '90s, and the landscape before social media.
But maybe that's just my age talking.
We forget, in this be-dissatisfied-now, culture how many came before us. I sit at a desk once owned by my mother in college. Next to me is a rocking chair far older than either of us. How rarely I take comfort in the parallel presence of once-owner and object. How rarely I realize my space is inhabited with the warmth, the wisdom, and the blessing of those who have been through far more than I.
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.
Sometimes the night seems made for catastrophic thinking, but if we can get some sleep--even a little--things are brighter, they shift, in the morning. Sometimes, true, only marginally so, but there's a pocket of paranoia and of panic that only exists in the deep night. Blessedly, most times it turns us out in the morning as if to say, 'See? You've seen the worst--now go and be grateful.'
Maybe that's all it wants--a little gratitude for its boot camp-style preparedness tactics. Either way, after these nights, it's with more heart that we welcome the light.
Instructions for living a life:
Tell about it.
I can't tell you how many of the most painful moments in my life were buoyed by the poetry of Mary Oliver. I can't tell you how many of the happiest moments, most revealing moments of my life were spent reading her poetry. She inspired me to write in the first place, and she inspires me to get up and write every morning.
It is so easy to let setbacks pull us back under the bell jar we'd finally managed to kick over. It's so tempting to wallow in the comforts of self-pity and catastrophic thinking. That they're absolutely the opposite of constructive action has no bearing in the argument--they call to us as does a gallon of ice cream's cold comfort after a really terrible day.
And though it may physically pain us to say the words 'thank you,' in such situations, let me put it this way: that you realized a) there was a bell jar, b) that you were in it, and c) that, honey, you ain't never going back there willingly, is enough cause--more than enough cause--for great, luscious, high-decibel thanks.
It's the materials and circumstances at hand that we have to find peace with--those are the only materials with which we can work. Wishing for otherwise will do nothing but make us--and those falling into our immediate orbit--miserable.
We can only effect change with what's immediate. We can, of course, work toward larger change, larger goals, but each triumph of contentment we can muster in the moment, day-to-day, is a direct and vital piece of that larger change.
What small choice, what small adjustment in perspective can we make today, not only to ease our passage in the world, but perhaps to allow ourselves a glimpse of that happiness we've been promising ourselves for so long?
Grace is our nature and oh, petals, is it ever hard to remember that. But when we do? The heart eases its attempts at escape and breathes, recalling the ease with which it came into the world, the ease with which it was meant to continue.
Whenever fear, doubt, immobility creep in, realize they're the trigger urging us to recall that, once again, we've forgotten grace; we've forgotten the truth of our nature. So we remember and we breathe until, once again, we forget.
The forgetting isn't important. It doesn't matter--it's what brains do. It's the recalling--the sweet relief of recalling--that makes the forgetting so valuable.
We have moments when we remember that we are infinite, that we are unhindered by the rules we so willingly, most of the time, submit to. The irony is that we believe these moments to be residual delusion (at worst) or wishful thinking (at best). But I'm beginning to think that, on the contrary, these are our few moments of lucidity, tapping into the rhythm and pattern of our real-life origin story.
These are the moments we see clearly that the universe is a balanced place, and because life can be so very difficult, so very confusing, there is--without question--easy grace to be had. In fact, we this gift of grace, of manifestation, already. We have access to scope and sight, vibration and illumination far beyond what we can conceptualize. We *know* this to be true because we glimpse it--and even in that merest split of a second, everything is revealed and we breathe in the relief of knowing we are limitless.
Maybe everything is unfolding as it should for the resources we possess right now. Maybe we too often overreach or underestimate ourselves. Maybe we've been tired one too many days in a row. Maybe discomfort is not a nuisance, but a nudge urging us toward the chair, the bed, the teapot for just five more minutes. Maybe ten.
Maybe we need to be better stewards of these bodies.
And at the same time, maybe we don't have to read so much into every ache and pain, every shifting mood.
If nameless, haunting anxieties tend to surface at night, wouldn't it also be true for its counterpart, grace? If night is when the window opens, why is it that we only beckon to the energy hungry to eat us alive?
Couldn't we, against our so-called better judgment, throw open the window a bit wider, with more intention, and invite in whatever happens to be winging around out there? Isn't there an equal (a better?) chance that hope, faith, insight, and inspiration will rush in, grateful finally, finally, for enough space to enter?