We tend to be rather self-absorbed which, really, is just human nature. We live in these bodies day in and day out, so naturally, they tend to rank high on our list of concerns. But that self-absorption so often manifests, not as self-reflection, but as self-obsession, constant comparison, anxiety, depression, vanity.
But I think if we were to allow ourselves those momentary lapses, laugh them off, then push them aside to see what really resides in our heart, then we can forgive ourselves anything and move on.
Maybe we just might discover we have as much interest in another's heart as we do our own.
I sometimes worry that I'll spend the rest of my life alone. Then I sometimes worry that I won't. I can't decide which is scarier. And, yes, I just noticed my word choice there--not which is more fulfilling, which is more aligned with my spirit, but which is *scarier,* with the understanding that I should avoid the scariness. Huh.
In all honesty, I suppose I have no idea what I want or, rather, I have no faith in my ability to maintain a relationship, any relationship--family, friends, significant others. I blame it on the Aquarian collection of stars under which I was born, and I think that's true in large part. We Aquarians are not known for our emotional fluency--and that's a big heart-centered hurdle.
But, of course, it's more than that. And I think the first love affair that must be maintained successfully is a love of self. Are we there yet? I'm not sure. For my part, I think I've reached compassion and, on some days, understanding. But love? Well. I'll keep cracking open m...
I like feeling unimportant in the scheme of things. I like the reassurance of having a role to play, one small thing that chimes in (a triangle, perhaps) here and there within and around the whole giant orchestral work-in-progress. I don't want to make the rules (or write the score, if we aim to stick to the same metaphor, but as I'm not a musician, it's probably best we leave it there), but I do love to interpret them, to digest them, to intuit how and why and where this piece will unfold or that one will be revealed.
We do not make the world turn. If we were to take a day of rest, life would continue--I find that an enormous relief. I can control my little world, the ten-foot-or-so radius in which I travel, but outside of that, I play by different rules, sharing responsibility with tides and winds, arctic fronts and heat waves.
We try, I think, most of us, to do good work. Sometimes it's a conscious effort, but much of the time I hope it's our default setting. And I'm not talking hard work, though that can be part of it. But I think we, especially we Puritanically-minded Americans put so much value on this idea of hard work that good work slips by unnoticed--as both goal and outcome.
For some reason, we'd rather appear to work hard at very little than apply ourselves with love and heart and strength to one small piece of lasting, stirring quality.
I think if we were allowed (and, yes, if we allowed ourselves) to follow our curiosity, to put good work, joyful work first, we'd be happier, less exhausted, less frustrated and, as a society, harbor a far greater appreciation of a good book, a lovely painting, an incredible meal, or a well-managed landscape.
Your heart doesn't need protection, despite what your uptight brain tells you. Your heart is a rebel, man. She's a radical. She's a hip-swaying, drum-circle, barefoot soul-dancer, and she needs to breathe. She needs to feel the heat of the sun, the sting of salt, the chill of rain. So what if she ends up a bit burned? So what if a cough lingers, the skin a bit raw? That's living, baby. That's experience--and there ain't nothing a heart craves more than experience--discomfort, joy, pain, illness, and the irrefutable, extraordinary strength that comes with recovery, with healing.
So let her breathe. Let her move. Let her embarrass your puritanical brain with how much skin she's showing these days. She didn't invent these constructs; she has no time for conventional thinking. This is music. This is moonlight, muddy toes, bonfires, cave painting, primal chants, and deep vibration.
I don't really worry about my own heart--if I get too clumsy, drop it, break it here and there, that's okay. It can mend. It's expendable. But I cannot stand to break the heart of this land around me. I cannot sleep for the old, tattered, whispered mourning that floats through my open windows. I cannot settle my stomach or my mind in meditation unless I thrust my hands into the earth, put my lips close to the earth and whisper, "I'm here. I've not forgotten. I promise."
I try to be transparent in all my interactions, and if I can't be comfortably so, I keep quiet. Part of this is an attempt toward fulfilling a personal philosophy, but the other is more pragmatic--I'm a terrible liar. Or, rather, I've discovered I'm a terrible concealer.
So, really, it's just easier to, with discretion, put it all out there. But what's so easy, so unbelievably easy, is hiding things from ourselves. There are so many places, when you really get down to it, to hide--and what with a lifetime of experience, we're bloody good at it.
I think, though, if we could only stand to stare into a mirror, right into our own eyes, in good light, a few minutes a day, we'd hide so much less. Would we sleep more? Less? Would we feel fragile for a few days, a week, a year? Sure. But what's wrong with that? Think of what comes after--the quiet, the light, no more running down strange alleys, ducking into shadowy corners, just to get away from ourselves.
It's so tempting, isn't it? To just set down your heart and walk away? It's so heavy these days, so full, so cumbersome to haul around and still hold a normal conversation, a normal workday, a normal interaction with those you love. It's so easy to wish for a light and airy ribcage, one that will let you dance the way you used to, breathe the way you used to. There's a longing to once again be mothered, fathered.
But perhaps that's why the heart is suddenly so dense--it is pulling us to earth, gathering us in, returning us to the mother, to the father. It is a cosmic hushing, a warm compress to the forehead, a tucking in of blankets, a pulling of shades, and a whispered hush to rest now. The illness will pass, but we need to gather strength to see it through.