It's amazing the work we make for ourselves, isn't it? Especially when it would be so breathtakingly easy simply to watch the rising sun and take it as the sign that it is--that you're headed in the right direction, that every day you spend stepping toward, leaning into, the light is a day of progress.
There are no wasted days--even those spent fumbling around in shadows of our own making. There is always something to learn. There is always something to uncover, to discover, or to give--at long last--a decent burial.
Light and shadow teach us that there are some things best left behind and others necessary for the journey.
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 compromised our own happiness for so long that we have no idea what it would entail to reinstate it. (I say "we" because surely I'm not alone in this.) It's easy to say you owe no one your happiness, but it's hard to pull yourself from the sticky web of "fitting in," of "people-pleasing," of "going along to get along." We've sacrificed so much, true, but we've done it by chipping away, sometimes by sanding away--losing such small quantities of ourselves over such long periods of time that we hardly noticed the change until we snap under our own sorry weight.
As always, I have no answers, only questions. *Find what makes you happy*--well, easy to say, but for many, many of us, an impossible ask, and a search that leaves us, not energized, but immobile. Immobile with the realization that we don't know ourselves at all, that we've forgotten how to find that pure, sparkly thing that made us who we were to begin with.
"Why" and "why not" are essentially the same question, are they not? Or, more accurately, two versions of the same question. Which you ask depends on the situation, how you feel about that situation, and how adverse (or in favor) you are to risk. I've been asking myself this question a lot this week, not that there are any answers. And, from what I've seen, many of us have been plagued of late by waves of anxiety, depression, fatigue, and general malaise.
Is it cosmic? Is it a current of energy, powerful but temporary? I hope so. I hope so because it's heavy, this question, whichever version you choose to ask. And such an open-ended question whose answer always begins (often begins) with that most hated of childhood reasons, "because."
Because why? Because why not? And does the answer matter? Well, I like answers, so yes, it does. I like proof, even if it's only proof to me--a feeling, an insight, a sign. But there's only silence. This week at least. Silence and a community o...
I understand the impulse to eat the entire cake and begin again tomorrow. I get it and I've absolutely done it, from cake to cigarettes. But that beginning again tomorrow business has two fatal flaws: 1) the belief that you have done something necessitating beginning again (as opposed to just living your life with joy) and 2) the seductive darkness of the night before. Night can absolutely be peaceful and restful, but we're not talking about those nights. We're talking about the nights when it's just you and the darkness, your inner monologue, and your unrelenting guilt, shame, and sorrow. It's the nature of the brain, it's the nature of darkness. It closes in and throws wide the door to our demons.
Then there's this idea of having to start over, as if you've done something wrong in the first place. You haven't. But night and guilt and history and shame and media can trick us--can allow us to trick ourselves--into believing there's no other choice but starting over. Again.
The moment you have, as opposed to the moment(s) you don't have (yet)--that's the trick, isn't it? that's the lifelong work of remaining where you are, rather than madly catapulting yourself into created moments, anticipated moments, moments most likely fraught with some dire prediction or other. All we have is the moment we're in.
For all the good it does, it bears repeating: all we have is the moment we're in.
Which begs the question, who am I trying to convince here? I'm certainly not teaching anyone anything they don't know--myself included. It's the putting it into practice where we need the reminding--daily, heck, hourly reminding. Minute-by-minute reminding, most days.
So we crack on and haul ourselves, kicking and screaming, back from the edge of anticipation and dread and back into the moment where we can, perhaps, catch a breath or two before chasing ourselves down again.
Sometimes saying, 'no, thank you,' is the hardest thing you'll do. It's hard because we think we need to use more words than we do. It's a habit we've picked up, I think, (or a coping mechanism) because lying is so pervasive in our culture. Surface is pervasive, using is so pervasive that when we are sincere, it sounds, especially to an ear not attuned to the pitch of our sincerity, false.
So, the hardest thing to do, aside from saying 'no, thank you,' is leaving it at 'no, thank you.' We want to explain ourselves, to rip ourselves open, head to heart and say, 'Look! Look! I'm not hiding anything. I really am this lost/this uncomfortable/this wrong for this situation.' But we can't. We can't. Because we are not responsible for how we are perceived.
Okay. Maybe I was wrong. Maybe *that's* the hardest thing. Not the saying no, but the not being believed, the lack of the assumption of sincerity and genuineness from the other party. That's what hurts. Because we're all of us doing our...
What have you long left dormant that might be calling for a return? What gifts have you forgotten about, stashed in a corner of your very different life, that might be unearthed, dusted off, and reopened?
I think, as we get older, we forget that we don't exist in one dimension, that we have more than one expression, one passion, one life-long interest, one calling. When we are young, we experiment with everything--fashion, music, personality, hobbies, hairstyles. That's the gift (and the work) of youth.
But we don't have to remain the shape we've grown into. We can expand our boundaries to take on any shape we like, changing daily if it pleases us. We've forgotten that we were born with the permission to evolve, to improvise, to experiment, to return. We were born with the freedom to dictate not only who we will become, but who we will be at any given moment.
Despite how hard it can be, I like to think that the universe is not only benevolent, but actively engaged in our good. Because why not? What do I know? We didn't know why, after all, our parents rationed our Halloween candy or made us eat dinner before dessert until much later. And certainly we were angry, and certainly we deemed it unfair. But most of us can now thank our parents for the majority of those decisions, made on our part, when our own unchecked wants would have destroyed us.
So, yes, it's hard to hear 'no,' and sometimes it's hard to keep going when you want to quit, but I have to believe there's someone up there or out there with a global perspective, nudging us along for our highest good.