It's our default mode--hoping that each day will be different while assuming (i.e. BELIEVING) that each will be the same (i.e. dull, bad, difficult, pointless, etc.). In this way of learned beliefs, growing up is a travesty. It robs us of that ability to wonder, FOR wonder. It teaches us that everything is hard--not only that, it teaches us that everything is of panic-level importance.
But guess what--everything is NOT hard and everything is NOT important. Some stuff just IS--it's neither good nor bad, difficult or easy. It just IS. And other things? They're marvelous--more often than not (Yes! MORE often than not), as long as we leave ourselves alone long enough to realize it.
Our strident inner taskmaster is learned behavior. And you know, we don't even need to un-learn it. We just need to forget it. To shrug it off. To invoke teenage rebellion against ourselves and invite in the little things--singing too loudly, dancing a little too wildly (or dancing at all, come to think of it),...
I have never liked being told what to do, not that that will come as a surprise to any of my regular readers (or friends, for that matter). But at the same time, I have bent over backwards, compromised myself and my intuition more times than I care to admit in order to keep people happy or (maybe worse) to fit in, to be liked.
I'm sure it's a habit common to so many of us here. But every time it's happened, every time I said yes or even maybe when I really wanted to say no, well, a little of that rebelliousness gets up, dusts itself off, and stalks away in search of someone with more willingness, more backbone, more confidence in herself.
Because that's what it comes down to, isn't it? Confidence. Confidence in who we are, faith in our intelligence and our innate beauty, in our charm and in our very right to exist. I don't care what we were taught or what politeness dictates--it's high time we took up space, asserted ourselves despite how the world/media/history has dictated...
Everyone wants you to make it--the plants you tend, the animals you caretake, the earth you walk, the sky you tune into, the spirits you believe in (or don't), the beings who guide you, the beings you guide--we're all here, not simply to survive, but to learn and to love and to unearth the spontaneous joy alive in every moment.
That is enlightenment--to find contentment, to find joy no matter the circumstance. The darkness is something we've learned and though it's pervasive, it can be unlearned. With time and a brimming over of loving kindness for your sweet self.
I think it's a matter of not trying so hard and allowing the little things to surprise us. Rather than glossing over them, it's about waiting and holding them, testing their weight and finding delight in our ability to still, after all this time, find joy in the small things, the mundane things, the things that stay the same, and the things that live with constant change.
We think we see the same world day after day, but how can that be true? Perhaps it can be today's joyful task to hunt out the changes--the color of the leaves, the scent and direction of the wind--and find gratitude both for the change and for our ability, still, to notice.
There is little more therapeutic than sitting outside at dawn at this time of year with the mad, competitive chaos of the dawn chorus followed by, on a clear day, the controlled riot of sunrise. You don't even need to try not to think, so overwhelming is the joyful chatter of sound and color, and so short-lived is the show, that you're up and on with your day before long. But what a day that will be, begun in the cleansing, wild meditation of a June morning.
Comparison is the thief of joy--how very, very, heart-breakingly true. I don't know if we can ever stop comparing ourselves to others, but I do know we can catch ourselves as we do it. We can remind ourselves that we are worthy, that we are magical, and that we are hella strong to have gotten this far and still be as kind as we are, as gracious as we are, as creative and whip-smart as we are. As beautiful as we are.
Because you know what? We are beautiful, and thank-you-very-much-but-eff-off to those who would say otherwise, to those (including ourselves) who insist on upholding a standard that is unhealthy, one that has made us miserable for far too long. Succumbing to this whole comparison-stealing-joy thing is to uphold those standards ourselves. And we all know where change has to begin...
So we start noticing habits, reminding ourselves along the way that we are enough--we have always been enough.
We are already perfect and we should not only ask for happiness, for completeness, but we should expect it. That's what I'm trying to relearn. I'm trying to remember that every thought makes a difference, whether in healing or in destroying ourselves. I have to believe we can (re)make our reality.
How long have you been settling? How long have you been squinting at the text, protesting that yes, yes, this light is sufficient? And when did "sufficient" become good enough? When did "sufficient" become the end point, the goal?
Well. I don't quite know how to go about it, but I'm pretty sick of "sufficient," of settling. I'm pretty tired of squinting at the text, making out every other word, and calling that good enough, calling that a life.
There is such harmony here, the more we can breathe together, sing together, laugh together. I was just thinking the other day that I have no idea how long it's been since I really laughed--the gasping for air, tear producing kind of laughter. Years, maybe. And that is such a loss, because I think it's indicative of the weight of the times in which we live. Laughter is generally a group activity, and I don't see many of us with energy to spare these days.
So it seems to me that we ought to make that kind of energy a priority around here--more music, more laughter, and ease off the heaviness anywhere we can. We ought to be here for more than our own survival.
I don't know about you, but I think a major factor in my anxiety is that I perceive everything to be of the same vital life-or-death importance. Not every decision or occurance--well, hell; hardly any decision or occurance--deserves that kind of gravity. But somewhere, the wires crossed and they've never been uncrossed. A kind--but firm--talking to seems to help, along with dragging out the catalog of past catastrophes-that-weren't, but perhaps for some of us this is a lifelong struggle, a persistent habit.
And, you know, if that's the case (and even if it's not), the greatest gift I can give myself is to stop apologizing for how I was wired, to stop apologizing for being an inconvenience, a burden, square, uncool, unattractive, or any of the other hundreds of things I apologize for on a daily basis.
I'm trying, but I'm trying for me--not for the rest of the world.