I don't think we get to a point when we're "too old" to say yes when we mean no. I think we were born too old for it.
I, for one, was shocked when I realized that, for all my rebellious, anti-authority tendencies, I was a person who said 'yes' against my better judgment, rather then hurt someone. That's not a habit leading to good, honest, and long-standing relationships. And while that hard 'no' is still difficult to articulate--for all of us--compromising yourself in your soul is far harder and will wear you out far more quickly than you realize.
Post-Independence Day seems as good a time as any to declare ourselves free from people-pleasing, free from worrying about others' feelings more than our own (which doesn't mean we don't have to be kind and considerate, just that, if we have to live with our decisions, they'd better be ones that put us right in our soul), free to say no when we mean no, and free never, ever to feel guilty about it before, during, or afterward.
Maybe that's why we don't remember days, but moments--the remarkable can't sustain itself for that long. That's not to say that remarkable moments don't present themselves abundantly and often, just that we're too often mired in a mistaken sense of our own ordinariness to see them.
Maybe we try to understand too much. Heck, maybe we *try* too much, full stop. This is, after all, the idea behind meditation, is it not? Simply to sit and let the universe do what it's going to do, not with our engagement, but with our observation, our paying witness?
I've never been one for organized activities, which is perhaps why I cannot for the life of me maintain a meditation practice. But I do love taking a spontaneous moment to sit and stare at nothing, to watch the world come about and move around me--and you know, when you allow that space of nothingness, you awaken to the fact that, moment by moment, there is infinite variety and nothing ever repeats itself.
How can we not believe in possibility when it's proved to us again and again, if we could find the generosity of spirit to do nothing but observe for minutes at a time?
Instead of thinking, oh, I'm a mess, this is a mess, think instead, what a wonderful riot of color, of texture, of shape and of circumstance. How can these pieces come together, layer upon layer, to create this rich and complex life?
What happens when we shift into thinking creatively--whether or not we consider ourselves creative beings?
Spoiler alert: we are creative--we are makers down to our DNA. What do you think our ancestors did with their hands? Built houses, cooked food, created quilts and clothing, gardens and roads. They did it because they must, of course, but they also took the time to make objects more beautiful than they had to be.
That maker-art is still in us, singing its pattern of memories into our blood, waiting for us to pick up the tune.
This is a conversation two of us were having on Instagram the other day--how much of this life is dedicated to survival versus thriving? We discovered, I think, sadly, that thriving--growing green and glorious, dense and full--is secondary to the basics of food-shelter-water. And, yes, without means for survival there can be no opportunity to really thrive, but this is the question--is that living?
So when we wake up in the morning, heavy and burdened, too tired and already defeated, sure, we move through our days, we survive. But without the spark of life for life's sake, joy for joy's sake, then we are little better than clockworks, mechanisms marking time and ticking along until we stop.
How to redistribute our focus, our priorities? I have no idea, but I have a feeling it's a simple matter of shifting our attention--noticing something beautiful, simple though it may be, and finding wonder in that beauty. Letting ourselves be amazed on a regular basis--that's where we begin to...
More and more, as both we and the climate change our long-held drum beats, it pays to take the long view, to gather what's given in excess when given in excess--energy, water, food, forage, light. It's about taking advantage of time--the old ant and grasshopper saw.
We are, many of us and by necessity, old creatures, old souls. We grow up fast around here, and we know this to be true--time is both endless and heartbreakingly limited. But if we can work barefoot, if we can sometimes go hatless, letting the sun and the wind feed what's chapped and dry and long-hardened, then maybe there's an avenue toward belief.
Plugged in, we become amplifiers, resonant with the pulse, with the message-- This is how it works. This is what it sounds like, what it looks like, to be whole.
There is nothing new in heaven and earth (to borrow a bit of poetry from Horatio), nothing that hasn't echoes elsewhere, from our bodies to our habits, celestial meanderings to cycles of weather. Everything is a pattern, borrowed, complicated, or improvised upon. Patterns establish themselves and tug us along in their wake.
But let's not confuse these patterns with the well-trodden path. After all, not every path is a pattern that serves you--one creature's migration may have nothing to offer you; follow it and ignore your inner compass at your own risk. No, the patterns we want to reinforce, maintain, enhance are those that bring us to energy, to light, to hope, to fulfillment. Sometimes they're hard to find. Sometimes we have only a glimpse of their trajectory, the merest hint of a clearing ahead, but the pull of the heart is there--that's the key, whether you need to bushwhack your way there or not.
The best revealer of patterns is observation, and the best means toward true observa...
I believe in absolute and instant connection. I believe in putting one's faith, wholeheartedly and without reservation, into instinct. I don't, however, have much faith in first impressions. I don't believe that any sensible judgement can be made in a moment simply because I have been so absolutely wrong so many times. I chalk that up to an inherent people-meeting reticence.
But you know what I'm saying--eventually, with enough encounters, a vibe oscillates into your orbit and you pick up the feed, deciding how this person fits. A like-minded, life-supporting planet? A distant planet you pass by on occasion, but wouldn't go out of your way to bump into? An ice-covered satellite planet that rockets around, thankfully, at a great distance? Or, on those rare occasions, a sun? A moon?
And here's the thing--relationships, like orbits, aren't static. They can change as time and atmosphere shifts. If we're not mindful day to day, then we fall into habit, into dependence, into a routine th...