I already know how little I need to be happy, to be peaceful (in fact, less equals more room for peace). But it's so easy to focus on material stuff, because it's there. You can hold it, donate it, reform it, recycle it.
But what about the other stuff? The preconceptions, the judgments, the expectations, the anxieties, the uncertainties? We don't have to expect the worst, but we so often do (I so often do), because that's the default, just like it's the default to buy a bigger/better house/car/wardrobe with a step up in income.
But there's no rule telling us we *have* to define our lifestyle by a generous paycheck. Nor do we have to let our fears and cynicism ruin the simple structure of our days.
I don't know how many times I've told myself that I was just going to start asking for what I want/need, and not say yes (or no) when I didn't want to, not make promises I couldn't keep, or redefine the truth to make myself fit in.
Well, now I'm not only telling myself, I'm telling those...
Some of us are born knowing exactly who we are and what our place is in this world. I think that's a rare breed, up there with prodigies and geniuses, but I've known a few, and I've always been envious of their comfort, their certainty.
But I think the rest of us can catch up--one of the great benefits of aging is that you finally don't see any reason why you shouldn't get to know yourself a bit better.
It's not that we should cease looking within, it's that we've become so addicted to it that we've become myopic, unable to focus on the bigger picture, the wider horizon. It's more that we've trained ourselves too well--yes, our impact is important, yes knowing our motivations is helpful for leading a kind and loving life, but we've forgotten one key fact: it's not all about us.
If someone is quite obviously having a bad day, it isn't your fault. If the car in front of you hits a squirrel on your morning commute, it isn't your fault. If your boss/teacher/parent closes her door while on the phone, they aren't discussing your shortcomings.
Petals, we are doing our best. Now we just have to trust and rest our eyes on something beautiful.
Sometimes what is broken is of better use as compost, as literal or figurative fertilizer.
I try never to keep what is no longer of use or of beauty to me, but a very few objects live in my heart. Those I will mend again and again, and when mending is no longer possible, I'll put them aside and call it art.
So often I find that I've labeled the day before it has even taken a breath or two, and I can't imagine that's good for my physical or mental well-being--nor that of the day's, come to that. Fridays are Fridays not simply because they precede the weekend, but because we infuse them with a relief and a buoyant sense of possibility.
What if we could take a fraction of that manifested energy and carry it with us into every day, no matter where it falls in the workweek? How much more joy could we draw simply by deciding not to have an opinion at all?
I think I--like (too) many of us--have just one speed: immediate. It's as if I have this micro-manager standing over my shoulder, wondering, if I don't answer that email or that phone call right now, well then, what AM I doing with my time? It's relentless and driving
It's pointless! Good goddess. Yes, we come from hardworking stock, and yes, even they rested and took their time to do something right and in a way that was fulfilling to the soul, brushing aside all the unimportant nonsense that cluttered up the rest of their days.
Okay, then. So here's to slowing down, to living every inch of our days, and to letting the rest of the world catch up to us for a change.
In the moments when we can't get a clear view of our surroundings, the answer is almost always to slow down--one's pace, one's breath, one's mind. Only when we can take in what's around us without including ourselves in the picture, then perspective, if not a plan of action, follows.
Indecision, panic, and anxiety are self-centered conditions, meaning that with the gaze turned inward--that limited space inward--a way out, a solution, is almost impossible to come across. But when we take ourselves outside of ourselves--get an aerial view, so to speak--we see where we are in space. We see how blessedly small we are, and we see--in the vast reaches of our landscape--just how many possibilities there are open to us.
Insisting on love has never been a waste of time or a waste of energy. And not just here, doves, in our homes, in ourselves, but in the difficult spaces--the commute, the traffic, the long workday, the harried day of parenting. Insist on love for yourself when you lose it, when you speak out of turn, when you complain (again), when you project (again).
We will insist on highlighting the negative. It's what we do because it's easy. But to insist on love is a glorious antidote. Even when your stubbornness keeps you firmly ensconced in your snit, let that little rebel voice insist and insist and insist on love.
Petals, here's what I've discovered--there's a lot more room for wonder and for magic when we simplify our lives, when we strip away everything (or as much as we can) standing between us and the world around us. Some of us, perhaps, can keep our devices and our online accounts, our closets of much-loved clothing and piles of books and still see the daily divinity of risings and settings, tides and weather patterns.
For me, and I suspect for many of us, self-prescribed obligations throw up a wall between ourselves and this daily arrival of natural wonders. So, to that end, I'm going to try a little experimental simplifying. At the end of the week, I'm going to take a break from Facebook. I'll continue to post Satyas on the website (thisquietearth.com) and on Instagram, but I'm just going to give myself some breathing space. More and more, I dread Facebook and its headlines, its invasiveness, its suggestions, its big-brother-y nonsense and the disturbing way it seems to know what I'm thi...
We have such a hard time with this whole waiting concept in our culture--that is to say Western culture, no matter where it manifests on the globe. Something, if I knew anything about sociology (which I don't), I imagine we could trace back to the Industrial Revolution. But, anyway, it's unimportant--what's done is done and all that matters now is how we go forward.
So. Do we really need the instant gratification of a Googled answer? Or can we wait, intuit, then pick ourselves up, walk to some kind of reference material (be it person, book, or map) and physically find the answer? Not, as it were, have it carried to us on a virtual silver platter? I don't know. Would the withdrawal kill us? Or would it make us more human?
Few of us are robust enough, strong enough, to go cold-turkey from whatever it is we think makes life more bearable. But small sips of hands-on reality would do much to propel us back toward health, toward sanity, toward patience, and toward our own humanity.