I think we confuse the two, stillness and stagnation. I think we get to a point where we're so afraid of choice, we choose not to make any. But that choice, or non-choice, is a catalyst from which a multitude of unasked-for, unapproved choices will be made.
At least by making decisions, we can begin to exert some control over our lives again. Even if they end up not being what we want, we've begun empowering ourselves with our own faith and decided--made the choice--to trust ourselves again. And, over time, that renewed trust will not, cannot, lead us astray.
I've always loved that expression, 'true grit'--it doesn't leave much to the imagination, you know what you're getting, and what you can handle. Very bad-ass Clint Eastwood. And maybe it's something I aspire to. I've never been a cynic or a skeptic, but I'm not quite a romantic either. I'm more of a girl who likes a good story and hopes that, one day, she'll have one to tell.
Maybe that's all we can hope for in this world--to be the heroes of our own stories, to take up the pen and write the damn history ourselves, from the perspective of those who lived it.
There are many, many things of which we could speak on any given day. Granted, some, though unpleasant, are necessary to our work, our relationships, etc. But I'm not talking about those items. I'm talking about the extraneous, the conversational, the dialogues we carry on with each other, with ourselves.
These are of the 'is it kind/necessary/true' variety, and though I've more or less trained myself to go through that criteria before I speak, I admit quite readily (and quite guiltily) that I too often disregard the 'necessary' bit and, at times, even the 'kind' business.
Yes, I try always to speak the truth, but without kindness? Without necessity? How much does that add to the conversation?
Yesterday I had a dangerous thought: maybe things aren't as dire as we make them out to be. I'm not talking head-in-the-sand-current-events sort of avoidance, but deep in this sweet body-brain-spirit knowing. We know our minds take us hostage--indeed, we're good and brainwashed by the critical captors who long took over the broadcast of our inner monologue. Sometimes we can shake them off, but they always drag us (only somewhat unwillingly) back into that stuffy, windowless room.
So why do we believe everything they say? It's the cult of the critical, the catastrophic, and we've laced ourselves tightly into the fold--so much so that to extricate ourselves has become painful--ripping off the bandaid to the thousandth power painful. But if we know that--if we know we're more or less willing captives of catastrophic thinking, can we begin to believe, even just for a moment or two, that everything we hear in our brains isn't necessarily true?
I like old things. I like imperfect things. I like when you can see the marks time, experience, struggle, exquisite joy, and exquisite sorrow have left. There is nothing wrong with wearing these experiences, covering them up less and less--even for a party, a date, the office, a wedding, a wake, a birth, a trip to the store/library/market.
It's as exhausting to be who you aren't as it is to broadcast actively who you are. You needn't do either. Just walk in your grace, tattered or patched, immaculate or tousled--whatever gives your heart space, your feet balance, and your eyes clear sight.
It is a challenging thing, remembering how to be creative. Or, more true--remembering how to create. It used to be effortless. It used to require no juice from the gray matter, just heat from the heart and the belly, hands and fingers translating the dance, the rhythm into something tangible, something relatable.
Surely, surely if we'd unfasten a few buttons--just the ones up by our throats--loosen a few ties, kick our shoes beneath the bed, toss our socks over our shoulders, we'd be that much closer to, that much more suitably dressed for, our creative selves.
I'm going to share something from a book I cannot say enough about, so I won't.
But I will say this: in the moments you are happy, just tell yourself that. Don't clutch them, just acknowledge. Don't try to recreate, just be.
We Took To the Woods, Louise Dickinson Rich:
"It amounts to this. 'Is it worth-while to live like this?' is a question that I never ask myself under fair conditions. I ask it only when exasperation or discomfort or exhaustion pre-determine No as an answer. That's about ten times a year. On the other three hundred and fifty-five days of the year, I don't question anything. Happy people aren't given to soul searching, I find. Revolt and reform, whether private or general, are always bred in misery and discontent" (p. 320).