I’ve done a lot of fighting with the flow of life.
A lot of empty moralizing and naval gazing and judging, not to amend myself but just to destroy myself and others. I thought I had to have the plan all worked out in my mind, that success was a result of effort and action, cause and effect logical and cold like Newtonian physics.
I was wrong—we live in a world of waves and spirit and energy.
Sometimes we get what we want, and we have to believe in some way we deserve what we want or we will live our whole lives in hell. We have to believe we deserve to be happy, that we deserve to be as we are, while realizing we are not responsible for righting all the wrongs in the world and sacrificing our happiness and peace of mind to fight battles that aren’t quite ours—no matter how they’ve affected us.
I’m talking about all of us who are guilty, middle class, highly college educated, white girls who need to do some kind of career in social service to alleviate the guilt of having been born lucky and free. Getting worthless masters degrees that only make us feel worse about ourselves and don’t prepare us for a job, so we can have that middle class lifestyle we’ve grown accustomed. Feeling we must get at least modestly rich while saving the world and sticking it to the man since we’ve been so privileged since birth just to have running water, just to live in a place where women can do more than be slaves.
It’s too heavy a burden to take on, an implicit challenge, a distrust in God; quite simply, sometimes it is none of our business, much as we wish it was. Because we and only we, know how to fix the world, as though no one else does.
And there’s the weirdness of the idea of being happy even when we are sad, of just accepting things and moving on and not fixating so much. The strange tickle of detachment, the funny feeling it gives us in our stomach to finally be free of our mind, our crazy mind, and to stop believing everything they have told us.
Beyond the platitudes of it all works out in the end, everything happens for a reason, the Lord works in mysterious ways and it really is okay just as it is.
Without seeing the whole divine plan unfold to the point where our puny little minds can get a piece of it.
To say yes, today it is raining, but we don’t have to be sad. We didn’t get what we want, but we don’t need to analyze, ruminate, fight reality, try to deny it or tell ourselves why everything is wrong with the world. The universe is unjust and it’s time to just fight, fight, fight digging in our heels like an animal on the way to the slaughter.
Because we will be slaughtered, or at least transformed. Like a butterfly. Things can never stay the same, and we, as part of all those things, will never be the same. Tough nuggets. It’s not something to get too sad about. It just is. If we don’t spend our life in tears and sorrow and wailing over it, it doesn’t mean we don’t care or are hard of heart or in denial. It just means we are wise.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Kind of like doing our best and leaving the rest up to God, fate, destiny, something greater than ourselves and not beating ourselves up about it anymore.
Like letting a lover go, without tears or recriminations.
Keeping our hearts open, knowing we have to let love and light flow out to get it coming in, and that we can’t love and be loved unless we are open and can be hurt. But, no need to hurt our hearts as before, not when we can say goodbye with a smile. Which doesn’t mean we don’t care, it just means we don’t care to get upset over the ebb and flow of life.
For me, among the greatest moments of self realization and acceptance recently has been admitting that I don’t quite want what my parents have. The house in the suburbs and all. At least not now. The idea that I will dream my own dream has made me feel guilty, ungrateful and somehow dysfunctional since so many people would kill for the loving, close family that I have; living in New Jersey would not phase them one bit.
But much as this is home, my heart’s not really here. And there’s nothing wrong or ungrateful or silly or immature about that. I’m just not that way. And I’m not going to fight it. I don’t know where I am going, but who does?
I finally feel my cage breaking. I’m finally not trapped in the prison bars of my own mind, and my imagination has been a source of joy and not misery. I’m not depressed anymore, and the self destructive habits are simply fading away.
I’ve accepted my hunger and it’s not eating me anymore.
It’s not recently having gotten a job that changed me, it’s not having everything squared away, it’s realizing that everything is already perfect. There is nothing wrong with things as they are; that it really is all good. That’s the scariest, craziest, most mind blowing thing of all.
And sometimes the mind just needs a good screwing after all, since it’s the mind that’s been screwing us over when we fell victim to the illusion that we were simply it, and not the screen, not the stage on which those thoughts are merely players. We are the directors, we are the singers of the song, we are the composers of the lyrics and writers of the score.
So many of those big bad things happening outside are just projections of the stories we tell ourselves on the inside, day after day. Let those narratives go. We can turn away, be unchained from our place merely watching shadows dance on the walls of the cave.
Turn, turn towards the light. What we see will destroy us. No man can see the face of God and live, but we will be a new people, with hearts of flesh and not of stone, and a clear minds that know it is just a dream, an illusion.
And we are bigger than our bodies, for we are with it, part of all that is, was and ever shall be.
We are players; we will contribute a verse to the great epic of existence.
And it’s all good.
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Assistant Editor: Kerrie Shebiel/Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives
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