‘It must be obvious … that there is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity.’ ~ Shunryu Suzuki
Hello lovely ones,
It has taken me a while to get to this page to update you. So much has and is happening in this little space within the world I inhabit. This monthly exploration into accepting what appears and what feels right to explore has taken me beyond. Beyond where … I can’t quite put my finger on it, it is hard express it in words but I’ll just try. I think it is fear, fear of myself, my place in the world, where in the world, my time left in the world, the world. But, ‘the beyond’ is a wonderful place, I can say that without hesitation.
I started this month with a desire to be fearless. I’ve written a lot about fear, of rejecting the meme’s, of how this pushing to ‘extend’ beyond limits actually feels limiting. I am not sure I really understood fear, where mine comes from, nor its impact on me. With all scary things I think we have to find our own way there ourselves. And it’s a process … we don’t find ourselves able to face or do things without first learning and trying a few things along the way.
My friend Lizzie recently asked me if I was scared about heading into the mountains to go hiking alone and navigating the trails. I don’t feel scared about that … more excited and exhilarated. Do know I have practiced though, lots. Before I walked the camino I was a bit scared of that, the unknown, of a long walk. Now I know I can find my way. Among the many things I am scared of one is having an opinion. Now that may seem odd to you given that you clearly know I have them! It is not in having them, it’s in sharing them, because frankly, generally I am often on the outside of the mainstream. And I think that makes me a little scared of myself. So over the years I have found ways to hide myself, dumb myself down, silence myself and generally protect myself from feeling scared. But if we want what lies beyond then one day we have to make friends with what scares us.
A situation presented itself at the beginning of this month. In an online ‘group chat’ school type setting. A comment was made that was completely inappropriate. I called it out. I didn’t want to walk away ‘stewing’, not this time. I won’t go into specifics because it was actually quite ugly, the response I got. I am not sure the person who made the comment understood the impact of his comment but I can assure you that calling it out mattered. Five women approached me in the weeks afterwards to thank me for standing up. One with a beautiful hug.
“If someone corrects you and you feel offended, then you have an ego problem.” Nouman Ali Khan
I wish I had found this quote to throw back on the day but these things often show up later don’t they. I lost a few days you know … after this incident. Thinking about it, processing it. But it came from a place of strength and actually I am now stronger for it. Sometimes I find myself bemused by the lack of awareness and empathy that exists in society. Often actually. Will I take a microphone and stand in public, no, that’s not me either. But I won’t cop it in my every day life, not anymore. I have children and a daughter to protect … if I don’t stand strong against what is wrong for them who will? Calling out shit matters, no matter how small it seems.
Here’s a little music compilation for you friends … it’s beautiful in the background. Listen when your baking, cooking, whatevering. Who doesn’t want to greet themselves? To meet the vibrations that we feel in our cells? Maybe not everyone but those of you who read here … I have a feeling you do.
Remember I also started my masters. Well the first unit was epidemiology and holy shit it was hard! I honestly had no idea what I was reading about to begin with. I kept telling myself that I would be ok, I’d get there. And I created space. I set two full days aside to study. I completed my weekly tasks before the due date to avoid stress and I backed away from other things to focus. I also tried to walk each day. With each assignment my marks improved as I got back in the swing of writing (I’m still not sure I understand much of it). It is a different style of writing. I am so used to laying out ‘stream of consciousness’ words. And just like that the six weeks was over and I got to take a break. It’s been delicious. And needed. I felt the stress rising towards the end as things began to pile up. I think all study units should be in short blocks, maybe work too. Six weeks on, two weeks off. Two days on, two off. We have to get radical in how we approach things sometimes, find new ways. Not be all or nothing.
Desire can be a wonderful drug. There is a high that comes with the freshness of a curious adventure. I am in a ‘high’ stage of this writing adventure, this adventure in living and writing. If there is one thing I need in life it is desire. Desire needs fuel. The big challenge is always fuel … where is the fuel coming from. What are the feelings, habits, routines and influences that are feeding me? These are fluid you know. Pliable. And they can all be shaped and re-shaped again, and, again. That’s exciting hey.
The study has been a good way for me to find some discipline. Is there a nicer word than that? Maybe direction, yes, direction, that’s the one. A way to settle into something that has an expectation. Like a job for most people! There is nothing here for me job wise and I am not the entrepreneur type so this is my connection to committing. It has also cracked open that wonderful seed of curiosity. All of a sudden I feel interested in new things, there are things to think about and delve into. I was wondering in a bit of a circle in my mind … I needed to find a new space.
Just a little thing about space. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately too. There is a lot of preoccupation with creating space by putting things in a neat order and boxing things in plastic tubs, but I wonder is this true free space? Or is that more about control and perfect space? You see on the interwebs over the years I have watched this time and time again as seasons and life changes. And often after the neat packing up or throwing away – nothing really changes. The search for space continues and the pattern repeats.
Sometimes we do need to order our ‘stuff’ and our life to create space, of course! My stuff (while not neatly folded) all has its place. It is probably the first step, the cleanse, the taking stock but it is from here that the true magic of space begins. What do we do in this space? Sometimes we need to float in it, face some of the ‘stuff’. Dare I say fears …. yes bugger it I’m saying fears. Fears are in fact what hold us in one place, what keep us moving around in circles and what are the true source of what clutters our flow. And I say fears because holy moly there is always more than one. Poke the beast a little and you’ll see. It is in admitting and facing what is scary that we begin a new adventure, it’s where we start re-shaping our influences and where we see ourselves for who we are. It is where we feel our own vibrations and from there we have a place to start.
It is an act of rebellion … to stand against everything we think we should or shouldn’t be. To be true to ourselves, to face ourselves, warts and all and to be ok with being scared, to stand for something bigger. We can’t do that without answering to ourselves first.
You may remember those Thai massages I was having? They began to create some space for me but I wasn’t yet doing the work. I was turning up to get my medicinal dose of massage. Then my shoulder locked up and my hip … so I tried something new. I went to a chiropractor. Slowly more space opened and I knew I needed to contribute here if I wanted to feel better. I began to look at some of my habits … I knew there were some that were toxic. I gave into them rather than hiding behind them. And I started changing some of them up. Yoga arrived.
‘When you accurately perceive the fluidity of things, you can also begin to perceive the constancy behind them: the creative, transformative, boundless, immutable Tao.’ ~ Laozi
It took longer for me to move away from March. I am there now … from facing my fears in to little acts of rebellion of remoulding habits, routines and influences. I am using this space I have opened for myself along this path of curiosity and vibrations that I’m following. I will leave it here for now, but friends, be assured it is a beautiful place I am finding myself in. Facing fear is shit stuff for sure, it takes you low. But I truly believe if you nurture it, accept it and be gentle with yourself then something will grow from there.
And so once again I say buen camino lovely ones. And here is another track I’m loving … because truly – society you are a crazy breed. But like all of us I have to find my place within it and I want to do that honestly and bravely, not simply as it exists.
Till next month friends,