I think we’d all probably agree that venturing into anything new can be a little scary, if not downright terrifying at times. Feeling the strange uneasiness in the unfamiliar seems not only understandable, but expected while the boundaries of our comfort zones are pushed and pulled.
And what happens when your journey takes you far away from an old familiar setting, but then brings you back to that place? A place where you seem to recognize everything… buildings, people, and daily routines, but now for some reason you feel like a stranger in a strange land. What had been true for you before in this place is not necessarily so anymore.
That is scary, too, I find, because this time these unfamiliar feelings might not be expected or understood (or wanted) by many of the old familiar faces. It takes courage to be who you are when it might be easier on others for you to be who you were.
It’s not about shame, blame, or right/wrong. It’s just that change changes things. Sounds kind of obvious, but I think that this can be a really difficult concept to handle sometimes. It can definitely be hard to talk about, especially with people who haven’t walked where you’ve walked.
But I don’t think that the objective of our journey here on earth is ever to take us back to who we used to be. I think it’s about experiencing and growing, having compassion for the bravery it takes to do the best that we can each day and learning to love and accept who we are now and the choices we can make now.
Ok... I admit it. My first big concert was... yes... John Denver. And it was awesome! Over 30 years ago now. That in and of itself seems little weird. But anyway, I loved, loved, loved his music, especially the song "Sweet Surrender." It's one of my all-time favorite songs across any genre. It's melody really spoke to me back then and has stuck with me over the years. But now at 52, the words and melody take me to a level that I could never have seen as a high-schooler. And what's so weird is that last week I just happened to flip through this old John Denver music book of mine and noticed this small section in the front with John's reflections on his most memorable songs. And sure enough, there's one on "Sweet Surrender."
The reflection's always been there, obviously, but I guess I wasn't in the right time and place to see it. I wonder how many times in our lives that happens... something's there but only becomes visible over time and accumulated experiences. Our successes and failures, pleasant and unpleasant, open us up to new perspectives, to new ways to see as we move along…
We can't perfectly learn everything by reading about it “at the beginning." We all have to travel our journeys and learn along the way to have our eyes opened. Right? Again, that's just something that has really come into my greater awareness lately. It's allowing me to release the hold of judgment against myself that "I should've done it differently" and see that all of my journeying, positive and negative, has brought me to what I am and do now... and to feel the love and compassion from that release, the joy in the surrender. That is how life works.
And apparently, according to my recent JD reflection discovery, that's what John was getting at in this beautiful song - the joy in that sweet surrender to what life has to offer, knowing that the journey and lessons learned are just a small part of the gift of life. The rest of the gift is in how we receive it and what we do with it.
Thanks, John, for voicing this sweet insight for the rest of us.
Well, I actually finished another part of this rather crazy journey. Last week I graduated with a PhD. The only word I've been able to muster around this is "weird" hahaha. Although I'm not sure at the moment where the universe needs me next, I have to say, I really love where my research has taken me. I created a Metissage Circle Theatre Script entitled "To Practice Vulnerability?" It's intended to be read around a table, like a board meeting or something, without rehearsal by a group of interested people who do not have to be actors by any stretch. It gently invites the readers to consider a different way of looking at the purpose of education today and asks whether we need to be addressing the vulnerability of every student more officially, out loud and up front, in our schools. Here's the link to the dissertation if you are interested. The script starts in the middle.
Dissertation: Theatre as Curriculum to Practice Vulnerability
Like I said, I'm not sure where this is taking me, but I guess that's kind of the exciting part of it all...a new adventure into the unknown, taking me past my current imagination. That's where you find the new perspectives. That's where the answers lie...along with more questions...don't you think? I mean, we have to keep asking questions of our status quo to learn...to keep us conscious of choices and decisions...not for judgment or shame but for expansion of our hearts, minds, and spirits...for ourselves and for those around us.
Ok...all I can say is "Touching the Void"...watch it! I know I'm behind the times a bit on this one, but Holy crap that documentary is a must see for anyone who has ever had to dig deep for courage...from a place you didn't know existed inside of you. I had a fairly bad sporting injury back in my 20s and I remember everyone just kept talking about how gross it was. You know, all I could think of throughout my recovery was how glad I was that it didn't happen to me while I was hiking alone on a mountain...seriously...I actually would sit there and try to imagine how I would have had to somehow kick my foot to the front of my leg again and then crawl my way out 'cuz hopping was out of the question. Well, I just watched "Touching the Void" last night (and again today, actually hahaha) and let me tell you how right I was to be grateful that I hadn't been alone on a mountain!!! I mean...wow...
Ok...just sitting here with the huge awakening that it's not only October 2012, but November is less than a week away. Part of me feels like I've been in a holding pattern while I've been taking classes, seemingly removed from the "regular" world agenda, but then part of me feels that the last year was only a week long as I notice the date of my last blog entry! Crazy! So, nothing really earth shattering with this entry. Just a nod to what seems an inconsistency in the concept of linear time. hahaha Oh yeah...and it's what...a couple of weeks until we "fall back" in time, right?...
Still getting used to blogging...hahaha. But here we are just a few days away from a "new" year, if you're counting. I happened to catch the Kennedy Center Honors tonight on TV. While I feel all of the honorees are marvelous at their crafts, whom I've admired for their artistry, and who seem like really decent people, I find myself struck by the thought of how many people live their lives never to receive any honors, medals, applause, or even acknowledgment. I mean, I'm really struck by that. It's not like I haven't thought about it before, but for some reason tonight it's just hitting me with such a profound sense of compassion and appreciation for all of the souls who have passed through this world, seemingly unknown to the world, without which paradoxically there would be no world...
So tonight, whether anyone reads this or not, I give notice and honor to all of the souls who live each day, doing the best that they know how at any given moment. I wish you peace and grace with the hopes that your spirit be filled with that perfect, all-inclusive, illuminating light of love and not with sadness or fear. You indeed matter.
I love the somewhat indescribable power surge you get after making it through something really challenging, you know, a transformational experience where you kept refusing to do the same ol' same ol' and tried a more enlightened approach to something. It's like upgrading your wiring from 110 to 220. Same basic structure but now can handle way more voltage. Can't even describe exactly the time that it happened...just one day I woke up, felt it, no...just knew it, and said, "Aaah. I get it now. I did it. I'm stronger." And what's really interesting is that the greater strength comes with greater calmness...huge calm, not just a little bit. No denying that you're gonna run into chaos, but just a gentle acceptance that when you do, you can handle it.
Wow, time's flyin' right into that lovely season where all of the advertising tells us what the perfect holiday looks like, right? Not so much, I think. How many of us fall outside of that perfect married couple with kids on Christmas morning image that's all over the media? I can't understand why advertisers don't take advantage of the number of people that aren't included in that picture. There are just so many of us! Even if contemplating the all-inclusive nature of love concept of the holidays is something you're not into, there's money to be made off those of us Singletons who might buy ourselves or our friends a holiday treat or two. Can't believe retailers are overlooking this untapped market hahaha (or maybe hohoho would be more appropriate). Just a thought after a long week...
Well, I wasn't sure how to start this, so I thought use the intro to my new book Grin and Bare It (© 2011) Purposefully short and funny, this book gets people to read some thoughts without having their guards up...presenting some rather unexpected thoughts on the state of love in the 21st century, you could say. I feel called to finally put this out there. It's amazing how much sense it makes now, but how long it took to have the courage to do this... interesting:
"Someone just like me is out there who wants to know that she/he is not alone in feeling like the outsider…so far outside of the box…a box that you didn’t know existed until one day it hits you like a brick. Actually, no, it doesn’t hit you. No, you run into it...run right into the invisible outside wall of the box. nd you’re like, “What the frick?!” You feel like an idiot for running into something, like tripping on the sidewalk and looking back to see what that heck made you jerk forward so hard while everyone else is laughing. Do you know what I mean?
I gotta believe there is one person out there in our seven billion or so person world who gets that. Now, mind you, this box wasn’t placed there intentionally to make people miserable and feel excluded. No…I’m convinced it started with good intentions, but we all know where those get you, right? I’m telling you, that’s the one piece of wisdom that never made much sense to me as a kid, but Holy Crap, it certainly does now.
Many a road to our personal Hells has been paved with the ever well-meaning Good Intention. It’s one sneaky, little, seductive force that intention, too, used for eons as the excuse for something that has clearly gone astray from the original intent. For example, many of our society’s traditions supposedly celebrate love. A noble idea. I’m all for love. But these traditions developed into really limited acceptable formats…you know…concrete categories of love and ranking of love…like one form of love is somehow greater than another. And it was a slippery slope from there…"
All for love & love for all!