|lots of tea and conversation happens in circle|
It is fascinating to observe the cycles we each have moved through, and to tease out the common threads and themes in our lives. Some of those areas are: finding work that is meaningful and connects us with deeper purpose than making a buck; connection and sense of place in community; understanding and valuing the work of creating a home and caring for family (children and aging parents); finding comfort and ease in our own process of changing, aging, and deepening into the wisdom that journey provides; and crafting personal spiritual practice that is authentic, vibrant, and vital.
This past gathering as I listened to each woman in the circle sharing her story (council style sharing: one person speaking at a time, no interruptions, no commentary from the others; just being heard and witnessed by the group), I had a mini epiphany.
Actually, the night before while brushing my teeth I received the first flash of a very dangerous thought: I'm done with self-improvement.
Like the home renovation shows that Cowgirl and I like to watch, the process has come to feel like a constant sledge hammer to internal walls and out-dated fixtures. Ripping out, adding in, only to tear myself apart again ... and again ... all under the guise of coming into my fullest, truest, authentic expression of self.
While scrubbing my newly straightened teeth (yes, my self transformation has been both structural and spiritual) I realized: this is it and I am there. With all the efforting to create the life I believe I was born to live, I am overlooking the fact that I already am living my life. Living a damned good one at that! I am not a project to bring into some elusive state of perfection, but a living expression and extension of the Universal creative force. It's not a matter of doing anything to bring about growth or change; actually the more I try, the more I get in the way of things.
|my dream that night: tigress is always resting right by me ... i just have to lean into her, trust and receive|
As I've often heard in Yoga, it's not a doing but an undoing. What is required isn't effort so much as releasing my death grip upon things - my infantile attempt to control - and relaxing into the life that is happening while I busy myself with hammers and saws.
In our circle, I came out with a variation upon this theme: what if we entertain the idea that there's nothing we need to fix? What if we accept our lives, and the people in our lives, as is? Which is not to say we don't hold aspirations, that we want to continue to learn and grow and evolve in positive ways, but we open to that growth, we open to our individual evolutionary path.
I know this sounds dangerously naive or head-in-the-sand-ish ... I don't mean to imply that there isn't some seriously shitty and harmful and dangerous stuff happening in our world that requires change, that demands we take action ... it's just the attitude of fixing, the restlessness of "not enough" and the culture of constant and continual up-grading makes me feel like a dog ever and always chasing her tail.
I can only attend to myself. What if the violence stops there? What if I embrace myself and my life as is in this moment and proceed from there? What if I cease the fixing, tinkering, adjusting and attend instead to what fills, nourishes, augments and enlivens me? As I learned in Flora Bowley's painting classes, build upon what is working rather than pouring energy into fixing what isn't working.
The not-so-subtle message we've received for far too long is this: something is missing, you are incomplete or lacking in some way BUT here's what will fix you ...
I'm done with being fixed. And I vow I am done trying to fix myself or anyone else for that matter. As I am, I am enough. This life of mine is more than enough. I want to appreciate and enjoy it and that is hard to manage if I am continually sledge-hammering it - and myself - down to the studs.
All I need is right before me ... under my nose or sleeping by my feet. Waiting for me to wake up and pay attention ...