During my 54th year, I think I figured a few things out. Not everything mind you. Lord, what would I do with myself were that to happen? How dull slow mornings would be.
We crash and burn, and rise again shinier. I’m feeling shiny. At least from a certain angle. I am putting both feet on the ground and letting my full weight fall on them. Eggshells be damned. For all the fear I’ve had with regard to offending people, all the care I’ve taken to “be good”, I’ve done my fair share of offending people anyway.
I’ve made myself ill trying to make myself “good”, bending around expectations, trying to tick off prerequisites for approval, be adopted by “a tribe”. Turns out I am still just not a tribal kind of gal.
I’m going to be okay with that. Writing without a community. And with making things without permission.
A big part of being shiny and new is being full of questions, not answers. When I think of “wisdom” I think of the woman’s voice caught in the tree, or the stiff man sitting very still under it. Wisdom as still and inanimate. And that actually doesn’t jibe with what I am aiming for as I age. I would do well to think more of a laughing Buddha.
Someone commented some weeks ago on one of my meditations, that I was on the right path and encouraged me to continue. I wondered who would presume to know what the right path was for anyone else? Or that there even is a right path for any individual, much less all of us. My intellect and every fiber of my being rejects that idea. And I won’t begin to detail the sexist and racist consequences of charting out life experiences and insights as though they are badges for a boys’ club with a hierarchy based on “merit”.
I have been struggling with my relationship with my day job for months now. How much of this can you swallow in order to keep that? When do things reach a tipping point? And what does one do about it when it happens?
I have taught for years now and thought about quitting often, but it was never because of students. These young people who are so creative and so generous with their perspectives. When they aren’t trying to teach me, they teach me. And I have come to learn (from them) that I teach them the most significant lessons when I am not trying to teach them anything at all.
Maybe this is exactly how life should be, how deep learning should be: effortless. Even if life itself isn’t.
My students have taught me how to deal with grief, how to deal with perfectionism, insecurity, heartbreak, crushed dreams, loneliness. Not necessary in terms of “how to” do things for myself, but in terms of how human beings respond to life in ways that make life richer and more meaningful. In terms of the variations of experience, solutions, resolutions. I have learned to respect people more by spending all these years with teenagers. Conscious that I am growing and changing as much as they are with each year.
The Unusual Buddha on Instagram asked people if they’ve ever thought of how they are the villain in someone else’s story. I am surprised that there may be people who don’t. At the moment I am the Evil Queen, the Fairy God Mother, and the Crazy, Annoying Gadfly simultaneously. I am none of those things. And all of those things.
And isn’t that just amazing?
from how many angles
have you approached the sea?
have you crossed the currents?
or have you been waiting
for rip-tide to rip you open?
Heading to the beach for a run now. Everything is uncertain right now, and that always helps.