I woke up last week to my mind overflowing with scattered thoughts, clouding each other, swarming the landscape of my psyche and robbing me of peace before I could open my eyes. Quickly, I remembered my ritual of listing at least five things I’m grateful for before getting out of bed. Then, pulling the covers back and swinging my legs to the left, I planted my feet on the carpet and stood upright. When I stepped into the bathroom and closed the door behind me, I suddenly had the image of a defibrillator and the word “CLEAR” being called out prior to its use. “I need a defibrillator for my brain”, I thought. A shock to the system to restart the intended function of the organ.
Creation of Chaos
Humans are curious creatures. We seem to have an affinity for creating chaos for ourselves. Have you noticed this? In the pursuit of “happiness”, we all too often find ourselves miserable. Ideas in our minds, external opinions, media narratives, social comparisons and the like, paint a picture for us that we perceive as success, and regardless of what it looks like to one person or the next, the chase begins. And depending on what culture you come up in, there’s a version of what winning the race looks like. Even if you have awareness of this phenomena or have dissected it in great detail with other introspective people like yourself, somehow it still has power.
The Meaning of Freedom
Have you ever thought about what freedom means to you? Or have you considered what holds you captive? Is it real, or imagined? And can we ever really know? Where do you go when the world feels heavy on your shoulders? What arrests your attention, pulling you in like a magnet? Are you guided by freewill, or beckoned to return to what has manipulated your mind? Let me guess, just reading this list of questions is making it apparent for you how I could possibly wake up first thing in the morning considering a defibrillator.
We’ve all heard the isms like “Keep it simple, stupid”, “it’s the little things that count”, and “have child-like curiosity”. And yet, how often do these words of wisdom fall on deaf ears? We nod and shrug off the repeated noise, “I know, I know, but…” coming up with justifications for our tireless searching, the discontent we carry with us everywhere we go. What if we didn’t?
Letting Your Soul Lead
Today, in the midst of actively accomplishing chores around my home, I stopped in my kitchen and my eyes fell on my laptop. “Come on…you know you want to write”, it seemed to say. The list of to-dos faded from view, and I gave in to temptation. And so here I sit, musing thoughts to you, periodically looking up to watch the hummingbirds outside my window. Just because. There is no incentive in this practice, I am not set up to receive praise, monetary compensation, a promotion, or any other external reward by making the choice to sit here and write. Simply…I am letting my soul do the leading for a moment.
I don’t have anything figured out. And any time in my life that I have the illusion that I do, reality has made swift work of reminding me of the truth. Lindsay and I have had countless conversations about certainty, and how dangerous we actually believe that it is. Life has shown me that the most fulfilling way to walk through the world is lightly.
In the words of Aldous Huxley– “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly, child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Think lightly, act lightly, feel lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them. Lightly, lightly– it’s the best advice ever given me. Throw away your baggage and go forward. There are quicksands all about you, sucking at your feet, trying to suck you down into fear and self-pity and despair. That’s why you must walk so lightly.”
If you are anything like me, this idea can feel next to impossible. I think I could make a single feather heavy if I thought about it long enough. But what I am learning is that to do everything lightly, I have to first look at myself lightly. With humor, compassion, forgiveness, and a dash of love. In a way, we could boil life down to either a comedy or a tragedy, all by the method we approach it; lightly, or with burdensome weight. Inevitably, because there is no black and white, right or wrong, cut and dry…we will hang in the balance. The gray area of both/and.
None of us can predict the future, not a single person comes out of this experiment of being human unscathed, and there will be no shortage of contradictory emotions, thoughts, and real time events that leave us swirled in a puddle in our minds. Even if we don’t create chaos for ourselves, not to worry, life will provide it for us. So why not just…BE, every now and then? Answer the call that your soul puts in to reach you…give it the space to show you something you’ve forgotten, or never really knew, about the parts of you that all too often get silenced by the noise.
My cup of tea has dwindled and is no longer hot. This means it’s time to brew a new cup. So, this is where I leave you. Go lightly, child.
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