We are constantly being shamed.
People will fault you for your choices until you are dead—and that’s fine—until you narrow your vision to please them, often without even knowing you’re doing it.
Especially you individual, creative thinking types; people who would click on the words “Morality, My Ass.”
We allow ourselves to be told we are so much less than we are. We are the culmination of billions of intense experiments in luminosity and awareness. We are a process of unfolding wonder. We are so much more than a potential hazard to be corralled with rules.
Our human tendency to strive for acceptance, to be told by an authority figure that we are ok, threatens our fulfillment; “ok” doesn’t even begin to describe what we are.
“You are an aperture through which the universe is looking at and exploring itself.”
~ Alan Watts
But it feels more like we are simply wrong, half the time.
If everybody thinks we are supposed to be married by age 25, well, we guess that’s just the way it is supposed to be.
Don’t buy it.
I’ve wheeled my way far left of parental expectations. I love mom and dad, and am grateful for life; I am loved by them—but also, I am disapproved of.
Eyes roll. I’m the weird one. And that’s ok. I’ll take weird.
As long as I don’t succumb to the temptation to create myself as “normal,” to the intense pull toward being accepted by people, my originality has a fighting chance.
Hafiz said it best:
“Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred. Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you finally live
Can you imagine that? Leaving aside what they told you is right and wrong, what you decided was acceptable—and giving everything you have to follow what you love.
The strangehold of yesterday’s definition of “self, right” and “appropriate” are so last year.
Sculpture Walking tour brochure 2009
Photos: Joshua Barash
There were years when I thought only “trained” sculptors could create in the public realm. That bronze tree would never have come to life, had I confined my work to my old definition of appropriate. Agreeing to convention blocks us from quantum leaps forward and there is no prize for adhering to normal; there is no cheese down that tunnel.
And guess what?
All morality is maleable anyway and subject to circumstances. The moment is the morality. In Harold and Maude, Maude said that “Consistency is not really a human trait”—and she would know.
“The more a thing tends to be permanent, the more it tends to be lifeless.”~ Alan Watts
This piece is a call to inaction: a challenge to listen not up, but listen in.
My best fortunes all came from growing wild, answering only the heart. We are subject to clamor and shouting masked as help and encouragement.
Listening to what wants to grow from inside is no easy task in this cacophony; some of the things I’ve been most sharply criticized for (getting a divorce, becoming a professional juggler, becoming a professional sculptor) are some of the things that have given me the most joy in life.
None of those things came to me from embracing conventional wisdom—they were all a departure from the expected.
The loudest criticism, bar none, was the one inside me. I never caught even 1/10th as much flack from people as the flack I gave myself, custom made, from what I thought they would think. There is a saying in my tribe:
“You wouldn’t care so much what people think about you, if you knew how infrequently they did.”
When we take actions based on what others might think, we give away our power. There are better places to listen for guidance than to the expectations of our peer groups, however noble.
So what do we listen to? What guidance are we mining for?
If Hafiz is right, listen for love. Listen deeply for love; become love’s bitch. Love your divine unique way, the gift of your path. Love yourself silly. You are an innocent, baby.
You are. And guess who gets to say if your one path is a clear road to divinity or a speed-of-light motorcycle ride straight to hell? You.
“I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being.” ~ Hafiz
When you are on the mountain; when you are sweat-drenched on your mat, breathless and bliss-riddled; when you are climbing the steps up to the yoga studio, after fighting the urge to stay in bed. When there are tears in your eyes from your beloved dog Billy passing away, and its all a little too much.
Love—love that crazy-windstorm-bookreading-riverwalking-laughterlingering-godslice that you always are.
You; free of what you’ve been told to be. Free of what you mistakenly bought…and then tried to sell yourself.
And don’t you dare let anybody tell you different. Because by definition they are not you: they do not know.
Be the very youest-you there ever existed. Revel in it. Tage a page from the beautiful Esperanza and really drink this one in:
“I’m not gonna sit around and
waste my precious divine energy
trying to explain
and be ashamed of
things you think are wrong with me.”
Because you are It, baby. Nothing to change or fix, nowhere to run to, no finish line waiting.
Right now. As is. Perfection. And all the fear, the feelings of inadequacy and the ideas that you are not enough, well, they are for someone else.
Let go; let go into you.
You are the envelope and the letter too, the long trailing vine in the jungle, leaves greener than any jolly giant ever born.
You are the stones, smoother than a used car salesman, simple as a rock, complex as a collaboration between energy and speed-of-light motion.
You are enough.
You are the wind’s audience and the daughter of the wheat field. You are every cat that’s ever been born, and a flock of geese making the best sound these ears ever received.
You are the beautiful red appearing on the faces of the angry zealots crying out that what you are doing is wrong; you are the scarlet of blood on ancient battlefields, senseless, unthanked, but here, today—you are the blue of a shark-riddled, timeless sea.
You are the baby Oliver, soon to be born in New Orleans, the magic city.
You are the crone, alive with wisdom and laughing until death most welcome frees you. You are every song they ever wrote, played expertly in riverwater and fire.
You are allowed.
You are allowed.
You are allowed.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise