Life: a (very) rough draft
And so our lives go.
The rockiness of relationship meets the chaos of health. Accidents bump up against graduations and births and promotions. We drift apart. We rediscover a passion we once held. We sit alone, accompanied only by a regret or two. We reflect on the brilliance that was a certain time in our lives. We forget a birthday. We remember a slight. A favorite song comes on while we sit in a coffee shop, quietly reminding us of a love that never materialized. An ache in the shoulder - or back or knee - reminds us of the years that have passed. We see a picture where we are facing away from the camera, but the grey that fills the frame is so unfamiliar. We feel our six year old self as someone we respect slips up, saying something critical of us. We forgive our parents. We cry ourselves to sleep. We wake feeling refreshed, looking forward to the day ahead.
Days weeks months years. Time flows ceaselessly. Interrupted only by sleep — including the occasional nap — and the moments that transcend all moments. The ones where god comes and sits down next to us. Feels our breathing. Puts a hand on our knee. Smiles gently and gives us a reassurance through a smile.
All of this and more. We live lives that were presented to us, making the best choices any of us knows to make. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit. Sometimes we aren’t humble. Sometimes we think it’s all about us. And sometimes we erase ourselves.
What, exactly, did we sign up for? And who is this mysterious “we” that did the signing up? A baby deer and an infant human have so much in common, but the deer has a leg up. Literally. Both will make their way into the world to live as only they know how. The infant will be shaped and molded by the stress and joy that their parents experience; by the conditions handed down from generations. By the unprocessed trauma experienced by an ancestor. The baby deer will stand immediately after birth. Will be shaped by their connection to the morphogenetic field, the millenia of memories handed down in an ongoing transmission to this new generation.
What is the difference? Perhaps one argument is that there isn’t one. Perhaps that argument would say that what shapes and creates us is the same thing, in different forms. That unknowing mystery that we can’t possibly comprehend opens us into itself and we have the experiences we have. Another argument might be that the difference is in capacity of choice — ability to hold and interact with complexity. From this place, the baby deer will grow, becoming a doe or a stag, will follow its hunger from field to field, in search of survival. Will mate. Will seek safety. Will live the life of every deer from today through all of history. Yet, the infant will grow into one of an almost infinite number of possibilities. She will make choices that branch from one possible future to the next. Living a wholly unique and individual life. One that is guided from the most personal place, the seat of the self.
Perhaps another argument is some combination of these. Perhaps another is that it’s none of these. Perhaps it’s irrelevant.
Ultimately, this is an inquirty that can only really matter to the mind. What happens, I wonder, when we try to feel into the inquiry? When we try to feel into what this life thing is? What messages do we get?
Life is the great mystery. It’s a wonderfully beautiful, messy, complex space. It’s an ongoing converation with no end. It is all questions and few answers. It is the pulsing of all things. It is what is happening right here, right now. In these words, and in your breath. In your body in the chair and the stories you have about what you are reading in you mind. It is the feelings you have about yourself and about the ones you love. It is no more the elation of your most precious connection than the resistance you have to the thing you most fear. It is the whole thing. It contains all of it. It fears none of it and none of it is bad.
This last bit is hard. Challenging. Not all things are good. But nothing doesn’t belong in the wholeness of the world. We know this because it is here. It exists. When we work to change those things, we end up with something new that is here. We add to this. We add to life. Life creates through us.
Life is us.
I offer this as a direct download, with very few edits. I’m not at all sure what it’s about, or where it is going to go. What I do know is that there are a number of things moving through me related to the themes in these words. So, I put them out there, gentley, trying to not question them too much. Whose are they? Who can really know. We are on this journey together, one way or another. In the meantime, I’m just glad to be here.