My apologies for the lateness of this post. It was supposed to be done yesterday.
“Take one thing a day, either a physical, actual object that needs to go, or better yet a habit, or psychological bug and exorcise it, throw it out.”
You can find links to all the contributors and their offerings at the link above to the bluebutterfliesand me blog. Clearing away is something that perhaps comes and goes in the same way that the seasons do. Sometimes something must go just as autumns changes clear the trees for next year’s growth.
More than any other time in my life I feel blessed with abundance. Not the richness of having things but the richness of being alive and of being immersed in whatever I am doing and wherever I am. It wasn’t always this way, and that might be why I am now able to appreciate peace and happiness when it does arrive that at one time seemed so elusive.
I’m not sure that I can narrow down what I am clearing to one thing, but these past few years I have felt my attention facing a little more outwards into the world. Maybe that is what aging does to us, or maybe it is something else, but I am far less concerned with why, than with what the change is like.
In the earlier years of my life I was very focused on the seeming mysteriousness of who I am. Having always felt deeply unsettled, a troubled child, I thought my quest in life was about knowing who I am. But as I get older (I am 55 now), I find my interests shifting outwards to a curiosity about what is going on for others and in the world in general. Life can be hard and suffering comes in many different shapes and colors, but as much as is possible, I don’t want to add to the world’s or to any individual’s suffering. So, the question has become, what does the world need? A very big question…
Although it seems that the world is in a mess, the more general my feelings are for the worlds problems, the less it seems I can do anything about them. So, part of what I am coming to see is the importance of differentiating between what is within my reach to change and what problems are too abstract, and not in reach. Probably not big news for some people, but life is made up of small moments, but they can be powerful sometimes life-changing moments when we look to see how we can help each other, even in small ways.
So, I thought I would offer up a few thoughts about the clarity emerging from this shift in perspective. I hope these thoughts do not come across as criticism of their opposites, or of anything that might be important and helpful in someone else’s situation – they are not meant to be.
1) I am not a project to be worked on. There’s more happiness to be found from engaging others and the world. I am the vehicle, the eye, the mind, moving, seeing, thinking, taking in and hopefully bringing forth something that the world needs. The I that would fix me is just as broken as the me I would fix. Healing is needed of course and does indeed happen and there’s nothing wrong with seeking a path towards that goal.
2) The world needs each and every one of us. Together we make up a whole, and there is no world outside of that whole. We are in the world and the world is in us. We are the world – all of it. We all belong, but it’s good to be aware that not everyone feels this way and it might be your turn to remind someone else that they are needed, even or especially when they can’t see why.
3) We have nothing. We don’t have anything because life is a motion picture. Things, feelings, others, ideas, beliefs are all in motion and organically changing; psyche reflects soma. We are the movie, the play, the song. It’s a drama, a tragedy and a comedy and sometimes it seems all at once.
4) We all make choices, ready or not. We all realize in varying degrees the choices we are making. Some of us need reminding of the power we actually have instead of the power we think we want. This was especially true for me back in the days of my youthful folly.
5) It is easier to misunderstand but more rewarding to take the time to understand. When I find myself immediately resisting an idea or an opinion, it can be tempting to place myself in opposition and increase the tension, but I have been trying to practice listening and imagining the world from the perspective of what it is that is being resisted. It’s not always easy to do, but when done, it helps me to understand how someone can form the ideas and opinions they have.
6) You can always change your mind. This is a wonderfully freeing gift that we are granted. Opinions change, feelings change, love is available if we practice looking for it and passing it on to others, even in the very small kindnesses that we do in our day-to-day.
7) Everyone and everything needs our love. Again, love happens in small ways and to the things that we touch and use as well as the people, the animals, the ground that we walk on. Love for the world can bring care for the world, and care for the world can bring beauty and peace.
At the very least I am trying to be less a part of the problem and more a part of the solution as my life unfolds. Where once upon a time I felt separate, apart and outside of the world we all share, I now see the world as an unfolding tapestry where each of us has a part of the continual weaving that makes up what C.G. Jung and others have called the Anima Mundi, or Soul of the World.
Here are the links to all of the contributor’s posts in this series: