Saturday, December 17, 2011
Hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life
even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.
~ Pueblo Blessing ~
For many years I thought something was wrong with me. A question nagged, gnawing at my insides. Looking outward, toward others for an example as to how to belong in this world, I found myself falling short in many ways, yet two things in particular had me struggling to the point that I not only began to seriously doubt my self and my capacity to navigate through this life, but I also felt my very worth as a contributor to this world was on the line. One was pace, the other focus, which for many years I didn't know actually go hand in hand. The world seemed to move at a much faster pace than I could ever manage, and everyone, but me, appeared to have the ability to multitask, when I could only focus on one thing at a time. Hell, for a long time I didn't even understand what multitasking was. Entering the workforce in our society had the effect of shattering my confidence further. Compared to others, I was not just one step behind, but so many steps that managers eventually had to let me go, or more often than not, I finally got so disgusted with myself I just quit to keep what sanity I still had. Either way, we had an agreement. I may as well have worn a sign that said, "Not fast enough, can't multitask."
I began to think perhaps I was born mentally challenged in some way, and no one wanted to tell me. I do know for years I felt mentally and emotionally disabled. Not only did I find myself lagging with the inability to do several things at once in the workforce, but found these characteristics were expected in personal relationships as well. From the simple act of communicating, to keeping up with chores, to having sex -- all were expected to be performed all at once at a pace I apparently didn't understand. Folks in the business world are a little more polite than we find in our interpersonal relationships. I've lost count of how often words were used against my person to convey what a failure and disappointment I was, most of it pointing directly at my inability to keep up, or my lack of being able to perform several tasks at once, and perform them perfectly I might add.
In hindsight, I can now see clearly that my attempt to keep up was one of the main culprits that lead to my fall into despair 20 years ago. I remember hearing a voice from deep within me, silently screaming to stop. Stop. STOP. I didn't understand, so ignored it, pushed it down, trying to snuff that voice out. I couldn't stop. I had to keep running, had to keep trying, even though I was feeling beaten and battered by staying on that wheel. I didn't even recognize it as a wheel. Now I look back and want to give myself a big hug, and tell myself, "You're okay. Shhhh...be still. You don't have to strive and struggle." Yet, by definition, at the time, I thought love and keeping up went hand in hand. I either kept up, or I was ostracized, shunned from family and society alike. The very last thing I wanted was to be a failure or disappointment to my family, friends, and society.
I look back and find my fall into despair as an event that changed forever how I'd approach life. While others may have looked at it as proof of my being a failure, I look at it as the very thing needed to help free me of this world's frantic pace to keep up with the nefarious Joneses. For it had me reaching, and reaching hard, to find another way to live. I could no longer hear myself, nor did I even recognize myself in the mirror anymore.
I spent years on a porch, with what felt like the Hand of God on me. For as much as the part of myself that was of the world longed to get back on the wheel of it, I came to know there was a much larger part of me that belonged to Spirit. And Spirit wasn't letting me go anywhere until I learned what Spirit desired to teach me. It took me years to learn what I would at the foot of my Father. And while others couldn't, and didn't understand what was happening to me, and judged and measured me by the world's standards, I learned to drop comparisons all together, finally understanding that comparing myself to anyone else was extremely self destructive, and one of the most unloving things I, or anyone else, could practice.
Within those years I found myself, unknowingly, caught up in Another's pace...a more loving one, even though it seemed to cause conflict in the world around me. I could not name it at the time, wasn't made to be consciously aware of why it was I experienced myself in a flow where time wasn't even considered. I only knew I felt more relaxed inside myself, and the more I relaxed, the better I felt.
When the time came for me to rejoin the world, armed with all that I had learned and had been given, I discovered the world had picked up it's pace even more, and had become what has been termed as a fast food world. To me, in my humble opinion, it is more like a bunch of little children demanding what they want now. If I thought it a challenge before, to get along with the world's pace, it was even more so once I re-entered it, the only difference being this time I no longer measured myself against it. I didn't have to, with so many others doing that for me in unbelievably cruel ways, which eventually led to the breaking of my heart.
If not for a new friend who came into my life, to help me be able to name the conflict I was experiencing, I'm not sure my heart would have mended. He helped me see that it was simply a difference in pace. There wasn't anything wrong with me, personally, or necessarily anything wrong with anyone else. My not listening to my own pace, and honoring it, or even recognizing I had a choice in the matter, was working against myself. I finally understood, ( and I still say that with a huge breath of relief ), that my pace was okay, no matter how much it didn't line up with the rest of the world, and it did not mean, no matter how many folks said differently, that I was dumb, or that I fail, or that I'm slow, ( said in a tone of derision ), or that my worth, my value, and what I have to contribute to the world in general, was useless and pointless if it didn't coincide with folks who wanted what they wanted right this very minute.
I find myself lucky. I feel blessed to have a pace that allows me to see things folks generally let pass by unnoticed. I like going slow, breathing in and savoring each moment, no matter what I might be feeling in it. I like pointing out a sunrise, or a beautiful night sky, and watching the face of a person light up in wonder and surprise as they pause, just for a brief moment in their busy lives. I like the silences between conversation with another, when just the presence of one another is enough. I feel I miss too much when I go fast. My pace is my focus. Dividing my focus does me no good, and doesn't make me a good listener. I like listening. I like giving something my full attention, no matter what that might be in the moment. There is so much to taste, see, experience in this beautiful world, not the least being in the company of loved ones.
And I don't want to miss one moment.
It is my life after all, and I'll play it, make love to it, in whatever way I like, at the pace I find is right for me. It is for no one else to decide, or judge, but me. If the price to pay is in losing the world, then I'd much rather have what I've found in it's stead. This world is just a temporary residence. My spirit knows a place outside of time and space, and it will continue to sing long after the music of me here has played it's very last note, with it's echo rising into the heavens.