Sometimes the hardest thing is to be still. To wait for right action to arise. I’m not talking sitting on your butt waiting for life to come and find you. No. It’s more an alert kind of stillness even while in the thick of things.
There is a story of dancer Isadora Duncan, considered by many to be the mother of modern dance (retold by Eugene Gendlin in “A Process Model”). Sometimes Isadora Duncan would wait, very still, holding a position for long periods, maybe even hours, moving only when seemingly moved to do so, and maybe then only ever so slightly.
It’s as if she was waiting for the next move to arise, rather than forcing or bullying it by will or pulling it out ahead of its time.
Duncan was onto something great, if subtle. Simple, but not easy. At least not for someone who often feels like a puppy chasing her tail, or a squirrel hiding nuts. (Who me?!)
I notice that when I push and pull myself it is often from a place of urgency, propelled by a panicky sense. Usually I’m trying somehow to ensure my safety, my OKness. Nothing wrong with wanting to make ourselves safe and OK, but when my action comes from panic, there is nothing that feels OK about the result.
Something about forcing things feels like Cinderalla’s stepsisters (in Grimm’s fairytale version), where they are so convinced that they want the prince that they cut off their toes so their feet will fit into the dainty slipper. Alas, the prince sees through their scheme! (Oh my prince, is it the blood? What is it? I can clean that up!)
Way way way back, there was a time when “OK” was not a thought that crossed my mind.
Funny how before thought there just is what there is. After thought, there still is what there is, plus thought. Another layer’s been added.
Before the thought “I need to be OK,” there was OK. I was very very young, when concepts like “secure” or “safe” or “forever” would have been met with the likes of, “hunh?!” To the question of what I’d become when I grew up, that girl would have said something like:
“I don’t know about becoming but I sure do like stories and thinking up stuff and watching the way the rain trickles down the window here and noticing how things happen the way they do and being up in the tree picking cherries and chasing grasshoppers in the field and cracking open those hazelnuts from our bushes out back… and what about you?”
I notice the quality of my movement: Does it come from fear? Does it come with urgency? The trick is to become still again and wait. It doesn’t literally mean sitting still, though maybe. (Running round the track is one of my stillest times).
Byron Katie says: “Don’t pretend yourself past your evolution.” In other words, don’t pretend myself past where I’m at. I know the feeling of doing that. Of faking it. Of pretending. (Being what Havi Brooks endearingly would call “being an enlightened asshat” — you know, sounding like my shit’s together when, um, it’s not.
Giving advice usually comes from that enlightened asshat place. And that sort of pretend always backfires. Often it’s with the intention of putting a lid on what’s really there, not wanting to be seen as I really am.
There is another kind of pretend I sometimes do that is a bit different. It’s not from fear. It’s from fun. It’s kind of like a 3-year-old playing dress-up, walking around in her mommas heels… tripping around in shoes she may grow into… It’s experimenting, imagining. There’s no hiding that you’re 3 and in heels way-too-big, but there you are!
Sometimes, these days, it’s like that. My too-big shoes are writing. By golly, I’m swimming in these shoes but I sure do love the feel of them. And my feet are growing. And oh my! My letters are crooked and sometimes all over the page, but golly-gee-whillackers I’m writing…
I look around and see lots of space and empty. Some tears. A run. Some laughs. More laughter than ever before. A not taking myself so seriously. Some writing. Ideas. More writing. Some twittering. A bit more writing. Other tears. Some sitting on my hands so as not to start back in on the grabbing at what’s no longer or what’s not yet.
Here I am. On the big stuff, it sometimes feels like I got dealt a major learning disability, along with a slip of paper: “Learn to live your best life with what you’ve got.” Oh my, sloooow learning. But we all get what we get (and anyway, que le vamos a hacer!).
Regardless, regardless: I notice that I am the one I fall asleep and wake up with in sickness and in health, so help me God. No matter who else may come along or go away, I’m the one that stays. And if I can’t be OK with me, who can, I ask, who can?!
All for now, my friend, goodnight—