Tuesday, March 15, 2011

second chances

Are there others of you who practice this ridiculous and addictive habit of self-sabotage? I seem to have almost a fear of succeeding: when I put my finger on it, pin it down, it is because each choice made is an un-choosing of countless other things. Floating around in my subconscious is the idea that if I am admitted to Naropa, if I go to Colorado and become a wilderness therapist, I will not be a midwife, or a rock star, or a nomadic poet, or a neurosurgeon. It seems, also, to be irrelevant whether or not these are even things I want for myself. I simply cannot stand to watch the choices go away. There is a reluctance to ACT in my own life, to CHOOSE, that I do not understand. Recently someone observed that I've lived my life like a multiple-choice assignment, not carving out my own direction or answers, taking only what is handed to me and not asking for what it is that I truly want.

But what DO i want? Oh, isn't this the question! What do any of us want? The story of the Green Knight would have us believe that what we want is to have our own way. But to have our own way is the most dangerous thing of all. As per the Dalai Lama:

"Remember that sometimes not getting what you want is a wonderful stroke of luck."

And George Eliot chimes in:

"And certainly, the mistakes that we male and female mortals make when we have our own way might fairly raise some wonder that we are so fond of it."

I have been so hesitant to follow my intuition. The last time I went with my gut, I dropped job and love and security to swan off to California. We all know how that ended: stuck in Los Angeles for 7 years in an oppressive, loveless marriage. At least, that's the way I've been spinning the story. But what if I looked at it this way: I followed my intuition and left the world of D.C. and empty politics, became a landscape designer and solar installer and art teacher, made some of the dearest friends of my life, learned kung fu, had two beautiful and miraculous children, and discovered that so far, there is no hardship I cannot survive. What if that were my story? Would it help me continue forward instead of always holding this wish for revision?

I see it as both a weakness and a great strength of mine, the ability to meet someone where they are, to give infinite chances to those who have hurt me, or lost their way, or made mistakes. I hope the world will extend me the same allowance----and, usually, it does. But I rarely extend the same allowance to myself. It would be interesting, I think, as an experiment, to try being harder on others and easier on myself for a while. Or maybe nix the harder on others part. Maybe just be easier on myself.

I am back in Boulder for a second attempt, the first having gone sour in every conceivable way. I left my work, my children, my taxes and housecleaning and responsibilities in California. Here, I wake and recite my dreams, sip cappuccino whilst murmuring poems back and forth with my beloved, graze on chocolate and salmon, follow my whims and appetites. The mountains are to the west, snowy and sleeping. It is easy to befriend others. When I return, I cannot help but feel that everything will have changed.


rising here, i am
unafraid, expanding. aware of the
inevitable contraction.

(there is a tide)

there was an answer in the sheets
a story being told somewhere to which i knew the ending

(in the affairs of men)

there was laughter for a morning, snow melt, singing
letting life in, still, despite the warning,

(which taken at the flood)

there will be a reckoning, and yet
everything has already begun.

(leads on to fortune)

it is past time.
it is time.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat.And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” -William Shakespeare

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