Reinvention

Sometimes you have to get lost before you could find your way. If you reframe your thinking and stop believing that being lost is bad, then you’d stop the self-judgments. You’d stop worrying. You’d cease wanting. Then you could enjoy what is. You don’t have to reinvent yourself. Rather, you’d stop being something you’re not. You’d stop trying to be perfect and realize:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

– Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Space

(Photo by Fabian Møller on Unsplash)

The gap between inhale and exhale is the space of perfection. It is the space that separates receiving and releasing, where you go from acknowledgement to resolve, from knowing to doing. Inhale, exhale: in between is the seed of thought and the impulse of action. That space is divine. Even though that subtle gap is normally measured in milliseconds, time does not factor in that space. It is timeless. It is perfect and perfectly brimming with contentment, acceptance, compassion, and forgiveness. This rarely thought of thing—this gap that binds the cycles of inhalation and exhalation—is where the essence of being is unfettered, void of judgment and attachment. What if this gap is not an afterthought? What if we cultivate that space? It is available to us in every breath we take, tens of thousands of time a day.

The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

— Oriah Mountain Dreamer

At the Window

I was at the window
when a fly near the latch
was on its back spinning—
legs furious, going nowhere.

I thought to swat it
but something in its struggle
was too much my own.

It kept spinning and began to tire.
Without moving closer, I exhaled
steadily, my breath a sudden wind
and the fly found its legs,
rubbed its face
and flew away.

I continued to stare at the latch
hoping that someday, the breath
of something incomprehensible
would right me and
enable me to fly.

Mark NepoThe Way Under The Way

Words

I am reminded to not be too attached to words and their meanings. People use the same words to describe different things and different words to express the same things. Words have fluidity. 

Selling Confusion

This is a great post by Seth Godin about the campaign of confusion that has caused social upheaval across the world. He addresses three subjects: evolution, vaccines, and climate change.

“Over the last few decades, there’s been a consistent campaign to sow confusion around evolution, vaccines and climate change.

In all three areas, we all have access to far more data, far more certainty and endless amounts of proof that the original theories have held up. The data is more accurate than it’s ever been. Evolution is the best way to explain and predict the origin and change of species. Vaccines are not the cause of autism and save millions of kids’ (and parents’) lives. And the world is, in fact, getting dangerously warmer.

And yet…

Poll after poll in many parts of the world show that people are equivocating or outright denying all three. Unlike the increasingly asymptotic consistency in scientific explanations, the deniers have an endless list of reasons for their confusion, many of which contradict each other. Confusion doesn’t need to be right to be confusing.

Worth noting that this response doesn’t happen around things that are far more complicated or scientifically controversial (like gravity and dark matter). It’s the combination of visceral impact and tribal cohesion that drives the desire to deny.”

That last point is salient. While dubious of certain science, deniers readily accept other things, like cellular phones, solar eclipses, nautical navigation, airplanes, radar, sonar, etc. All these things are results of the methods and tools of science–just like evolution, vaccines, and climate change.

Further:

“Cigarette companies were among the original denialists (they claimed that cigarettes were unrelated to lung cancer, but that didn’t work out very well for them), and much of their confusion playbook is being used on these new topics.”

The confusion playbook now has a powerful weapon: social media. So effective is the reach of social media that adversarial nations (Russia) are using it to effect disruptions in our social, political, and perhaps even economical systems.

Godin asks the one question that I don’t think gets asked enough:

“To what end? Confusion might help some industries or causes in the short run, but where does it lead? Working to turn facts into political issues doesn’t make them any less true.

If this growing cohort ‘wins’, what do they get? In a post-science world, where physics and testable facts are always open to the layman’s opinion in the moment, how are things better? How does one develop a new antibiotic without an understanding of speciation and disease resistance?”