The Possibility of Change

When I was a pre-teen, my dad had a very cool girlfriend for a brief time. I don’t remember her name at all (Dineen maybe?) because she was too smart and too cool to be with my father for long (don’t get me wrong, I love him but being able to handle a relationship with strong and smart women was not a strong point for my father). The reason I remember this woman though is because she gifted me with a lovely hardcover edition of the first three “So You Want to Be a Wizard?” books by Diane Duane, now called the Young Wizards series. I adored these books, even though they were dated even in the early 1990’s when I was reading it.

Spoiler alert ahead: for me, the most striking moment in the first book is when the lead character gives the villain a chance to return to the light. She doesn’t destroy him because she can’t, she doesn’t force him to change, but she opens up the opportunity for him to change himself if he wants to. And this really is all we can do for one another in this world, isn’t it? And what we can do for ourselves.

Unfortunately, there is an increasing tendency in our society to shut each other down, and, perhaps more detrimental, to shut ourselves down, to the possibility of change and growth. Every time we speak in terms of absolutes, every time we say “it is NEVER okay” or “we must ALWAYS” or “that’s just the way it is and there is no changing it ever” means we are diminishing ourselves and others. Because the truth is, the list of things it is never okay to do or say is very short and can be boiled down to “don’t deliberately hurt other people unless they are threatening you with violence and tyranny”. This would cover torture, rape, mental and physical abuse, murder, child abuse (which I think is the worst crime of all), the massive slaughter of one nation against another, and indeed any general sort of nastiness where one person or group is using their power over another for whatever reason to deliberately prevent them from living life to their potential. But I digress. Bottom line is when we talk in terms of absolutes, even if only for dramatic effect, it cuts off the possibility of change for ourselves and for others. It traps us in a kind of stasis of the here and now, a bubble that is difficult to pop because even though it is just a bubble, it takes on the illusion of an impossibly strong substance the more we believe in the absolutism that we are speaking and feeling. Also, speaking and thinking in terms of absolutes opens ourselves to being controlled by those who play on those absolutes and our fears of moving beyond them.

So I invite you all in the coming months to really think about how you’re phrasing things to yourself and to others. Is an absolute you are speaking really an absolute? Or is it just a way for you to not have to address something that you’d rather not be dealing with and avoid potentially changing your viewpoint? And if you are comfortable with your absolutes, which is your full right to be in, then at least be considerate about not pushing those off on other people and trying to keep them in the slots you’ve decided they should be in. Inner development, growth, and change is what leads to outer development, growth, and change. The possibility of change is what creates hope for a better future for our species, so keep that in mind in your communication with others. The way life opens up when you keep this in mind is truly wonderful.

Let Yourself “Be”

I’m tired… the kind of tired that comes from working hard physically and mentally, that comes from carving out time to hike and play outside, that leaves you collapsing into bed at night and sleeping so soundly that nothing can disturb that rest. I’m tired, and I’m happy in the exhaustion. I’ve got so much going on at work and in life right now that my head is spinning, but I’m enjoying the dizziness for the moment.

But I almost self-sabotaged. Not six hours after finding out the details of my new position (as well as my new official salary and benefits), I had this horrible fear suddenly grip me. That I wasn’t going to thrive, that instead it would become an abusive situation of giving more than I felt capable of giving, of having too many expectations thrust on me, of not being able to maintain any semblance of a work-life balance. This was going on while I simultaneously was experiencing deep inner spiritual/creative growing pains that shook me to my core and had growing pressure put on me regarding certain “big decisions” that have to be made. And I started feeling trapped by it all, like a big cage was descending over me that would bind me and hold me against my will.

It was a difficult week adjusting to everything. I asked myself “why can’t I just let myself be happy?” I had to dive deep and experience the fear and the pain, and then I let it go. And I found that I could let myself be happy. I can find joy in my life, in my work, in the path I tread. But I wouldn’t have been able to maybe if I hadn’t had everything rising up at once.

Life is of course not perfect. I do miss my son horribly working these long hours, but the way he greets me as I walk through the door every day and the way he holds me so tight as we cuddle is worth everything to me. And there is still some things that need working out in the realm of inner growth, a lacking that could fill me with despair if I dwelled on it. But I’m so busy right now that I can’t worry at it, which is a blessing at this point I think. I was ever one to worry ahead of time, and this is not something that will be rushed. So for now it is just a single black drop in my crystal-clear waters that I am mindful of, and, if anything, it only helps me see how fortunate I am in every other area. Which maybe is the point for the frustration right now.

Anyway, life is good. I’m the happiest I’ve been in a long time because I am allowing myself to “be”. I’m experiencing each emotion as it arises and then releasing it, and I’m finding joy in both the small and large moments in my life. After feeling a week of being trapped, I feel freer than I have in a long, long time.

The Music – a poem

My head thrums with melody
Water trickling down
A mountain of memory
Each crystalline note
Glistening in the mind’s eye

My head pounds with drumbeats
Blood flowing across
A mountain of time
Humanity is weak
But individuals can be strong

My head soars with music
Life traveling upwards
To life beyond itself
The mountains we make
Are soon forgotten

Copyright 2010, Kat Micari

It’s been a while, so I’m sharing this older poem that has been resonating with me of late.