Not One More Time

This isn’t a year, it seems to me, to perpetuate old ways of being. It isn’t a year to continue acting according to standards we know are obsolete.

At the same time, it isn’t a year in which we may intimately know what to expect. In fact we may know very little of what’s ahead. We may not know what standards to live up to or what new paradigms will look like.

It’s a year of unknowns combined with challenges combined with potentialities, none of which come with a trainer or a manual. We’re told it’s time to create and manifest in ways we never thought possible. But how to think about the unknown?

Much around us falls apart. Much around us pushes to the surface. Many voices compete for our ear, some warning, some importuning.

This state of affairs was mirrored for me when I read a second message from a channel who continues to depart further and further from the rest. And I knew that, as I felt the chagrin and indignation rise inside of me, I had to find another way of dealing with it, that one more time of acting like a self-righteous fool just wasn’t going to do it for me.

As I began to observe myself, I watched the little bumps in the road appear, where I could have veered off into judgment, blame and indignation. I came up to each small bump and simply observed it.

One after another, I observed myself passing over the bumps without getting aroused. Here I persisted in calmness and balance as I passed over a knock that ordinarily would have sent me into anger. There I persisted past a jolt which would have sent me into attack. Here, irritation. There, rebellion.

I listened to my mind go crazy, accusing me of avoiding issues. I heard it accuse me of losing my willingness to step into the breech. I watched myself agonize at seeing imaginary deadlines pass and still I insisted on remaining still – balanced and calm.

Finally the storm passed. I had emerged from the incident. There were still small bombs going off as I reviewed events, but I had made it through unscathed.

I looked back on all the years I had joined the fray, how I had felt that my reaction was important and contributed somehow to events. But now I saw that my primary mistake was not in failing to act, but in losing my balance and calmness by acting precipitously, mindlessly, indiscriminately.

As I watched, I realized that all the time I thought I was leading, I was following. Following a norm that I never set myself. Following a way of being imported from TV and film. Following an idea of how I should be. Always following while pretending that I led.

I felt a new suppleness, new freedom, new release. One vital aspect of a new paradigm became apparent to me at that moment: choice. Not reacting, not acting as I thought I should, but weathering the emotional storm of reactivity and emerging on the other side with choice intact … and then choosing.

The real chains I need to rid myself of are the chains that I myself have forged, clasped upon me and agreed to wear. To be free of them, all I had to do was to refuse to put them on myself.

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