It has been three weeks since I moved into a new house. It might be the eleventeen hundredth time I’ve moved or something close to that. By now I should be really, really good at it. But every time, it’s some fresh kind of frenetic. All new systems have to be implemented, things break, get lost, I reel.
I still don’t know where all of my things are. My desk is covered in other peoples’ laptops, and it has occurred to me that I’m going to have to start writing names on the Hanes Boxer Briefs with Sharpie marker to tell them apart.
All to say, I just voluntarily became a party of five.
Which seems to be in direct opposition to the fact that freedom is my jam.
Except when I’m inevitably being all human and, ahem, alone doesn’t necessarily define freedom. We need each other, apparently, even if it’s just to have someone to lock eyes with across a room (or internet) to say, “I get you.”
Call me an idealist, but I’m forever trying to engage this obstinate liberation that arises naturally out of stability. It feels like the last bastion of my psyche to unravel. Honestly, I don’t always want to do it. It’s a lot for an already over-stimulated mind.
It might not even be real.
But what are the options? Stop or keep stepping. So I’m choosing the latter. And figuring out the subtleties of relationships as I go. Personally and professionally.
Our world is simultaneous isolation and hyper-connectivity. We are lonely and surrounded. We feel pressured to engage when we want to hide. It’s hard tell where the balance is. The optimal percentage of time to spend with friends, work, kids, and the intimacy is a moving target. Especially when we are the kind of people who desperately need the alone hours.I don’t want to lose anything. Sometimes I want to shed everything.
I want a ground to spring from.While still having access to the rollercoaster-stomach-in-my-throat thrill of falling.
I want to make you laugh when you’re grieving.
And, slip dark and splenetic humor into your joy.
For good measure.
Authenticity is also a moving target. So is satisfaction. So is security.
Robin Williams dies and my heart breaks along with everyone else that grew up with Mork and Garp and Aladdin. Those sad eyes drew us in past the hilarity every time. We knew it was tender and it’s why we laughed so hard and kept coming back for more. The Wars are happening at every angle over colors and money and alliances of identity. The words are skewed and skewered.
A friend of mine said, “Our nervous systems aren’t evolved enough to handle the speed at which we receive sad news.”
And it seems like it’s not only the speed, but the relentless intensity with which that sadness stays in our direct stream of attention. All the opinions, conflicting and pronounced, leaves no time to configure our own thoughts and feelings, or soothe our own triggers quietly. Grief has become loud; it has an agenda in this space that crowds the internal sanctuary needed for digestion.
We ache for the creation of real connections. The nourishment of the real in our families and in our lives.
A kind of nowness and thisness is all we have. As my friend Elizabeth King puts it in this brilliant post, “The green bean moment at large”.
Ultimately, less meaningless words, less dancing frogs, and instead, more acuity, more kindness, more structured support.We have to find ways to cultivate solace within the uncertainty, rather than waiting for certainty to find peace.
That’s the true definition of faith.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have all or any of the solutions all of the time. You just have to weather things and stay put in curiosity long enough to formulate strategies.
More people, like you, who are capable of relentless exploration and questions, who are strong and flexible enough for that work will find the solutions when those solutions are ready to be tamed.
You just have to be steady to get there.
It isn’t easy.
And, kind of, it is.
Taking care of your body and mind is the most basic first line of defense in building a strong, leak-free container to handle it all. Frames are made of good bones and the exact combination of permeability and protection. Sound containers house families and communities, where the collective experience is one of non-judgmental conviction and comprehension of the most basic precepts of humanness.
You know. Fallibility.
We are profoundly privileged, you guys. We have the options to eat the good food, drink the good drinks, fold the laundry, and hard belly-laugh with the good friends. We get to breathe the air and drink the water and move around, not only in spite of the grief, but sometimes, because of it.
And when the constant efforts to amputate all the things about ourselves that are unworthy and unlovable becomes wearisome, we get to stop it. We get to ask for help and find the kind of love that doesn’t mind so much.
We keep structuring and restructuring our lives, and even our families to look like whatever they need to look like. We have to when the traditional brand of family wasn’t always provided so clearly.
Finding your own set points really is an experiment. Perhaps the most worthwhile one of them all.
Wherever you are in the transition, the great life shifting, how your lives and relationships change and flux, I just want you to know that you aren’t alone. I see you and your grace under pressure, your efforts to live and to serve, and it’s making all the difference. I mean it.
PPS. I have 4 spots open for private clients right now. If you’ve been thinking that the environment for your satisfaction and success (your body, your life) needs attention, perhaps we should be working together. Send me an email me and we can talk about it.
Sweet, sweet living crab shell art by artist Aki Inomata