Tested.

I am always a fan of finding the cosmic order of things. I like to look back at all my troubles, now mere memories, and say "Oh THAT'S why it happened that way…" Even if I'm wrong and it's all just chaos and chance, I feel more spiritually inclined to make sense of things. At the very least it keeps up morale and helps me persevere. That's certainly of value. I'm in one of the storms, though. We're thick into a lot of things. Deep relationships, deep choices. Thankfully, in spite of all of the depth we don't have a crazy amount of tangible stuff to lose. I mean, we have a lot of emotional investment, and the time we've spent. But in the end I have to wonder: What is the cost of clarification of your values? Or the price set on learning how not to be taken advantage of? Certainly ethical development should rank pretty highly in life's lessons, but I fear we undervalue and compromise it often. At least, that's what I'm seeing in a lot of interactions I'm having these days. I am at risk for corruption, too. I think that if I forget that, I may be more at risk.

Anyway, for now, I'm finding that I know what I want to work at in myself. I want to be honest. I want to communicate clearly. I want to be accountable. I want to work for an ideal but maintain realistic expectations. I want to be free enough in my work to engage in creative opportunities and also to spend as much time with my family as they need. I'd like to support others in the pursuit of similar free livelihoods. I want to be healthy. I don't want to speak badly of anyone. I want to support my community. I want to not take things personally. I want to clearly draw lines to separate myself from dysfunction, and have it be as simple as that. I want to grow. I want to continually work to clarify my values so that I can check myself and maintain my integrity. Ugh. And knowing I want all that is exhausting sometimes, so I need to allow myself room to screw it all up and be flawed. "Mess up big"- that's what my guitar teacher used to tell me. He thought screwing up was the best way to learn.

In the end, I love who I am and who I've become. I think I'm a good person who is trying to be better. No matter how much I screw up and what kind of mess I find myself in, I have to remember that my value is not tied up in a result. I am made up of much more complex stuff. Maybe sharing this makes it a little more real for me, a better reminder of what I do believe in my lower moments. Maybe it will help someone who reads this to believe the same about themselves.

—-

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.
But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart's knowledge.
You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.
You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.
And it is well you should.
The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;
And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.
But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;
And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.
For self is a sea boundless and measureless.
Say not, "I have found the truth," but rather, "I have found a truth."
Say not, "I have found the path of the soul." Say rather, "I have met the soul walking upon my path."
For the soul walks upon all paths.
The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.
The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals. (Kahlil Gibran)

Gracie
Gracie

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