Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Revelation isn't a horse race

When I first started out with this word of the year I dreaded it because it intimated to me - a person with a seemingly incurable and extraordinarily low sense of self esteem - that I was in for a series of lessons criticizing my whole life and leaving me bereft of anything I valued that I could recognize as my own. I imagined a vengeful god quite spontaneously even though I don't really go in for that kind of thing.

It seems part of this revelation was understanding also what I have done in the past that, in my perception, lacked courage or drive that was actually spot on the perfect reaction to the situation.

Years ago - sometime in the seventies when I was completely bereft of common sense and taking root in insane, I became seriously emotionally burned by an incident concerning betrayal. As a result, it occurred to me that I should not pursue things unless they registered "three hands high". In terms of measurement, this translates to about a foot in the horse trade. I was seeing a lot of things that were not real - that I sensed strongly were not real anyway - and no doubt I was experiencing (in hindsight) an extreme meltdown and spiritual awakening...(yes, well...Had a breakdown? ...Get in line.) anyway this rule actually served to temper my actions in a rather helpful way.

A decade later I read something somewhere that advised that one needed to understand when life invites participation and when it simply is a matter of watch and learn or experience.... probably picked this up in some Shamanistic, Buddhist or Metaphysical read. I have raked myself over the coals over the years over this caution that I've cultivated in myself. Granted I have misused it from time to time but the fact remains, more often than not, I find it wise to stay in my own space until I am invited and I can choose. Certainly it is my way of being in the world. I've broken the rule upon occasion and almost always a twist in fate becomes stressed, if I trace it back, due to an uninvited action on my behalf. How different things would be if I hadn't developed this way of being for myself! How probably dead given the hazards I faced early on.

Now another decade has passed and I'm looking at how the internet has altered my game - that is - how I present myself in the world. My single foot of personal space shot upward and opened to the edges of the universe. Of course, nothing changes with the internet, it just comes at you at a different angle and wears disguises. The web is dope...but it is the same. I have had a hell of a time integrating the world wide web into my tempered world of introversion. I developed different guidelines and I was fortunate to be received as generously as I was. I found things that I lost: music, wonder, words, conversation...and an abundance of laughter. I ended up loosening up and doing things like this...blogging and chatting up people I don't know on social sites. None of this reconciles on main it does not. On the town it is still the same game for me.

My conflict with myself and my caution had always centered around a social debate in my mind. It involves a dialogue regarding my responsibility as an American woman. Unfettered ambition, rampant entrepreneurial activities, money and popularity - all those American values - never were my cup of tea. I haven't had the courage to say it before, but I have long thought these established American values leave women less empowered as women and more empowered as women imitating men. It has been my experience that women are far and away better equipped for a satisfying, living and breathing daily prosperity than most men and women are even aware exists. I spend a lot of time alone with that theory, as you might well imagine. Both genders give me plenty of room perhaps sensing my whacked orbit on this subject. I arrive and exit leaving them to adjusting their gaydar dials as necessary. What is being revealed - that is, my revelation is - that there is only one way for ME to get where I'm going and I have been choosing all along how I get here. May I just say - though it feels awkward to say it - some of my choices have bordered on brilliant when the dust settled.... some.... and everything that has been my choice is mine to keep. Revelation.

Honorable mention to Seabiscuit, above.

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