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

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer Solstice: Expectation and the Rising Sun

Every year in the shadow of the longest night of the year, I ask myself a question or put forth an idea, desire or a wish and I write it down on a piece of paper.  Last winter Solstice I was sitting in the home of my son folding origami to be used as suitable nests for these little missives.  I passed the papers out prompting my son and his wife to join me in writing something down.  I explained that the idea is that on summer Solstice in the bright height of the Sun's languid, solar glory, we re-read what we wrote on this day.  Over the many years that I've been doing this, I still cannot remember exactly what I wrote over this six month span when it comes time to read it. When I opened mine up today, I laughed out loud!

I had two wishes for myself listed.  One was to be financially stabilized and the second was to have a strong sense of value in myself.  Well one out of two isn't bad!  Thanks to many associations I have made by moving outside my comfort zone in the last six months, I have received a great deal of affirmation from people and it has done wonders for my flagging self esteem.  As for the dough, things are worse than anything I could have imagined last December!  Having said that, there has also been revealed a net under my precarious perch on the edge of financial doom, should the ground give way.  I don't want to fall. Falling and stabilizing are contrary to each other in my mind and certainly not what I had in mind when I wrote what I did last December.  I don't want to fail either and what if there is no stabilizing without leaping? Stay tuned...we have another six months.

And what did I expect?

My word of the year expectation (winter Solstice here and spring Equinox here) has really proven to be a challenge.  My personal favorite opposite of expectation is surprise and since the brunt of the surprises in my life have not been welcome ones, I have always defaulted to the preference of being the girl jumping out of the celebratory cake as opposed to the honorary shocked recipient of an exploding confection.  Suspending expectations has allowed for the unexpected to make itself known in it's own natural way.  No exploding cigars, happily.

Easily one of the most difficult aspects of working with this word over the last six months is the problem of dealing with other people's expectations of me; likewise, the energy I put into maintaining those expectations.  Being a socialized human is simply a nasty bit of business.  I mean trying to understand these nuances of relationship is truly a nonstop bullet train to insanity in so many ways.  Because I was born a female in the 50s, I was raised and built all my sense of place in the world around what I thought was expected of me.  To go back and pick out the buggery bits of my investments in shoring expectations, including the things that no longer make any sense at all since their expiry date is long past due, left me undone.  Fortunately, in the last few months, I came across an alternative set of tools for rebuilding using my accumulated positive experiences, personal courage and successes.  I was saved from an inclination to do violent acts against my family, well-intended employers and democracy...all of which expected - and continue to expect - my game face...well placed, preferably wrinkle free and, by God, smiling.

In actual practice removing expectation is a monumental task but what I have discovered over the past six months in working with this is that what is under every expectation is some form of faith, hope and trust.  When those issues are laid bare to writhe under the light of day, it is easy to see why we prefer dealing with the cloak of expectation with its titillating smoking mirrors of half truths, posturing  and rubbery cynicism.  Under the expectation is the uncertainty of life; the tender bits few want to acknowledge or recall; the first slaps of reality, disappointments and mortality.  We must move on, grow up, secure ourselves in the middle of something and the quicker the better; move from where the thousand and one unhealed wounds fester; move on to an expectation of a brighter tomorrow where there is enough distraction and distance that the losses can be safely ignored.   It is in the cultivation of these values instead of the constant upkeep of the unrealistic expectations where I put my energy now.  It was only a matter of time before I popped out of the cake at the wrong party;  an unwelcome parody of myself and I know it.

This Solstice,  I am here:  I carry on completely broke, unadorned, cultivating faith, hope and the kindness of strangers.  There are no clever shortcuts, few comforts and no turning back.

I'm celebrating summer Solstice this year being thankful for my long life and the abundance of my experience.  The people who have helped me in the last few months have humbled me with their eagerness to share their knowledge and encouragement. Ultimately  I'm thankful for those who have quietly supported me through their courage to be themselves and through being as close to me as I allow...I know you are treasured, gilded memories.  I'm thankful for musical legacies like the one  that George left for the quiet guidance they afford.  These soaring moments play such a big part in my being able to live fully beyond my wildest expectations.

So to all: Happy Solstice...Celebrate the Rising Sun!

"...And in the room of mirrors you can see for miles
but everything that's there is in disguise
every word you've uttered and every thought you've had
is all inside your file, the good and the bad.

But in the rising sun you can feel your life begin
universe at play inside your DNA
you're a billion years old today

oh the rising sun and the place it's coming from
is inside of you and now your payment's overdue
oh the rising sun, oh the rising sun..."  

George Harrison

Thank you to lovesheart for the video.


marciamayo said...

It was only a matter of time before I popped out of the cake at the wrong party - oh Cile, you are so deep, so true, and such a joy.

cile said...

You spoil me, Marcia. Honestly! Happy Solstice!