Archives for category: Change

‘A desert is a place without expectation.’
~ Nadine Gordimer

I am a mountain girl.

Not only does this mean that I find the beautiful in majestic snow-covered peaks,  monumental boulders and expansive woodlands but it also means that I find the common, the banal, the (dare I admit it?) the mundane.

I know!  Presented with such grandiose splendor how could I ever take it for granted?  How could it just fade into the backdrop?

But being a mountain girl is exactly the problem.   With such blatant glory as the setting for all of my days, all of my routine, all of my own ordinary… they can sometimes become ordinary too.

So you can imagine why I never gave any thought to the desert.  Promoted as being barren and desolate with little to no life, little to no color…  How could that be beautiful in comparison to the brilliant and luxurious mountains that are at times not enough to capture my attention?

And so I was in my thirties before I was startled aware by the the exceptional loveliness of the desert.  The delicacy of the microscopic life there, the subtlety of the many shades of orange and gold that exist in the world, the unexplored depth of the sky… or earth… or self…

And I learned that without expectation, I was greeted with wonder and novelty and delight.

I have been thinking about expectation and the fact that it doesn’t seem to offer me any benefit.

Either I have high and hopeful expectations…  As have been my expectations that my partner will do what he said and at least consult the medical professionals to determine his current state of health.

And these expectations,of something out of my control, seem to be directly tied to disappointment and frustration.  Like those I am experiencing nearly two weeks after that promise and two more canceled appointments later…

Or I have extremely low, nearly dismal expectations…  As I have been having with my on-going state of unemployment.  Bemoaning being a highly-skilled specialist in a very narrow field and becoming increasingly discouraged by not even being able to find work in a ‘menial, meaningless’ position.

The end result of this sort of expectation is typically that something unexpected and rewarding causes me to deride myself for my fear and lack of faith in the universe.  But then I am ridiculing myself and have already spent countless hours awake in anxiety…

No.  Neither one of these situations seems to be an advantageous use of my time or energy or spirit.

And so, I have decided to rid myself of expectation.

I am going to focus instead on the things I can control.  Who I am.  How I perceive the world and recognize all of its mystery and wonder.  What I have to offer right here and now.  How to welcome each moment as a new discovery.  How to remain open and faithful to the certainty that there are microcosms and macrocosms spinning around me whose splendor I will know when I need to .

“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?'”   ~ George Bernard Shaw

Last night I dreamt that I was in the Southern United States after the Civil War, during Reconstruction.

I was in what must once have been a beautiful and affluent city.  From my vantage point, which allowed me a nearly aerial view, I could see wide streets lined with large buildings, Georgian and Neo-classical in design.  Elegant and enormous and entitled…

However, the presiding mood of the city held none of this.  Instead it had been replaced with chaos and rivalry and fear.  The large avenues, once symbolic of an ordered existence, were muddy and torn and often un-navigable.   Many of the once graceful and imposing buildings were falling into disrepair, some reduced to rubble, and some burning, crumbling, turning to ash right before my eyes.

I knew of the enmity that reigned there.  Former military leaders, Majors and Generals, men used to power and authority…  struggled to command control of the city’s restructuring, desiring to maintain their status in the face of defeat and disenfranchisement.

And this new civil-contention kept the residents, the already physically, mentally, emotionally displaced men and women, fearful and confused.

I was not alone in my observation.

I had a companion who watched over the scene with me.  A man who was clearly part of the story, yet who possessed neither the fear nor the compulsion present in the other characters.

He, I discovered, was a Mineral Engineer.

He knew of the resources that lay beneath the stone and wood and failing dreams…  He knew how to unearth them, name them and verify their worth.

He was the principal upon whom the various other factions were depending in order to guide their new conceptions, their new decisions, their new realizations of a new life.

He was calm and confident and clear.  And he was my friend.

***

I awoke feeling strangely satisfied and secure.

Sensations of smoldering edifices and crying children still evident and alarming…  But it was the certainty of my companion that left me feeling strong and certain as well.

According to Jungian analysis, dreams of fire represent psychological transformation and may indicate either destruction or purification.

Houses are meant to symbolize the emotional self… and I don’t know that the razing, crumbling, looting of my emotional self sounds like a comfortable undertaking.

But I do know that my cohort was unafraid.  He had knowledge of what lay beneath that I did not have and could not see.

He saw treasure and possibility there.  And he was excited for what would come.

So, that is my focus today.

To look below the seeming chaos and disaster of my current situation.  The dying of my love.  The collapse of my friendship.  The trepidation of the unknown.

To know that there are plentiful and untapped resources there, within me.  And that out of the destruction will rise something new and intentional and flourishing.

‘The key to change… is to let go of fear.’    ~ Roseann Cash

I am a Gemini.  Gemini with Libra rising.  A combination I once read to be ‘mildly schizophrenic’.  I thrive on change.

Until the birth of my child, I could put everything I owned into the back of my car.

I have lived in 3 countries,  4 states, 15 cities, 25 homes, an Inuit hostel and a VW bus.

I attended 6 Universities (the same area of study!), and have already held enough jobs to have had three careers.

The fashion I enjoy, the food I crave, the position that turns me on, all change with my mood, and if the light changes, well, then…

My partner is a Capricorn.  He does not do change.

When we first met, he labeled me indecisive.  This I have issue with.  I do not waver or falter in my decisions.  But life is always new and in motion and the circumstances may have changed such that the previous choice is no longer valid.

(Just because he would always ride a black scooter… well, a black scooter does not fit all occasions.  There are times and places where an orange or pink or violet or… well, order mine with polka-dots!)

I have since decided that I am cloud-like…  Clouds can always be named:  Cirrus, Stratocumulus, Lenticularis, Kelvin-Helmholtz…  They could not be called indecisive, yet, they are constantly transforming, adjusting and adapting to the temperature, the wind, the sunlight…

Clouds are sensitive and evolving and mutable.  And so am I.

So imagine my shock to have seen myself traumatized by impending change!

It is true.  It has happened twice now.

There has been much less change in my life since the birth of my son (only 7 homes in the last 12 years) and it has sometimes been difficult to tame my wanderlust…

But I have learned to appreciate different joys in life.  Like stability and calm and contentment.

I now own things like beds and bookshelves and paintings and have come to view this phase of my life as both luxurious and serene.  It has allowed me time to discover myself and to know deep gratitude for the people in my life.

Yet, twice now, I have had my contentment threatened and agitated by outside forces.

… And there is the moment of my self-discovery.

Embracing change that I have initiated is one thing.  Being asked to celebrate change that I did not seek is quite another.

When life instigates revolution, I have found that I can be as rigid as the next person.

But concrete clouds would fall out of the sky.  And I am hoping for the grace to stay aloft for at least a little longer…