Whatever I cultivate as my experience, I have the ultimate power to accept or shift the paradigm. Every experience serves me even when on the surface it may look grim. When I align an experience with the goal of knowing love, the love that is there always – not between people but that creates people – everything comes into balance, harmony prevails.
I no longer need to label my experiences as good or bad when I know that all experiences unfold before me so that I can explore what it is like to be my best self.
The Ackland Museum at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill just hosted an exhibit entitled “Good Object/Bad Object,” inviting visitors to examine works of art that defy customary decorum and could be called “bad” because they are unpredictably designed yet they achieve an emotional depth and resonant beauty equal to “good” art.
Bad objects are opportunities to explore the edge of our comfort zone and try on new ways of seeing the world.
When the role is taken on responsibly, a bad object can be the catalyst of change and inspire different thinking.
Isn’t it interesting how quickly we humans need to label things as good or bad when often those characteristics are circumstantial. Nature doesn’t operate that way.
In humans, often when a bad object occurs without sufficient planning and understanding, the artist might become defensive or even resentful, denying accountability for their creation. If they have not been provided the encouragement and freedom to create outside of traditional constructs, the artist might try to hide the bad object, its potential emotional depth and beauty lost.
More often than not these days I find myself stronger, more confident, and more accomplished when I step into the role of “bad object.” It is not that I am not good at these times. It is that I willingly take responsibility for non-conforming, breaking a patterned interaction, and inciting a shift in perspective to achieve a familiar level of resonance in an unfamiliar way.
There is a role for each of us as good objects and bad objects. The contrast reminds us of our undeniable ability to contain emotional depth and resonant beauty in the most surprising ways.
This morning, just as dawn broke in the sky, my eyes fluttered open.
Immediately my body tensed as I filled my head with to-do items, remaining self-criticism of all my failures and missed deadlines and opportunities of the day before, and doubts about whether I could make anything worthwhile out of today.
And just before I peeled back the covers and dashed off to start another arduous day, I wondered what was it like when I would just wake up happy?
There must have been a time in life when my first thoughts weren’t of the past or future but of noticing right now,
Where I simply noticed the cool of the morning air on my cheeks, the stillness of my body, the comfort of my bed.
A time when I felt whole, complete and not in a rush to hurry on or recoil into hiding.
I felt my way back into my body with a kind reacquaintance as if welcoming back an old and dear friend.
I noticed little sounds and followed them rhythmically in my mind sometimes as they travelled to me and sometimes back to their source.
I made no plan for what was next.
And on the voice that travels through the cells of my body softly said
This is love,
This is joy,
This is who I am.
I waited and waited there until that one memory resurfaced of that time when I awoke like this…or at least it conjured the feeling I had awoken like this.
I felt into that fully…waking up as enough, waking up with my heart open, waking up in love with myself and knowing that anything is possible when I wake up happy.
Someone reminded me this week that I am a grown up. As such, I have the capacity to care for myself, even survive on my own, and I have the luxury of absolute choice.
Sure, I know I am a grown up and can make choices but I still have the fear of a child. I fear making choices that will be wrong, cause suffering, or result in bad consequences.
As I further consider my power of choice, I am just now realizing that perhaps there are no right or wrong consequences. There really is no good versus bad. I do not need to avoid a choice because the outcome is not crystal clear or safe enough to follow through on.
I can chose to do or not do anything. Yes it comes with consequences but it also cultivates freedom.
Each consequence is simply another opportunity for choice, an opportunity to play more confidently and creatively with my power to choose.
Karma, choice in action, is not the punishment that results from my choices but the next actions available to me as a result of my choosing.
I do not need to avoid choices or fear consequences any more. I am a grown up. I just need to be ready to make the next choice.