In this skin, there is challenge.
In this skin, there is weakness.
In this skin, there is pain.
In this skin, I know the frailty of my humanity.
This skin, at times limiting and restricting, full of imperfections, is also the container that holds me, that cradles my every thought and feeling, the heart of my being.
In this skin, I know nourishment.
In this skin, I sense and feel fully.
In this skin, I explore edges and learn boundaries.
I know full contentment when I allow it, in this skin.
It is not my intent to be uncooperative or argumentative. I never rise in the morning with a plan to see others as difficult or ungrateful. But, soon antigens like stress, fatigue, and illness feed into the chaos of my day and next thing you know otherwise favorable relationships begin to sour.
It is easy to defend my actions, to blame others, and to deny the fear that gives rise to my crustiness. But, for what? Why is it that just when I need kindness most I fuel the unrest?
If we seek empathy, acceptance, and compassion from others, we must first practice it ourselves. Reflecting on how we come across and how we see others may help us to be more patient with the “cantankerous” people who cross our paths each day…and that just might make it a little less likely that we will be the cantankerous ones.
Just humming along, everything seeming to go according to plan.
Then, there it is…the morsel of doubt…the blip in confidence…suddenly I have lost my way.
On the outside the path appears unchanged but on the inside the screen has just gone dark.
In that blip, that fractional space of darkness, I am momentarily paralyzed by thoughts that I am not all that…I don’t know what I’m doing…I become lost in judgment and expectations.
Everyone has them, those points of doubt when the screen seems to go blank. That’s when we must dig deep and patiently allow the system a chance to reboot, clearing out the malware and drawing on the back up files of imagination, courage, and wisdom to stay the course.
And then the blip is gone.
“Is he a snowflake?” she asked. And, in the silent pause beyond the question, I truly saw him…magnificent…sparkling…a treasure floating in the cool, gray sky. Born of lunar energy, peaceful, bending, flowing, he works so hard to fit in, to be hot and fiery, but that is not his nature.
I could fill myself with worry and doubt about how this world full of tapas – heat and fire – will surely melt him. But instead I must believe in the strength of his molecular bonds and the cool subtle wind currents to carry him.
There are countless others in the sky with him, racing to connect and build a world of peace and stillness.
It is in the cool, gray sky where they fit best. So, I will give it to them. I will be the moon and the clouds. I will be the cool, present, flowing, calm sky that allows them to sparkle and gather.
And while this sky may seem less desirable and the darkness that soothes them uncomfortable for many, it is their time to shine. It is time to let them feel their strength and fortitude, to be just the way they are.
In this cool, gray space of unconditional acceptance, they sparkle. In the serenity, they can leave behind their struggle to fit in, their fight to find others like them, and the worry and self-doubt that constantly tugs at them.
It is time for these beautiful snowflakes to know their magnificence and for our world to benefit from giving them a space to thrive.
In the darkness, fear and anger deepen their grip on me. Bumping up against ideals, opinions, and stories that I have formed, with urgency I am compelled to avenge imbalances and inequities. I dash in to sweep up the broken pieces of what I perceive as attacks against me and struggle surrounding me. I am driven to defend principles that through my ego’s eye define me.
This posture that I take implies superiority and gives way to judgment. In my rush to right the wrongs, I become the being I so justly argue against. Resentment bubbles up and my ego says, “they are not worthy…they should be punished…they do not belong…silence them…shun them.”
And then my heart whispers, “wait…they too are suffering.” Those opinions I defend and just as importantly those I oppose are here to guide, test, and inform me.
To release my struggle, my fear, my anger, and my suffering, others do not need to pay a conjured debt for who they are.
Compassion, patience, and trust become my weapons against the injustices, inequities, and imbalances that swirl around me.
Allowing it all to exist and maintaining harmony, care, and peace…that is the true work of an activist.
My heart feels quickly, as if flowing on subtle currents in the air. Ego moves faster, thrusting against the wind. Emotions lag behind but still they dance closely together, ego and feelings.
Guided by the dance, I strut and swirl around with urgency, bravado, and sprawling feathers. Responding to surface winds, impulsively flying in a defensive posture, these auto-pilot movements are built on the residue of my stories.
Something shifts and suddenly I am still. For a moment, my intuition takes the lead. There is no need for flight , no rush to action. I know all I need to know as I slow these frenetic motions.
I land. I unruffle. In the not-doing, I am even more than I was just moments before. I hang here in the peace and stillness of slow-looking.
When I land, I am my most powerful.