I have been hitting walls lately. All kinds of walls: inspiration walls, creativity walls, relationship walls, walls blocking me from peace, calm, serenity, light, fire, glow. I know that all of these walls exist only in my mind, but it doesn’t prevent them from being challenging.
I’m leaving my current job in three weeks. I’m moving out of my apartment. I’m officially finishing my degree. And I have nothing ahead of me; no home, no job, no money, no long term plan beyond a vague idea of what I’d like to be doing. I have the next two months planned out, but beyond that, it’s blank space. It should excite me, and in blue moon glimpses and eyes-across-the-dance-floor glances it does. But mostly, I’m terrified. And I’ve never experienced fear like this before. So I’m building walls. Where I once waltzed in my silky woven cocoon of metamorphic possibility and easy adaptation, I’ve built cold concrete walls, cutting me off from boundless joy, gratitude, and flow. Yet this building of walls, that I thought would create a sense of safety, has only shut me off from the pieces of life I love most.
For the past month I’ve been telling myself that I must strive. How can I possibly create a new future, find a job, and plan my life if I’m so busy frolicking in the now? “Oh hello Spirituality and Prayer, it was so nice visiting with you for a while, but you’re starting to get in my way, so I’m going to put you in a little box on my shelf and save you for later. Oh Gratitude, you look so darling, we were such friends, but why don’t you hide out with the never-worn dresses in my closet for a while. And yes, Joy, my favourite. I’m sorry but there’s no longer room for you at the inn.”
What a mistake. These are me. These are no longer choices that I make on a sunny day. These are the very essence of what fires me up every single moment of every single second of every single minute that is my life. These are the here and the now and the aliveness at my core.
I know I’ve been riffing off Danielle LaPorte (bless her gorgeous, courageous soul) a lot lately, but I’ve got to throw in one more. I read this today in a piece she recently shared and it triggered an up-swelling of truth and realization within me. She says, “What vows have I taken that I am unconscious of? What unspoken promises have I made that are restraining me? And it dawned on me ‘Holy fuck. I’m trying to impress God.’ Holy fuck indeed.”
That’s it right there. That says it all for me. I’ve been striving lately and then kicking myself when I don’t hit my spirituality quotas or don’t maintain the commitments I’ve made to myself and to love/God/Spirit/the Universe/a higher power/that-which-we-war-over-naming. I curse myself when I blow it by speaking my truth, when I don’t perfectly present myself in a meeting, in a friendship, in a moment. I’m so busy trying to impress everyone around me, trying to scrape together a path beyond what I know, that I’ve completely neglected what it feels like to lay on my couch with a good book and the sun streaming in the window. I’ve totally forgotten what blasting music and dancing around my home singing feels like. I’ve stopped doing handstands simply because I want to. And I’ve stopped forgiving myself, because now that my entire future is on the line (which is a grossly exaggerated story I’ve decided to spout) I’ve convinced myself that I cannot possibly make a mistake or miss an opportunity.
But while I’ve been striving to impress myself and the entire world within my reach, I’ve been missing out on all the little things. I’ve been tired. I’ve been bitter. I’ve been sad. I’ve been pushing people away unintentionally. I’ve been forgetting how happy I can be every single day. I’ve stopped taking risks. I’ve started playing it safe. I’ve resisted all the little things that light me up inside, and then, outside. Everything I thought I was doing to write my future in vibrancy, has actually just made the now so much more stark. If I only have blacks, and whites, and browns, and greys now, how can I paint a colourful spectacle tomorrow?
Why strive to impress when I can just dance with the spirit that is already in me?
So here’s to no longer striving. I don’t mean not reaching for the constellations, for the oceans rough tongue on your toes, for the clasping hands, and the dogged panting at the finish line. I mean doing that this moment. Not the moment after. But right now. Don’t strive for tomorrow; live it today. Ring every single moment dry until all the drops of goodness have been squeezed in a puddle on the floor, and then don your Wellies and splash in it. Actually, screw the Wellies. Just do it in bare feet.