I am gestating yet more big life changes...Actually there are a few, which is the way my life seems to move. (It's less metamorphic than igneous...) Life has been working well, in a lovely and calm way, then the volcanic eruptions begin...and it is not usually of my choosing.
I have learned to adjust, but it is not comfortable. For me, it manifests physically as body aches, which are bone deep. My brain can more readily accept concepts and new ideas, but my body is slower to process, digest and clean out those old stories. It is yet another physical way grief/loss works it's ways with us–with me. As I tell my bereaved, loss and grief are real damage.
The stories to which I am referring are the very early ones, which got baked in bone deep, before we knew we were in an oven.
But if the story I am holding, is no longer working...it is good and necessary to let it go... The most obvious catalyst in my world now is my employment, which is wobbly and has been for a time. But the mental linkages to how I make money in the world root into to my very identity, who I trust, and how I contribute to the world. These are internal stories, too. Something in me has shifted around the idea of enoughness. Parts of me, which have been largely known but inaccessible, have aligned. I feel wiser, more ready and, perhaps, riper (Ahem...ripe in the sense of wine not compost).
What is 'enough'? It has to do with expectations & our stories.
The answers around enough-ness are both bone deep, and flowing like a thought river, constantly in motion while eroding and re-depositing all those earthly rocks I have come to think of as unchanging. Enoughness and gratitude is a present moment calculation, of sorts. David Brooks in a 2015, NYT column, The Structure of Gratitude, says
''Gratitude happens when some kindness exceeds expectations..." - July 28, 2015
Appreciating 'What Is" in front of me or cling to old stories?
Like the grateful people described in his column, I have become more present-minded. My expectations of life are more about appreciating "What is" than expecting life to conform to my baked-in ideas of what I thought was true. "These people may have big ambitions, but they have preserved small anticipations (expectations)". He says these people are hyper-aware of our continual dependence on others - parents, friends, ancestors (and I add partners). They are connected in their stories of gratitude. They are interdependent...and stronger more resilient for it.
Gratitude creates a gift economy...and a better world.
Gratitude is a form of social glue. In a capitalist economy, debt is to be repaid to the lender. But a debt of gratitude is repaid forward, to another person who also doesn't deserve it. In this way each gift ripples outward and yokes circles of people in bonds of affection... Connections are nurtured not by self-interest but by loyalty and service.
As my fiance says (yes, I am, ahem...also getting married...) "We are all dented cans." There is empathy here. There is compassion here for ourselves and our others when we can reduce our expectations. Or release them... if we are ripe enough to do so...
Happy Inter-Dependence Day - We are all dented cans...
My expectations are gratefully burning up with those previously mentioned volcanic eruptions in wonderful ways. We are all dented cans...and I am following the path of kindness, loyalty and service. Life is very sweet today. I am connected in ways I could not have imagined in previous stories of how "Life should be..."
I am appreciating 'What is' enough...to see the blessings in front of me. 'What is' - expectations = blessings.
on a Chaplain's life