Two Things that are not Easy

1: Integrity

For a long time I had almost none. Maybe some deep miserable core that stopped me, a few times, from stepping over lines I shouldn’t. But I’m not convinced that even that wasn’t merely loyalty to this thought or that thought, in service of impressing this person or that person. I had confused “appearing to be” with “being.” Unfortunately, I have a talent for “appearing to be.”

Now that I do have some integrity, a little, I watch myself trading it. For trinkets, mere baubles of affection or praise. Or, more often, for the hope of those things. Without the layers of thoughts that used to hold me into a shape, I find that when I come out of my center with the offering of my integrity in my hands to any who will take it, I get shaky. Suddenly I don’t know where to stand, what to think, what to do. I am buffeted by doubt until I fly off in some random direction, looking back the whole time, wishing I’d just stayed where I was.

It’s okay. Later I regroup, reground, and come back. The next time I am a little more centered a little longer, maybe. Many times I get to have the sweetness of knowing I’m in my place doing my thing, whether or not anyone else approves or understands – that their approval or understanding doesn’t even enter into the thought of what I am doing and being.

Still, it is terribly hard. People confuse support and supporting someone’s lies. I shed layers and people, well meaning, pick them up to put them back on me. “You don’t understand. That was pride. It doesn’t fit anymore. Humility looks better on me anyway.” Later I’ll return the favor and see the same look in their eyes. This was never theirs in the first place – why am I trying to make them wear it once more?

2: Loving Gaze

In my mind I call it “pensamento positivo,” because I met someone who calls it that and lives it so thoroughly and so beautifully. But the translation, “positive thinking,” is for me some kind of craziness, so let’s call it loving gaze instead.

Four years ago I attended a ceremony and the leader asked all of us to stop participating in this bad wind of gossip traversing the planet, to affirm only the good in one another. I don’t know that I had a particular emotional reaction to what she was saying, except that I knew it was impossible. What was I going to do, go around feeling bad about myself all day? Gossip just was. You couldn’t stop it.

Now I know it can be done. Not everyone lives in a mind like mine, one that is constantly finding and cataloging everything wrong, measuring and comparing and digging in mud. Many of us do. But not everyone.

And it’s okay. It’s just my mind. No shame here. It hurts me as much as it hurts anyone else. Some day, with a lot of work and prayers maybe it won’t anymore.

The trick is my loyalty to it. The belief that the gossip and pride and judgment are small prices to pay for the greatness that is my mind’s sense it understands things, that everything is nailed down and accounted for in my sheer brilliance. That in this moment, for some urgent reason, I really truly do need to think more about…well, anything, really.

It can seem like the only thing in me, but it’s not. Just as there is a growing integrity, there is a growing place where I am seeing good, feeling good, and thinking about almost nothing. The trickiest part is that I don’t need to think about thinking less; I just need to love more.

 

These are hard things. I do not shine in them. I will not excel in them any time soon. They are not particularly sexy or exciting (okay, they are a little exciting, to my inner being. But it’s a calm, understated excitement). Still, this is where the work is. The work of my chrysalis, which has been long and deep and perfect. And the work of coming out of it, which is slow and imperfect and totally right.

Wishing you unconditional love and light.

-Rhiannon