“I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you. Thank you.” - Ihaleakala Hew Len, Zero Limits
I woke early, thinking of gentleness. I woke early, thinking of our overwhelming life, of to-do lists that seem to grow ever longer, of urgencies and deadlines, of pressures and worries. I woke early, obsessing over taxes and money and marketing and laundry and computer backups, over Sally’s needs and my flaky™ desires, of big rocks and sand and water filling the jar, and how I cannot seem to take my big rocks seriously. I woke early and made the fire and started the coffee, thinking of overwhelm and gentleness. And outside, as if the whole of the Universe could mirror my soul, the western sky grew ever darker. Soon enough the rain began, warmer than it has been, with little wind. Soft and pattering, a gentle rain. A dark day. A day to stay inside and ponder and clean and reorganize, to listen to great music while I sort through the piles on my desk, and the taller stacks in my heart and mind.
We have to be gentle in these times, I thought, Sally and me. We have to be gentle with ourselves. We have to be gentle with each other. And we have to be gentle with the world. There’s so much urgency in this realm, it seems. So much pain. So much Doom™. So much wounding. So many reactions. So many sharp edges, sharp stories, sharp assumptions, sharp expectations. And our path seems to follow the cliff’s edge, keeping us always at the edge, always near the precipice, always doing things we don’t know how to do, rounding corners around which we cannot see, stepping out onto ledges we cannot know are solid and safe. We have to be gentle.
And perhaps that’s a word to describe what that baby was getting that I did not get. I was raised in a grow up/get tough/learn to cope world, and we could never just sit down in the gentle rain and acknowledge how difficult and scary things could be, and how vulnerable we felt, and how far away our dreams seemed to be in this sharp, waking, rocky world. There was love, but it was almost always the tough kind. Or that’s how it felt to me. I needed more gentleness. More openness. More room for “I’m sad” and “I don’t know” and “I’m afraid.” More time for us, as a family, as a culture, to stop and sort through the piles of our collective life and get clear who we were and what we were here for and what we most deeply wanted and needed.
And so I wake up with worry and fear and pressure, and have to council myself toward gentleness.
I don’t think I’ll write much more than that today. I’ve had so many ideas, so many fascinations, in the weeks since I last wrote, during which we travelled far and wide, and talked of many things. I’ve had so many thoughts to share with you. But this morning, as the rain falls gently on my window, all those things feel sharp and edgy and cold, and I do not wish to handle them.
I will note two things before I end:
-It amazes me, the sensations that arise in my body when I speak of gentleness. It’s “man stuff,” mostly. an inward clench of embarrassment, to be so Weak™, so Vulnerable™, so Needy™, so Soft™. There are so many old wires inside of me, convinced that it is not okay to speak of gentleness. So many wires…
-But the big secret is this: that gruff, curmudgeonly recluse I sometimes profess to be – that’s not the whole of me at all, I think. And of course that’s likely only a secret in my own head.
The gentle rain continues to fall. Part of me loves it, the permission it gives me, to stay inside where it’s warm and slowly face the reality of my life and my work. But part of me is afraid of it. I think, should I step out into it, bare of foot and head, and let the mud caress my toes and the drops spatter my hair and face, I would become part of that rain myself, and fall to the ground as drops of water, forming a small, embracing puddle of exhaustion, gratitude, and grief. There are many days when I long to simply merge back into the Cosmos and leave this fractured human ego behind. I’m so tired of sharp edges. I’m so tired of urgency. I’m so tired of Doom™.
But I am still here. Obviously, my work is not yet finished. So I’ll drip and puddle for a while and then get back to it, stepping around more blind corners and teetering on another unstable rock. The path holds joy and surprise along the way, and there is help to be found.