I wrote a paper once. In it, I described the feeling of weightlessly floating in the South Pacific off the small island of Tutuila in American Samoa. The ocean is both magnificent and cruel. Anyone who’s ever been caught in a rip-tide knows this – there is no fighting – you must simply give in. The sheer terror of knowing that you are powerless to it, while affirming your own fragility, at the same time, makes you feel alive.
Perhaps we are most aware that we are living when we are confronted with the possibility of our own death. That’s really severe. But it serves as a great point of basis for this:
Do we feel most alive when we are presented with opportunities to grow – when we are propelled towards something that scares us – when we are challenged to move beyond what has become comfortable or familiar?
I want to feel alive.
There are easy things in life that bring satisfaction – carnal pleasures for instance: food, sex, drugs. But satisfaction from these things is often fleeting – if not all together illusory.
A sustainable sense of feeling alive might only come from those things which actually deeply satisfy our innate design – our purpose – our destiny. We come fully alive when we actualize all that stirs within us and beckons us towards free.
We say I want to live, so we chase longings, dreams, our deepest desires. We know this is what we need.
And yet, so many of us don’t. We shirk our call to courage – because we know it is big – scary – even dangerous. We are not ourselves – we are not alive.
Do we dare to find it? It’s calling. And take heart, for we are all in this together. Won’t you live out your design? Won’t you come alive?
Run for your life.
- existing in act or fact; real.
The technological age has made this more difficult to decipher.
But I’m not even going down the road of debating the dangers of digital, pseudo-realities and how that’s killing off true relationship. That argument has already been played – elevated to social crisis – only to become yet another philosophical pop-culture cliché.
Are we actual?
I’ll be the first to admit I’ve carried on with countless conversations – nodding in agreeable joviality – almost hypnotically. Even the rebels, sometimes, cannot bypass the innate and subconscious desire to not disrupt the status quo.
We desire acceptance – we long to be understood.
But, what if, one day, you awake to the reality that your entire social empire and the commonality found within it was not cultivated from what you actually believe – how you truly feel – what you really want?
Even in a crowd we might still find ourselves alone.
I’ve been there. In some ways, I am still here – having denied myself the pleasure of being fully known by not being fully open – not showing what actually makes me who I am – instead subscribing to what I believe I should be. And what a terrible disservice this is to not only myself, but to those I love.
You see, we are designed uniquely. Call it the universe – evolution – I call it God. The earth and everything alive seems to have found a way of living harmoniously. And perhaps we should take our cues from nature (natural). We don’t see dandelions trying to kill each other – or ponies trying to be fish. They are free in their design – without competition or jealousy. We are moved by nature. Maybe because we know, innately, that there is something pure – true – actual about it.
I wish to strive for this kind of freedom in my own design – to express my actual self. The dismantling of the character is slow and painful. I am thankful for grace. I want to know myself better. The obvious fruit of this will be the opportunity for true intimacy – where love thrives.
We have the right to change our minds – at any time – to become the actual version of ourselves.
How do we distinguish from what is real – our inner dialogue versus words actually spoken – what we believe to guide what we do.
We desire things deeply – things so deeply ingrained in our senses we construct our world of ideals – fantasies.
And does the world bend to our will – or do we bend ourselves to conform to that which we desire – ever leaning towards want.
There is no spoon.
Can we seek to understand ourselves better – recognize what is felt on the other side of projection?
Can we no longer be ruled by what we feel to become what we truly are to serve us – others – best?
And can we find base – to then move beyond base to realized?
I am ruled by the moon – tide of desires – those waves beating me towards I.
there is nothing to say that hasn’t already been said.
in the letting go, you find that you must let a part of yourself go.
we made this – together – us. so that you feel that piece of yourself dying – making the walk-away excruciating.
this road’s been traveled, over an over. you know every pothole, every bump. you know where that path leads and what it has to offer.
and while the trees and rivers and lakes you’ve observed along the way are, no doubt, lovely, they live on roads you know will lead you to lost.
you’ve loved well, so you can now let go. hold yourself with grace – for missteps are inevitable.
you are lovely, and you found lovely in something, if only for a moment.
we move on.
Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit. – Psalms 119:96
I’ve forgotten how to write. Or perhaps I’ve not had anything to say.
Swimming in a constant sea of information, rhetoric, proclamations of value – everything is diluted. It cannot all be good and lovely and true.
It is good because it is right. Or because it was forged through trial and hardship to render you a virtue. It means something because it resonates, teaches, improves and heals. Not because it’s well packaged in a culturally relevant brand and liked by 50K.
Popular culture IS convention. Convention does not necessarily equate to utility. And utility does not always imply the greater good. Good cannot and should not be measured by an average of results or percentage of adoption. It can only be measured its truth.
Test and check your motives – temper them – the freedom to think and act out of conviction and not mass hysteria, with liberty and justice for all.
It’s grown noisy. Seek silence, open a window and let a little wind blow through. Create space.
Find freedom from the illusion of perfection, with all its limitations. Remove any thing strove for which comes to an eventual end. Be easy. Love peace. And proclaim His Word if you are seeking something eternal.
Free, right? Never free. How do I put myself out there at no cost? It’s perhaps the greatest cost – baring my soul to the world. As far as you know I’m a hard-ass that has her shit together and doesn’t really need anyone. And that’s very true! To some degree.
The cost of putting myself out there increases in proportion to a softening. I think I am finally at a place in my life where I feel safe enough to be completely and unabashedly vulnerable. My heart is held firmly in the hands of the father. Who can wound me?
I met a man a month and a half ago. We had a great hang one night – sharing stories about underground hip-hop, drinking cheap box wine and definitely dancing. I left surprised that evening to find the person I’d turned down offers to be “hooked up” with by friends, was actually pretty amazing. Even still, when I learned he’d asked for my number the next day I said no.
I’ll spare you the details on why I shirked his advances because this rejection only lasted a couple days. I couldn’t stop thinking about him. He was fun, charming, all man, and mostly tender.
I’ve spent the last six weeks getting to know him and it’s been amazing. I quickly found myself adopting the idea of Mr. Man becoming a regular fixture around here. His character. So rare. So attractive.
When he asked to meet my son last week I felt confident in him and welcomed the next step. I don’t know how to convey what happened that day. Easy. Samuel loved him. They were like old cronies and you obviously know what this did for my heart.
All that ended today. For no other reason than a heart simply not engaging. Damn.
WHOA. Indeed, this heading was meant to be provocative. Never one to skimp on dramatics. Dear God, I just can’t help myself.
There is an undercurrent of catalytic reflection. In my mind(s). Eye. You know, like the bright light of realization. The beam of understanding that shoots right through you into the heart of your “ah-ha”. Only this kind has been pointing me, no, shoving me into something new. And yet it’s always been there.
We are all prisoners of our own mind. And likewise, our feelings. What we think and how we feel about ourselves is the very compass used to direct us in life. We can never be more than what we truly believe we are. Because sadly, we will never try.
My own personal hell has not been so much a doubt in my ability to do some thing. I guess I’ve always believed I was capable of doing just about anything I put my brain to. But for as long as I can remember, until recently, I’ve been stuck in one place, for fear of being anything less than perfect. Always needing to be the best. Always needing to win.
When I was in 2nd grade I ran track. My parents came to watch me at a meet on a day I was to compete in 7 events (though I am confused about how this were possible). I’d always been incredibly fast. But for reasons many of you can understand, that day I ran faster. I took 1st in every single event that day. It was kind of amazing.
But it’s not the running I remember. It was how proud I felt that I had won 7 times and my parents were there to witness it. I remember my dad cheering for me from the stands – how focused he was on my success and the accolades that followed. It was the first time I’d ever really felt important. That was the only time my parents ever came to watch me compete at any capacity.
However, that day left an impression on me that would steer and dictate my efforts for the majority of my life. Until recently.
You see, that one day of praise that followed grandiose success was contrasted by many years of never receiving affirmation for any achievements on my part. No matter how large or small. And to gain that praise, It was as though I would spend so much of my life trying to attain that flawless performance again. To me, I was only important if I did it just.like.that – again. The realization that I could not always achieve this level of success slowly paralyzed my own special brand of gumption. The sorrow of knowing how much you’ve missed out on because of…wait for it…fear of failure, is a deep wound. But what’s worse is realizing the only person whoever saw it this way – was probably me.
I’ve lived so much of my life in fear. All because I didn’t know who I was. And I’ve had to figure that out.
In the last several months I’ve awoken to spark after spark of revelation. What I am capable of. And I’ve even come to terms with the fact that I’m actually not entirely perfect. Wait, what? Yes. I can totally fail. But what does that say about me now? Nothing. Other than the fact that I should probably try again or try something else.
I don’t have words for what it’s like to finally meet the (wo)man behind the curtain. This whole time, hiding back there, equipped and fully capable. Not without flaw of course. I’ve opened up and shared this with some people in the past weeks and it’s so odd to hear them say, “Wow. I never would have known that about you.”
I want to see, fully, what they see. What I would give to see myself completely – how God sees me. He, Who created me for good works according to His will. This is a process. And I have made major headway. Still running.
I did go on to set a league record in 8th grade for high-jump. That, too, crystalized my need for perfection having rendered weeks of my father telling everyone I was a “league record setter”. Though, he was not actually there to witness the event. And I also have the 7 blue first-place ribbons tucked away in a box some where. But none of that really matters. The only thing that matters is where I am now going. And that I know I can do it. Even with some mistakes along the way.
Though I fail, I am not a failure.