Conventional is not a word I use to describe myself. I've been more than happy to buck the status quo as often as possible, and if we're being honest, I've gleaned a staggering amount of smug satisfaction from being such an anti-mainstream non-traditionalist. For all the times I've joked about my lack of belongings and my desire to pick up and disappear in the middle of the night, I've felt in my bones that the tail lights of my midnight Uhaul peeling out were more reliable a future than anything else.
"Why does freedom pull so tightly at our hearts? It is because freedom is tightly bound to the human desire for ascension- our natural drive to rise from our circumstances and actualize our goals, our potential, our highest self."
Lately though, as more and more of my friends cross huge life thresholds towards marriage, family, and big moves, or we grow otherwise farther apart in station & circumstance, I've experienced more persistent doubt than ever before. The quiet voice inside has become more urgent and less apathetic. It's actually difficult to admit how frequently I now wonder whether my years spent grasping too tightly to an unyielding idea of freedom may end up stranding me on an island of my own making (Wilson?!...are you there Wilson?!)
What is this unwelcome self-doubt about? I've always taken sincere pride in being an independent and free spirited human. I like those qualities, I revere them in myself and others! Is it quarantine, my age, or being single for toooo long? Or am I simply falling into the good old comparison trap?
"I wondered about this particular destiny, if it was really ours. Maybe there were others to be pursued. Maybe destiny was a limitless, open road."
It has not been my way to assume or predict what the cosmos have in store for me. Not knowing has always been quite liberating. But now that I find myself in thought of the future more consistently and with more impatient consternation, I've been wondering: Can you believe in a divine plan for yourself without believing in God?
What divinity is there for the faith-lacking or Godless among us? Those who are comfortable with the idea of a great, swirling energy source in support of the Universe, but not much more. Who'd like to believe that they were born for a reason and with inherent gifts to offer, but who desperately need to exercise plenty of freedom along the way. Glorious room to experiment, screw up, and otherwise cast our own magic as we unfurl our unique road map.
For me, faith equates to believing that the best is yet to come. And divinity as I see it, is really synchronicity, even serendipity, and joyful alignment with our highest self.
I suspect that the answers to my questions lie in the Middle Path. I'd like a dose of both destiny and free will, please and thank you, Universe. Seriously-can I get some direction here on the next phase of my life? Specifically where to live, or meet a good man? Can I tap in and out of a divine intervention to preserve my wild freedom yet seek assistance when trapped? What are the rules after all?!
Do things really have to fall apart to fall together, as Pema famously wrote? How close to a rock-bottom of total confusion do we have to hit before clarity and inspiration comes bounding in? It seems harder than ever to plan for the future in a world so overrun by extremism. Things feel less promised, certainly less secure.
Further, what if you miss the train to your destiny by only a moment, or make one wrong turn? How do you make peace with the paths not taken and near misses that feel like failures to launch? The distinction between an intuition to pause and fear holding you back can be hard to discern.
But as Wu-Tang scholar RZA wrote, "Confusion is a gift from God....The confusion is there to guide you. Seek detachment and become the producer of your life."
I know that no one else, be it angel, spirit, or partner, will magically appear in a shroud of mist to guide me. Support or inspire? Yes. And though I take RZA's words to heart, it feels like I've been sitting in confusion for a little too long, pretending that I'm not waiting for lightning to strike. My restless spirit and proclivity for longing are well documented on this blog, that's for sure. It's as if I've been on a Vipassana retreat for much, much longer than the standard ten days (though, with snack breaks).
Hey- I guess at some point you either give up or you give in. Faith seems to be mostly a matter of surrender. Believing in the mysterious timing of your life while also having some serious doubts seems very human and mostly okay. Sitting in confusion is certainly better than sitting in grief or anger.
Rest assured! I will continue to ponder the divine plan that may be working in silence around me. Through me? Luckily, I have an endless curiosity to lead me forward. I just need to stay aware so I don't make the mistake of blocking my own blessings. Keep my eyes open for signposts and signals along the way-and be willing to leap whenever the thrill feels expanding or sweetly serendipitous. I don't know about you, but I often have to reminder myself to just do it. Whatever I've been planning or drafting, even if it's farrrr from perfect, do it regardless. It's hard to produce results without earnest participation.
"We, ourselves, are capable of rewriting the play or changing our roles by applying intention, grasping the opportunities that arise from coincidence, and being true to the calling of our souls."
* Photos from a past hike at Mt. Rainier because I haven't been on an outdoor adventure since the Ladies Road trip three weeks ago. I can't wait for the road to Sunrise to open! As well as HWY 504 out to Mt. St. Helen's. Quite a few of our mountain passes are still burdened by snow. Claire secured a back country permit to camp in the Helen's blast zone at Mount Margaret mid-August, which I'm really excited about. *