Sunday, April 03, 2005

Seek Ye First

I saw in their eyes something I was to see over and over in every part of the nation -- a burning desire to go, to move, to get under way, anyplace, away from any Here.
--John Steinbeck
Travels With Charley: In Search of America 1962


What is it people are trying to get away from? It is visible not only with the endless moving, it is the new hair color that is somehow supposed to make them happy, or the re-arrangement of the furniture, or the cute activity for the kids, or the different car, or different spouse, or different eye shadow for goodness sakes. From a different job to a different screen saver, people are moving, and it isn’t movement towards anything because they never get there.

What is so scary, and what is everywhere?

Only ourselves. People are trying to get away from themselves with their constant movement, their constant busy-ness. If they ever stay in one place, if they are ever still, not moving, not planning the next thing, the next thing, the next thing, they just might encounter themselves.

The most revolutionary question & answer I have personally ever encountered is simply this: asking myself “what do I want to do in this moment” and then doing that. If you really honestly ask yourself what you want to be doing right now, and answer honestly in the moment, you meet yourself. Your real self. Not a fraction of yourself, not your responsible self or your martyr self or your hero self but your deep down really real self. What do I want to be doing in this moment. What floats my boat right now?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. . . . Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
--the 6th Chapter of Matthew and the 12th Chapter of Luke quoting Jesus

The birds and the flowers do not worry about what clothes they will wear or what they will eat -- they are too busy being birds and flowers. How can we be fully and truly who we are, the fullest expression, our blooming selves? Not by meeting someone else’s expectations. Not by slaving or toiling or rushing or running -- or going slow either.

A racehorse has got to run. A racehorse does not have to figure out he has to run, to think about it, to work it into his schedule -- he just has to run. What does he want to do in this moment? Run!

People are afraid that maybe all their real self would really want to do is sleep, lay in bed, watch tv. Or maybe their real self wouldn’t want to go to that job, or clean that toilet, or fix supper. We end up being convinced that if we didn’t beat ourselves into these things, they would go undone. We never jump off that diving board to test the water -- we are so convinced we don’t even dip a toe in the shallow end.

If we did we just might find the water is fine.

Come on, join me. Ask yourself again and again, what do I want to do in this moment. And each time you ask it, emphasize a different word in the sentence: what do I want to do in this moment; what do I want to do in this moment; what do I want to do in this moment what do I want to do in this moment?

Then be brave: Do it. See who is looking back at you when you look into the mirror of life.

4 comments:

Joe Tornatore said...

it really works. I asked myself what i want to do in this moment. Then I made a delicious ham and cheese melt and played the piano one-handed while I scarfed it down.

the Contrary Goddess said...

Joe, that is EXACTLY it!

Kim said...

Wow! This is what I talked about all weekend with friends of mine.

Have you ever seen the movie, "What the Bleep do we Know"? It was a wild and wonderful way of saying the same thing you just said.

Thanks for giving me food for thought. Now I'm off to eat pancakes.

Jim said...

I love your thoughts here and the choice of quotes is perfect too!

And what I want to do this very moment, after enjoying a delicious late lunch, is to get back out and PLAY in the garden!