I'm off to the woods again for a bit, then down to the Gulf Coast. I had a moment of quiet to myself for the solstice, and this year I'll be watching the sunrise on the first day of the new year from a beach on the edge of the Gulf instead of out by the Atlantic. As usual, I've got scraps and threads of thoughts, but haven't been keeping up with lj or made much time for writing...and right now, I need to get back on the road so that I'm not trying to drive the twisty highways past midnight. ("A bit late for that," says the Monty-Python-esque voice in my head, rolling its eyes.)
So, in lieu of my own words, I'm offering a friend's. This is taken wholly from tamnonlinear
's winter solstice post
, because she keeps on articulating thoughts that bounce around in my head, echo my own patchworks, set up such lovely resonances.
Thoughts for the dark of the year:
Live with the understanding that the choices you make matter.
We are at the time when the turn of the seasons is about to reach the longest night of the year. It's a good time to think about the paths we take in dark places, and how we guide ourselves.
Live not as if you might die tomorrow (though it's good to live a fearless life, now and again), but as if you will live a hundred more, building on the actions you choose now.
Live with the understanding of the power of that, and the beautiful responsibility that goes with it.It matters.
This is not a scolding or a lecture, though those tones are present. This is a call to understand the wonder and beauty of connection, the joy in knowing we can make a difference, on being the pebble in the landslide, the butterfly flapping its wings in a foreign land, the saving grace that alters the moment.We matter.
People will tell you to live without hesitation, leap without looking, as if these were synonymous with joy and bravery, as if consequence-free living was the only way to have what you want.Life matters.
I'm telling you it is not so. Look when you're leaping, not to hold back from leaping, but so you're at least aiming for something, seeing what is around you that makes the leap (and even the fall, if it comes) worth it. Take the daring action not in ignorance of the consequences, but knowing, embracing, encouraging the change it will bring. There is bravery in taking the action with the knowledge of what it means and what it costs, and in doing so making the statement that it is important and vital. There is pride, without arrogance, in accomplishing a task with the full knowledge of what it entails and why it is worth risking and worth doing. There are tasks we cannot set aside or ignore, as a matter of being fully adult people.Choices matter.
Assume there will be consequence, and believe in the ability of things to change for the better by chosen action. Believe yourself to be of the strength and integrity to handle that, to be someone who can not only stand but can soar, who can not only pull their weight but add strength to the rest of the world as well, by encouraging the connections that require commitment and consistency. Have the integrity to stand by your actions, the morality to know your choices define you, and live with that not as a limit but a support, as part of the basis of living a significant life.
Be foolish and frivolous and spontaneous, not out of thoughtlessness, but out of the wisdom of knowing the value of these things as well, knowing them as part of loving the world's complexity, not rejecting it as meaningless.
Living without forethought may sound spontaneous, but in the end it's a form of cowardice. It's denying your own power, your own ability, the importance of others, the very things in the end that makes life rich and strong and achingly beautiful.
This is not a weight. If you think that consequence and responsibility is a burden, you've missed the greatest joys in life. There is a wonderful, soul-shaking beauty to the thought that you can make someone's life better, you can save something that might be lost, you can understand and educate and change. You can be part of what alters the world. Your existence is of significance. Live with and within that truth. It is the difference between merely reacting and truly responding, carrying the understanding of your own part in the dance of it all.
It's frighteningly hard at times to accept this, and sometimes it's as simple and easy as choosing to hold a door, say a kind word, give a little money to a charity, leave a space for a someone else, allow room for a wild creature, take a moment to consider a course, evaluate your place in the scheme of things. It is the big actions as well, though those come along less frequently, and require rejecting the weakness of saying that you are not one to choose.
This is the balance of life.
It is a beautiful thing.