(i wanted to bring you all with me, to be quiet and look at the water. here is the best i can do.)
today i woke up, read the news (via social media), and then tried to write.
i felt listless because i saw some of what the world is up to.
and my novel is a heavy lift on grief, so its challenging to stay in the writing place.
and tonight i’ll be processing the parable of the talents by octavia butler with folks. and that’s a heavy, hard story that gives us insight into the incoming administration.
and then i chatted with my publicist for the emergent strategy book, who very kindly wanted to make sure i don’t have big expectations for sales of the book – it’s a strange kind of book. i appreciated the honesty and felt unfazed.
but when i went to write fiction i still felt out of it, overwhelmed by the task of it, writing about the near future when there is such a bleak picture being painted, being lived in right now.
i looked up and the sun was out after a spate of clouds so i threw on my swimsuit and walked across the street to the ocean. this whole month i am writing by the sea and it’s deeply healing.
i figured i would just sit on the beach for a bit and then head back.
but the water called me, so i figured i would just dip in it.
but the water felt so good that i stayed in it for an hour, splashing and swimming and bouncing and dancing, contemplating what all is in the water, how i never want to take this for granted.
i had a little a-ha about joy in the water that i wanted to share: i experience the most abundant and consistent joy when i am not expecting anything else.
expectations bring disappointment, fear, confusion, doubt, and contortion as i try to become whatever i think is expected of me in return for my expectations getting met.
the best things in my life have all been unexpected. success, love, babies, friendships, travel – these came not from expectation, but from being available for the good, available for the lessons.
when i facilitate i often let the goals rest while we see what’s possible in real time, in that room with those people. often, what’s possible is more, or different, than anyone could have expected, closer to what is really needed.
i didn’t expect octavia’s brood to be such a smash hit. i just knew the ideas of it, and the stories, brought me joy. it felt needed.
when i do hold expectations, it gets in the way of the flow – i become closed off to what is actually happening, what is actually possible in the moment. there is more available in the present than in the expectation.
so i am not expecting anything for the emergent strategy book – it just felt necessary to name it and explore it and so i did, and i hope it is useful.
i wonder if this can apply to our current political circumstances. we can predict a bunch of horror, and react with fear and depression. but already what i am noticing and appreciating is how the people i most respect are growing into the unexpected. kind of the opposite of wait and see. see. see!
is the ocean made of tears from days like this, and the days we fear are coming? a dry planet made livable by caring enough to experience sorrow? look at the pelicans dive into the waves so completely and come bobbing up, swallowing. this water is teeming with life making more life. and now i am playful again in her waves, she comes in, and when she goes out she pulls something away from me.
if i stop struggling against the ocean i float. i wonder if my ancestors discovered this when they were thrown overboard, or leapt. it seems good at first, oh i am bouyant, i can rest here. but it is a lie – you will burn, you be swallowed from below, you will dry up into a rind of yourself. and yes, you will die in every possible scenario, but if you do not fight and keep moving towards life then that death will come so soon, it’s just there, right there, waiting all the time. you don’t have to feed it your name. you have to live. you have to carry the small flame of life that has your name in it. life is a choice.
i am in the ocean of sorrow
all salt flood and bruised storm
bones of my ancestors
made sand and shadow
and the next wave comes and lifts me up
til, floating into cloud
i feel relief. i am unable
to comprehend the vastness!
monsooned by this
freedom is leaping
into the unknown,
the heartbreak lets us out,
and we are of the infinite .
– for #disruptj20, lifting us all