Sunday, February 03, 2008

Low Hanging Fruit

Wind ripping. Changing patterns. First a tickle then a slam! Storms of emotion, undecided, circuitous, dance through the air with feverish abandon. I breathe in the chill air, alternately cool then tempered by warm sunlight softly caressing my cheek. Drizzling, then sunny. It's warm, it's cold, both, as I pull my hoodie tighter around me. Winds that were whipping abate like an exhaled breath. For the moment anyway, it settles. Then changes again. Constant change. The warmth. The chill. The drizzle. I feel it all. I work through the dampness 'til my body doesn't feel it anymore. It doesn't matter.

Weather. It's just weather. Weather and a commitment to the practice.

I pull out my Dixie cup to catch the thoughts that traverse my weathered mind…

I think of myself like the weather--ever changing, mutable, unformed, taking form then leaving it. Turning off the mind I lead with the heart. Breathing into the fullness of spirit, ripe, glowing, uncontainable, this is me, this is who I am.

As I focus on the school, I think of the phrase I just read on responsibility. First, she said, things have to get bad. Then there's a summoning. A calling forth of souls. One does not do it all--that would be interfering with Divine Plan.


So, surrendering, exhaling it out, the stress is leaving my body more and more each day as I call forth my highest destiny and wait for the summoning. My shoulder, once capped with pain and immobility, has not been bothering me for a few weeks now. The area I spent hundreds on for months, where it felt like nothing was working? Now I suddenly realize, it is done. Released. Sent packing. Its exit almost imperceptible.

I see the simplicity of it all up here. How everything falls into place. Still, it's hard to fathom how it works down there, how I can surrender and trust. Trust that this is right, that we will be provided for, that this IS my work, that I am right where I need to be.

I have been contemplating the comments you've left regarding choosing my direction, ones so well-known and loved. Ones even I would think to offer another when trying to make a choice. You know, does it bring you joy? Does it bring you peace? Are you filling up or depleting yourself?

For days now, perhaps a lifetime, I have been contemplating these very questions.

I was raised to do what you love. Anything is possible. Limits exist only in your mind. Follow your dreams. Reach for the stars. That kind of thing.

I set out in search of those dreams with my passion, my desire, my commitment and unnerving ambition to express myself and be seen. To share my gifts.

It never occurred to me to have a back-up plan. I was going for it. I was going to be large. Brilliant. Successful. Artistic. Beautiful. A ball of creative fire that blazed a trail of light so bright, I touched millions…

I followed that dream hither and thither for years.

But let's take it back even further. What is education?

It's a deep question. A question that started percolating for me as a mother, and now I ponder it endlessly in my current "work"--and I call it that lightly as I've yet to be paid for any of it.

How do we raise our children? And then, how do we give them over to the typical institutions of learning? What constitutes a quality education? And if we've become more conscious in the way we parent our children, how can we in good conscience hand our children over to an old, failing system? It indeed causes conflict.

What are we trying to teach our children…the carriers of our future, the next generation? That they may then go forth and create the life of their dreams?

And furthermore, how do we translate that into the existing educational systems?

I look at my own upbringing and hear the repeated demands of my mother insisting on a "liberal arts" education. Carlton and Yale-educated and a professional classical musician, she was so adamant about that. And yet once hired, she never had to go off looking for another job for the rest of her career.

Ok. So what of liberal arts? I studied philosophy. Religion. French. Literature. History. Theatre. Dance. Music. Art. So what?

Wouldn't a business degree or a technical trade have served me better? Wouldn't some financial planning and lessons in strategic ladder-climbing have been more effective? Liberal what? Where does that fit in today's economic reality? Does my well-rounded liberal arts background pay the mortgage?

And the reaching for a dream, reach for the stars motto?

Perhaps as a friend suggested recently, I ought to instead reach for "low hanging fruit."

It's a concept I never thought of. I was always striving for that hard to reach, impossible spot in the constellation, the one way way up on the top branch that took a lifetime of trying only to possibly never get there… God I love a challenge!

Low hanging fruit?

Isn't that so…obvious? Common? Pedestrian? Like, anybody can reach for that? What's so special about that? Isn't it about to drop on the ground already?

Truthfully, it's not a concept I had ever heard before, but the minute my friend said it, I knew exactly what she meant.

No, I never took my low hanging fruit seriously…for the very reason that it was just so…um, right there. The only time I took my low-hanging fruit (LHF) seriously was when the bills came staring me down. That's the fruit that fed me. Food. Feeding others. It literally fed me. But was it my passion? My raison d'etre*? (*Fr: "reason for being.")

Does one, when faced with an intersection, make a future of the LHF just because it's there? Because it's easy?

Does one "fall in love" with the guy that's kinda OK but he's available and in your face--as opposed to the really cute guy over there, the one your heart beats faster for, but who doesn't know you exist? Will he ever?

And what about using the guideposts of Love and Joy and
Peace that so many of us suggest as a way to navigate our choices, like some hot or cold divining rod?

Can you honestly, I mean truly honestly say that you feel these things for instance, in your…marriage? Someone please raise their hand and tell me their marriage is peaceful, always brings them joy, not conflicting emotions or (serious) differences in opinion.

What about your children? Do they bring you Peace? I don't know about you but my child brings me a lot of things. Peace isn't one of them. Love? yes. Peace? no. Joy? not always.

Do the jobs in your life really fill you with Joy? All the time? Really? No conflicts? No challenges? No opposition? No indecision? No growing pains? And it pays you well? Hmmmm. Tell me what you do for a living!

And then say, for arguments sake, that you do feel the thing in contradiction to love, and joy and peace…you know, exhaustion, frustration, dare I say anger at times. Well, what then? Do you drop it, (the job, the kid, the husband, the direction) because it isn't bringing you peace? Even if it is important? Because you might want something different, better, smoother, quieter? Do you just abandon it for higher, I mean, lower ground?

Forgive my rambling. I seem to have gotten way off track here.

Anyway, I shall go step by step, seeing what unfolds. Trusting that my unique skills and abilities and conflicts and emotions are dancing out quite a dance. A perfect dance. A dance that belongs somewhere. Somewhere I just can't
quite see yet.

Probably looking up too high.

In any case, may it all be purposeful.

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