Friday, July 30, 2010

Ambiguity

If there's anything I have had the opportunity to learn from these past few fumbling weeks, it would definitely be that I suck at ambiguity.

Ambiguity terrifies me because I am completely helpless in it; I can't control or orchestrate any part of it, therefore, I must be weak and feeble.  Ambiguity throws me into an incessant anxiety, ultimately landing in a frenzied state of obsession over how I might control or fix it.  Ambiguity keeps me up at night thinking about those things.  It makes me feel like my life is spinning out of control, which then manifests itself by way of my own decisions and behaviors.  Ambiguity brings out the ugliness of my impatience and shatters the picture-perfect perception my ego has created to show the world how together I am.

Ambiguity drives my worst fears to the forefront of my mind.  It causes me to focus my expectations on those fears as a means to avoid falling too far from hope.  Ambiguity is a bitter reminder of my isolation -- that it's not only I who can't fix it, but actually there's no one who can.  Regardless of that truth, ambiguity drives me into a ranting babble of overshare with others, desperate for a response that lends itself to restoring my security.

Ambiguity drags me straight out of faith and directly into fear.  It possesses me; freezes me.  It is, perhaps, the darkest of all circumstances that reveals the ugliness of my inner-most shadows:  Insecurity, doubt, impatience, self-hatred, lack of faith, bitterness, unfeeling, uncaring, obsessive, selfish and angry.

And, yes, I am all these things. (Sorry, ego, but I am).  Sometimes so much so that I am consumed by darkness - by my shadow.

I don't have things under control and I actually don't know what I am doing half the time.  I am insecure, and so desperately want you to like me; to love me.  I feel stupid and incomplete, then I get mad at the world as if it's your fault.  All of these characteristics lie present and just as real as all the ways in which I am wonderful.

And this is me.

I have to consider that everything that has happened to me over the past few weeks -- every choice I have made and consequence I've faced -- really has just held the simple purpose of bubbling this reality to the surface of my consciousness.  It was all the ways in which my true self - so desperately wanting to be seen and known, had to slap me around to make me aware of how much power I am lending to ambiguity.  Only in consciousness and awareness can I begin to shift that power...open myself up to accepting it more freely while still maintaining trust.

I have to move on and move through this.  I can't go back and make different choices, and I can't change the consequences.  Whether or not my actions have changed the perception others may have of me is inconsequential.  As a matter of fact, chalk another point up for ambiguity because I actually can't control that.

But I can know what I know, which is that I am loved by so many people regardless of my behavior or choices, good and bad.  I have a whole network of friends and family who don't know or haven't even noticed my fumbling follies of weeks past.  I can take my own advice, often given to my brother, that I am actually not so important that people are spending their time obsessing over how stupid or out of control or annoying I am.

I hate that I can't control it, but at least I am finally (slowly) accepting that as truth.  I can't control consequences, I can't change the past, and I cannot know the future.

Damn, that is so uncomfortable.

My only charge today is presence.  Presence in the present.  That's it.  It's all I can physically do in this moment.

I don't even know how to set intent around that.  It just is.  And I am sitting (uncomfortably) with that.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Questioning

My faith is an enormous hurdle in discovering my own authenticity.  Recently, I've realized I've become the very church-going hypocrite I despised as a teenager.  Probably more surprising is the realization that, perhaps, they weren't ever hypocrites at all.  Years of feeling justified for being turned off by the church are suddenly being challenged by the concept that, perhaps, its really all about a judgment I made and stubbornly stuck to.

Maybe I needed that as justification to override the guilt manifested by the fact that the message just wasn't cutting it for me.  There's too much that seems contrived; boxed-up in traditions and a series of dos and don'ts.  Thirty two years old and I am finding myself this Sunday morning reluctant to go to church -- despite the peace and hope and love its brought me at certain times throughout the year.

I don't know what I believe.  I continue, when I remember, to draw on an invisible energy -- "praying" in the moments I realize I have no control.  And I certainly have come to understand that I truly do not have control over anything, which leads me to assume (logically) that there are greater forces at work.  In the last few months I have discovered an underlying peace in the ebb and flow of life.  Not that it makes happy times happier or sad times any easier - just that there's a very consistent peace present that reminds me tomorrow is another day; that I can't predict where I'll be in the next hour or week, let alone the next year.  I know there is a divine presence in all things that embodies the fundamental ideals of Christ - peace, grace, hope and love.  I believe it to be a perfectly benevolent driving force; without judgment, constant, dynamic, and static all at the same time.

That's all I know I believe, and I'm coming to question whether the Christian tradition is the place where I can continue to practice my faith.  I'm coming to question whether my faith is something that warrants a tradition or practice at all.  When I am sitting in church finding it difficult to accept the full message as truth, I immediately begin to think about exploring different traditions.  "To find a better fit," I will say to myself.  But, in reality, the thought of moving my faith from one box to another seems far more unappealing than just leaving it in the current box.

And there's just all kinds of stuff that comes up around this.  The guilt ingrained in me by the Christian faith from the time I was a child, my mother's disappointment and exclamation that "I can't just believe whatever I want", and, of course, there's him.

In some ways, the final point of contention between us was that faith.  It was the only thing, by his own admission, that he didn't know how to meet me half way on.

What happens to these last twelve challenging months when I begin to dismantle my faith?  I think this whole journey, perhaps, is all some sort of existential panic attack.  I feel like, at every triumph, is another moment of being stripped down philosophically and challenged by my own perception of truth.  Am I manifesting all this as a form of some sort of self-serving prophecy?  What is wrong with me?

This has to be some sort of existential crisis.  I don't feel depressed, per se, just overwhelmed.  And I'm overwhelmed by this sweeping desire to live - to experience and love and laugh and cry.  I want to do something but I don't know what to do.  I lie awake at night because I don't want to be sleeping.  I am antsy and anxious and excited and overstimulated.  I don't know what I should be doing at this moment, I just have the frantic sense that I should be doing something.

I want to live.  To be filled up.  I don't know where this is coming from but it is flooding me with all sorts of fears and anxieties.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Shift...

Consciously, I enter this day
Head on
With intention
Breathing in the circumstances of now
Open to the ambiguity of the moment after
Aware of my fear
Holding it
Balancing it
At eye level, next to my awareness
Of courage
Of strength
Of self
Fleeting thoughts, full of expectations
Full of hopes
They well up inside me, begging for firm grasp
But I simply acknowledge their presence
No grabbing
No holding
Just aware of the feeling
But nimble enough to accept whatever result
(I hope)
Prepared for anxious excitement
Or melancholy disappointment
Prepared to take a step into empty ambiguity
Or to fall back into darkness
Yet intending, in any case, to recall
How this brief spur in my journey has guided me
Back into the light
Back into hope, faith and love
For that alone, I am joyfully grateful