Guess what. The world doesn’t end when you say no to the things you really want to say no to. The world also doesn’t end when you say yes to the things you’ve always wanted to say yes to.
True, there may be a few consequences in the long run, and everything, no matter how small or big, builds up to something else along the way. But the point is, by the time those Things unfold, you would have grown into someone else too, and possibly someone who is exactly the kind of person who can deal particularly with those consequences.
The other point is, it’s okay. It’s okay to say no and to say yes in the most truthful ways. Even when the default is the opposite, that you’re expected to say no when you want to say yes, and say yes when you want to say no.
And beyond the saying is the doing. You say no and you do accordingly. You change the way you live your days out of fear, and instead, you begin to learn to live out of courage. You say yes and you learn more about trust and hope and keeping the faith.
I had meant to wake up very early today. I have errands to do and I was thinking maybe I could put in a couple of hours into work before I left to do the errands. But I was still not ready to wake up when the alarm went off. And the soft sunlight said, it’s okay, take your rest, the day will take care of itself. The world will not end. Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished. So I slept a little more and slept away the resentment that would have sown itself into my heart and would have grown with the day if I had made myself work out of old conditionings on how work should be done.
I got up two hours later than intended, though the morning is still early enough. And I made coffee and then sat down to write this instead of work. This morning is mine, I thought. I claim this morning for myself. It is surprising how much we let of our life and our days be claimed by others. It is well and fine if what others want is also what you want, if their agenda is also yours, or at least aligned with yours. But more often our days are taken by duties we have never had the time to process fully, as to whether they are right, fair, or even necessary. We accept so many things as givens and don’t want to cause any ripples in the status quo. I can understand the need for cooperation, even a little compromise, and the need to maintain harmony. But to simply take everything as a given? To simply say, but this is always how it’s been done, this is how the big world does things, these are the rules, the policies, the systems...
Yet for some reason, we don’t notice how those givens and defaults tend to be rather one-sided and favor only those who made them. Why shouldn’t, couldn’t, we at least try to make and define our own? Not to war, not to battle, not to hate nor to revenge. But to insist on fairness, justice, openness, inclusion.
I like the idea of revolutions. But I also like what Joseph Campbell said about them.
“Revolution doesn't have to do with smashing something; it has to do with bringing something forth. If you spend all your time thinking about that which you are attacking, then you are negatively bound to it. You have to find the zeal in yourself and bring that out.” (Joseph Campbell)
When we destroy, we leave a space where what was destroyed once stood. And in the chaos, anything can get into that space, especially when nothing’s ready to stand as solidly as what had formerly occupied it. I lean towards having something ready, like a seed already sprouted into a small plant at least, with roots plenty and sturdy enough to withstand replanting and adjust to new ground, and with enough leaves to continue soaking up the sun to feed its growth until such time that it can bear flowers and fruit.
The point is, having seeds isn’t enough. They all have potential but a lot of variables also come into play. And planting them without some level of thoughtfulness leaves too much to chance. For very important things, such as the survival not just of the body but also of the heart and the spirit, and even that of a community of kindred souls, we need to give a little more thought and time. A little bit more of readiness for the responsibilities of a new life that we are trying to grow from an old pest-infested one in a forest of hollowed-out trees choked with concrete so they can stay standing and look alive even when they’re really dead or dying inside.
This week I will work on deadlines and change them into lifelines. I will try to break all the boundaries of time that are forced upon me and my days and redefine the value of my hours. And yes, I definitely have something to place in that space emptied of the old fears and pressures of expectations. Something I have nurtured in the past almost-decade, and now grown into a living breathing thing that direly needs replanting from its quarantine imposed by modern capitalist society standards.
A deep dark forest that grew in the longest night takes a deep breath as it feels the first shaft of sunlight pierces its heart on its first-ever morning.