Yesterday I underwent a self-guided revelation that I am only too happy to share.
Yesterday was a day off. I had wanted to take a generic trip, a retreat to one of any wilderness parks nearby, to dwell in contemplation and write. But something about that felt “tired,” like it was a lazy habit for what I took to be recreation, but it’s not what really wanted to happen. I woke up feeling hollow, empty-headed, unconnected to my day’s purpose. I instead had to sit with an uncomfortable awareness that: I didn’t feel connected in action, only in mind, to the issues I cared about happening in the world. And I wondered, where had my sense of participation gone?
I proceeded to kneel at my altar in supplication (which I remember to do when all else fails…) and intuitively pulled out a book of my own writings, meant for sacred invocation purposes. I flipped open randomly and read this line:
“Every moment, a movement.
Every movement, a work of art.”
There was more to the poem, but I stayed with the line and repeated it in my head as I sat in meditation: “every moment, a movement, every movement a piece of art,” adding: “every movement, an offering.”
I remembered in my body a glimpse of what it meant to live in the moment as though it were a work of art, a song, a dance, a gift, a prayer, an offering… that consciously, that generously. That I can still make art… make beautiful song… that I can still make love… after all I’ve been through… is proof of the outrageous self-renewing of the gift of life.
And I decided I would do nothing but spend the day dignifying myself, dignifying my space, dignifying my relations through this awareness.
I proceeded to clean my space, create a tidy to-do list of miscellaneous outstanding tasks, scrub and otherwise prepare my body head to toe, select an inspiring outfit and adornments, etc. I also sang and danced outrageously, and fucked myself like LadySpeech Sankofa told, and inspired, me to a couple days earlier. Then I drove out to a park that feels just like its name—Wonderland Park—in North Boulder to meet with my dharma friend Duffy. We shared, felt and talked about many things, as we must, and one of the themes I shared was that today I feel reclaimed and the simple awareness that “I can beautify the world through my presence.”
After the emotional melee driven by a sudden new physically intimate friend, a stepsister’s wedding, a stepbrother’s funeral, visits with various family members, travel, crazy dreams, all in a ten day period, I felt my own aliveness more preciously and viscerally than before. Yesterday I was ready to slough off any mind-made limit to my existence, and imbue every molecule of my body with activity. I was feeling so happy! In spite of my grief, I could drop down on my knees and give thanks (again, when all else fails!) for this strange, uncertain, unknowable yet still so damn lovely existence! I sobbed and laughed and sang and smiled so hard, several times yesterday. I knew that nothing and no one could stop me from doing what I must and want until I’m 100% dead, and until then, to live my life resoundingly was the best way to maximize my aliveness and the aliveness of all who I encounter. I saw, with great clarity: that to celebrate this existence is enough, and to live knowing your conscious presence beautifies existence is beyond enough. This is building on efforts for the past 4-6 weeks to treat each day an opportunity for training myself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to be with and responsibly handle whatever arises, as whole-minded and skillfully as possible.
This morning, mindful of that same spirit, I donned an eye-bendingly turquoise cotton mini-dress, with turquoise chandelier earrings to match. Today is just another work from home day, but I was conscious of the premise, I beautify the world through my presence. Why not infuse a little color into today?
As I was walking my dog to the park, I began wondering about what would happen if someone were to catcall me (a fairly common occurrence and a habitual disincentive to dress attractively in public spaces). The thought arose in an equally non-ado spirit, that, if I were catcalled I’d yell back: “YOU DO NOT GET TO DEGRADE ME. I GET TO BEAUTIFY YOU!”
You do not get to degrade ME. I get to beautify YOU.
This. is empowerment. This is a reversal of the power dynamics that caused me to lose my way, retreat fearfully, cower in a protected lie of smallness, and “hide my light under a bushel” for some of the best years of my life.This is owning that, not only do I “take up space,” I am influence personified. This is owning my experience of difference, difference that is beautiful on purpose, beautiful because of what I’ve chosen to cultivate. As I said to Duffy yesterday, “Some people go their whole lives never once feeling the joy and unconditional peace that I feel in this moment, and in most moments like a stream. This is not mine to keep to myself, this is mine to share abundantly.”
So I’m reclaiming the space I take up in all dimensions/directions, and exclaiming I will be a damned GOOD influence all around! An enthusiastic improvisational GOODNESS embodied. Damned if I’m not going to share the pleasure I have in my existence, with you. Damned if I’m not going to leave you with at least one speck more joy deep down in you than you held before our encounter. Let me dignify the world with my intention, my attention, my presence, my body, my mind, my heart, my spirit!
And may I FINALLY live free of fear of being seen… instead, may I live in the radical opposite, hope of being seen, hope because I carry a seed of consciousness transformation for you softly in hand, to be watered upon our encounter… So I hope for our connection.
Ashe, ometeotl, slainte, svaha.