I recently took a course called ‘Constructing Change Through Creative Goal Setting” at the University of Victoria. An inspiring and insightful instructor – Maggi, a strong tall graceful woman with a singing voice and a great wide laugh – led the learners through a series of explorations….
Of our inner determination, our deepest held beliefs, our values and our visions.
What do you want? she asked
What do you have? she sang
What is getting in your way? she probed
We, the learners – the future seekers, the meaning makerss…oh, we answered as though awakening to our dreams.
Everywhere I go, here I am. A kind faced man with that witty sense of humour that only a good Irishman can have, reminded us of this truth. Everywhere I go, here I am. No matter where I go, I’ll want to go further. No matter what greatness I achieve, I will always wonder ‘what more’, ‘what next’, ‘what else’? What if the goal was to stay. Not rush ahead, not look around the next corner, not step up a rung on the ladder or go that further mile. Just stay. Bask in the arrival.
Maggi took us to the ‘neutral zone’. That place we end up after we get to where we were trying to go. Now what? All this time you’ve been trying to get here, and now you’ve arrived. You suddenly discover that everything you are, your whole identity, was wrapped up in the long, curving muddy trek to your destination.
Now, in that quiet glade of soft green grass, surrounded by a swaying forest of your success, it suddenly feels lonely. I’ve arrived. I’m here. I’m done. It’s quiet, and still, and peaceful.
Quick! Get up! Turn the wheel. Look around the corner. What now? You leap out of the glade, push through the forest, and rush headfirst into the future.
What if we stayed in the glade? What if we breathed in that stillness. Swayed to the silence. Listened to the trees. What if we offered gratitude to the moon for rising every night. Sat with our children, our mothers, our people and told stories of our ancestors. What if we cherished our bodies for delivering us this far, massaged our feet, achy from dancing. Here I am. Everywhere I go. I am here.
So, what do you want? What do you have? What is getting in your way?
Maggi quoted a wise teacher who said ‘those who abandon their dreams will discourage yours’. Stop listening to the doubtful voices, yours and others. Honour where you are now. Trust your intuition. Access your somatic memory, invite your deep knowing. Observe how you feel in your body and in your soul. Breathe your truth. Accept your wholeness.
What do you want? She asked.
I want to raise my son to be conscious and creative. I want be a mother to my beautiful adopted baby. I want to be enabled and empowered. I want to grow my own food and harvest wild nettles. I want to dance with abandon. I want to cultivate community. I want to decolonize my mind. I want to dismantle Babylon.
What do you have? She sang.
I have a conscious and creative son.
I am a mother to my beautiful adopted somewhere-out-there baby.
I am empowered and so are you!
My cupboard is full of dried nettles I picked at sunset with my love.
There is asparagus, rhubarb, mint, kale, spinach, parsley, mizuna, and borage exploding in the garden. My feet are hardened and my body aches wonderfully from barefoot dancing.
I am surrounded by the friendship and support of a brilliant community.
I am slowly peeling away the colonization of my mind and
Babylon. Is. Falling.
What is getting in your way? She probed.
The coast is clear. The path is wide. The way is open. There is absolutely positively perfectly magically nothing in your way.
PS – This was my assignment for the course. It seemed fitting to make a blog post out of it.
PPS – We are nearly done the home-study portion of our adoption process. We’ve had about 8 visits with an adoption social worker who comes to our home for 2-3 hours every few weeks and we talk about everything form how we were raised, our parenting philosophy, our spiritual orientations, and the impacts of loss and trauma on abandoned children. I am working on writing a blog post that will tell the story of our home-study experience, so stay tuned.
PPPS – Sir Riel is one and a half years old and says ‘bye bye babbit’ (rabbit) and ‘mo pees’ (more please) and ‘aw-hum asser’ (awesome asher) and ‘NOOOOOOOOOOO’, and ‘moom!’ (moon) among about 70 other words and expressions. He’s the kid who runs towards moving vehicles when you ask him to come hold your hand. The kid who tips his bowl upside down to eat oatmeal off his highchair tray. The kid who looks at you with a sly grin on his face when you ask ‘what are you up to?’. No nook gets un-explored, no item gets left right side up, and no moment is quiet when the little revolutionary wizard is awake. Here’s to toddler mayhem!