“The Impeded Stream Sings”
I believe that I get exactly what I need to grow and to become more of who I am. I believe the people, places and things with which I interface are perfectly tailored for my healing and evolution. Believing in the idea that life is coming to heal me demands ongoing and never-ending leaps of faith. It is an emotional posture that continually insists that I release the victim stance from my life. One cannot live this perspective and see oneself as a victim. That said, what a practice, you guys! I am sizzling this week, aflame with letting go of what I thought was happening, what I KNEW should be happening.
I’ve been immersed in a book project with a friend for almost a year now. I felt dearly toward the project, hopeful and excited and engaged about the book’s potential. I was POSITIVE this was the right direction for me, the next steps perfectly suited for my growth and evolution. Life now disagrees. For reasons that I don’t fully understand and couldn’t abide explaining, this particular book is not happening. However, there is a doorway cracked open for a deeper, solo book to emerge within the same theme, women’s friendship engendering empowered transformation.
I am practicing most imperfectly the art of letting go. As best as I can, I am allowing my feelings to come and to pass. (Oh, I notice that I don’t do anger well. Why aren’t I angrier about this?) I can feel a magnetic craving to leap ahead into Book Proposal # Next. Yet staying in the unknown, that place that just clings to us with such physicality and tenacity, is so profound and powerful.
There is a Zen koan that says, “Not knowing is the most intimate.” I have been sitting uncomfortably with the puzzle of this damn koan. Surely by not knowing next steps, although excruciating, I live with myself so much more deeply. Rather than being externally focused on and buzzed by the exciting next adventures in doing, there really is nothing to do and nowhere to go. Being in the rising and falling of my feelings and responses is the intimate gift of non-doing. Yuck. I hate this. And while hating it, I accept this as what is.
Here’s Wendell Berry’s take on it:
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work,
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
What do you think? Have you ever not known your next steps? What have you learned, what can you learn, from this posture? What do you see? What are the impediments in the stream in which you find yourself swimming today?