In front of me rests a class schedule for the fall. I’ve registered for a full load of work and all I can feel is sober relief mixed with a sense of responsibility. This is, according to Brezsny, the end of my week of a more cynical outlook. Hopefully, anyway. The timeframe of that more “cynical” influence visited me while visiting family in Georgia. Or it was “scheduled” to do so. I obviously have only scratched at the surface of astrology’s deep offerings. Oddly, my time in Georgia included two emergency room visits that shook me to my core – my mom’s visit on Easter Sunday and then my own visit two nights later. Both pretty damn daunting at the time but only, as it turns out, two bodies showing their more raw human vulnerability. How many times in one day can you swallow sobs? Watch your mom as she’s lifted into an ambulance, you’ll find out.
But I’m experiencing it thus far as a time of sensing the profundity of it all, of life choices, of the twists and turns of fate. And just when I’m about to dip into a darker moment, someone comes along and puts a hand on my back. It’s perfect.
In the meantime, I can’t not move forward without a sense of being attached to everyone I know, a sense of moving forward where they’re unable to do so as of yet and a recognition that those who’ve run ahead of me are humming a song of my own possibilities. That’s a new twist for me. The programming of my childhood left me feeling permanently isolated when others would reach their goals before me. That programming is being disabled on a daily basis. At this point, I don’t know how to embark on something without seeing it as a spiritual door-opening for more than only me and an affirmation of those who’re ahead of me. It feels more like tribe and less like striving after the wind with a great big world on my lonely shoulders.
My mom has always wanted to go to college. No, I take that back. My mom felt belittled by the fact that she didn’t go to college. It evidenced in her comments and encouragements. I sat there at the desk with the counselor and realized I could do a big part of my education online. I won’t do it that way though. I want to be where people share the experience of education. But I sat there recognizing that education is the organization of a process and a legitimizing of that process on levels we simply accept as adequate because of the affiliation with tradition and historical respect – while others educate themselves, work hard and become expert enough to warrant much basic respect but no degree. This is no newsflash and it does seem to oversimplify. But it’s more needful sobriety in the face of big goals and it’s affirmation of the expertise of a woman who never found a way to get to college. I want her sense of inadequacy to evaporate, for her to feel a bit of redemption in the completion of my own more “official” education.
In the wake of my mom’s earnest encouragement, I did a year of college over 20 years ago. My heart wasn’t in it. My heart was barely in life. Because of that, the one year has felt like this spit of water in the wind with no real effect. But. I found out that particular “spit” puts me on track to be a junior by fall of next year at the college of my choosing as long as I stay the course this fall and spring. And I will.
But I do it realizing the turning of a tide of already flowing duties is no small thing. It does boil down to refusing to release the one goal and allowing other things to fall away. I may not get any big pointillist pieces out of me this year. I may shelf the book idea for a bit longer. I may only manage to garden half of the hill. I won’t be joining any parent-teacher associations (they wouldn’t like me anyway!). But I’m establishing what will not fall away. I’ll keep turning my face to the sun. I’ll hug my kids and enjoy their strength, their brilliance and their need for me. I’ll keep working on fitness with respect for my life’s challenges, including over 15 years of chronic fatigue syndrome with yes, a fever. I’m going through a phase of running a fever again and I feel it. And I mow. And I kick out exercises and. And I crash. I crash hard when no one is around to see it. I think my house will just have to look like crap for a few years. But I look at all of this with…cynicism? No. Realism. The universe may well be conspiring to bless me but I’m going to accept that some conspiracies take more hard work than anything else.
I feel this shift as a spiritual transaction. I can’t let it go. It’s not just for me. It’s for my children, my parents, all my sisters. And that’s how I work. I carry a sense of tribe with me or I die inside. It feels good to accept that personal truth. And to know that it doesn’t diminish one ounce of my vital need for independence. It grew in me as a child, as the youngest of 4 girls. My whole world was tribe and I’d alternately love it and run from it. My life reflects that cyclic response. But I realize that I can only do for myself. I can’t fix the lives I cherish. But I can carry the inspiration of their immeasurable worth along with my own. I can do it knowing that, no matter the outcome, it’s the process of affirmation that sows seeds of love’s work. So, I get to move towards more independence and hold to tribe. It works! And on so many levels.
We feed generations beyond us with our every effort – no matter the allegedly final outcome. No matter if it’s something as seemingly simple as pulling weeds out back. When we move without shame, we affirm. When we rest without guilt, we affirm.
(Affirm – Origin: 1300–50; < L affirmāre, equiv. to af- af- + firmāre to make firm (see firm 1 ); r. ME a(f)fermen < MF afermer < L)
There’s no cynicism in the best affirmations. To move forward without shame, without guilt, without mockery, without capitulation to the fleeting “evidence” often posing as futility is to affirm what is eternal and what is now – the preciousness of our lives. I, for one, cannot afford to believe anything else. And the good news is that I can choose what I believe as long as it resonates with deeply personal truths. I can carrry myself through every field of living as a needle threading affirmation of the best of humanity in a tapestry of love. Carry the threads through the next layer and leave the outcomes to be determined by, to be measured and weighed in the balance with only one thing – the preciousness of life. No loss, no setback diminishes such.
2 thoughts on “What Do You Affirm?”
brave… walking away from the past… walking into a future you create. still with the baggage of the past wrapped around us, always. it’s what makes us who we are, and our choices lead us into who we will become.
I’ll be pulling for ya!
If you keep an optimistic point of view and keep your head up high, you’ll be off to a great start.