Living each day much muchier
Esoteric is such a great word. It describes something that sounds like woo or gibberish until you learn to interpret it a specific way. Calling the four directions is esoteric. Praying the blood of Jesus over a car before travelling is esoteric to anyone outside the Christian prayer warrior circle.
Twee shareables are esoteric. You know, they’re the glib phrases posted over pretty landscapes. They’re carved into shabby chic materials for sale on Etsy. They urge us to breathe deeper, love more, and speak the truth of what’s going on in our hearts.
They’re painfully obvious, of course. So why am I calling them esoteric? Well, they’re easy to pffft at. Don’t tell me to be joyful. There’s so much that’s so shit in the world, so much pain. Telling me to stay positive doesn’t fix anything.
But what if it does?
What if the most personal, revolutionary act we can do is to be pleased with things and persist in joyful practice?
From a very young age, I learned that nothing was good. It was unintentional, of course, but even celebrations and milestones had some measure of fault quickly found in them that ruined or tainted everything. The bigger the hype, the bigger the resistance, the quicker the disappointment. Negative bias is ancient survival, but perfectionism is next level and it’s a real pleasure killer. Joy is fragile and contentment, easily spoiled.
As an adult, I am well practiced in seeking the most minor issue to fix, avoid or apologise for. I fear the tiniest flicker of disapproval. The partners I keep choosing are impossible to reach, or impossible to please as I seek out the familiar pattern that feel like home.
What if the most powerful disruptor is to (gulp) live, laugh, and love?
I mean, a twee little phrase won’t fix oppression. It’s not going to fix war, famine, disease and climate change. It’s meaningless to someone facing daily aggressions, grief, or poor mental health, or the cocktail of all of it.
But what if it helps?
What would happen if people of privilege became radically content instead of jostling for more? Would we release assets and power for more equal distribution? Would it free up our emotional capacity to see other people as company and not threat?
What if the esoterica of twee shareables is the gift of a more balanced view of what’s real? Sure, there’s bad, but also good.
So. Much. Good.
When I hunt for flaws, nothing is ever enough, let alone good. If I live in simplicity, I am enough. The sunset sky is enough. The late night doughnut run after dance class is enough. It’s good, great even!
I know I can’t just ‘don’t worry, be happy’. It takes effort to heal, courage to let go, and sacrifice to change in ways that benefit everyone, not just me.
I think the answer the opposite of trying to be better. It’s to prune back.
Here are my twee esoteric ‘empowering mantras’.
1/ I am pleased with things (including proud of myself and my creations)
2/ I persist with joyful practices (like hiking, photography, reading, music, singing and dancing)
3/ I care for my animal (my body). I am not a floating brain in space. If I move, stretch and sleep, my animal will feel better, so will I.
And maybe, just maybe, things will be good.
“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.”Lao Tzu
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things”Phillippians 4:8