On the road to change it is sometimes tempting to look only ahead, eyes focused on each twist and turn in the road. Every corner promises an end, or, at least, a something good, and then, when it’s just a corner with the usual rounding and straightening, there is a lift of disappointment. But, consider this……consider pausing from time to time, slowing down the pace, tightening the oncoming breeze till your face calms back into itself, and standing still. Now, turn around. Can you see base camp from where you are now? Can you see the chaos you left some time ago or is it just a noisy image in your mind? Can you even remember which blocks went where, when you were busy stacking them into a fortress of resistance, rage and rigid stuckness?
Probably not. Now, see how far you have already come. Golly gosh……it’s miles! I had no idea I had travelled so far and so quickly. Then, I sit and reflect. I feel my body and I finger, gently, through the trappings of my mind. Those things that tied me up in enough knots to confound the best student in Sailor School seem so far away right now. Where did they go? That anger I felt at a slight or an unfair expectation, or that moment of public humiliation are well behind me, because in spite of not really believing there actually is a road to change, I stepped onto it and began to walk.
However, this doesn’t mean I was wrong to let them hurt me, oh no indeed. What I felt was what I felt and my feelings do not lie to me. They may come unbidden, as a surprise at times, but they are my feelings and that makes them very real. But out here, not there yet, nor back in the chaos, I am in a place of privilege. Because I am alone and undisturbed I have the chance to consider and re-evaluate those feelings, to translate them into any language I choose, any shape, colour and form. I could build on them, but that would take me in one big scoot back into the chaos. I don’t want that. But how to settle them in a place of peace whilst not beating myself up for getting so upset is, at the moment, a mystery. My reaction to pretty much everything is filtered through my own experience, my familial and historical teachings and observations. Add a large dose, in my case, of a vivid imagination and there’s a story written just for me. Even if others shared it with me, they would be forgiven for wondering if we ever met. Perception is everything. It is the bedrock for war or it is the way towards compassion, empathy and peace.
All I need to know, for now, is that I want someone to change. I used to think that someone was everyone else in my life. It’s quite normal to think that way, that I am right and you are not right, at best. I can change you. That’s what I thought, but decades have been wasted in that arrogant thinking and that’s why I am out here, alone in the wild on a road that looks like it goes to Nowhere and taking an inordinate length of time to get there. The someone that needs to change is me. I can’t tell you how long my righteous indignation has filled my boots with lead on that one. The ‘why should I?’ whine was always ready in my mouth, still is, at times. But when Fed Up meets Righteous Indignation there is, at the very least, a skirmish, and I am sick and tired of their sabre rattling.
So, boots on (sans lead) and with no map, no idea of where this changeling will end up, I am offski, on a journey whilst remaining right where I am. And, in letting go of the angst, I can feel a lift. It isn’t magic, nor an easy path and there are rocks and goblins along the way, but if this life is to mean anything at all to me then I want change without self-immolation or self-aggrandisement and without my sticky fingers on any of it.
“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road