Most summers I set ridiculous goals for the sake of setting goals. The summer I finished graduate school and got divorced my goal was to see how much fun I could have without going broke or getting arrested. The answer to that, in case you’re wondering, is quite a lot. The soul will have its way though. It took two summers of being sidelined, first by torn ligaments in my left ankle and then a broken right ankle, for me to listen to my soul’s cry for solitude. It feels like a waste of a good life to not jump in with both feet, which is how I broke my ankle, come to think of it.
I discovered something the summer I broke my ankle and was house bound for six weeks. It became very clear to me during those six weeks that I was not living my life alone, however much that may feel sometimes. I was always dancing to life with my soul and it leads. It leads and I try to keep up, sometimes not very well. I’ve tried to have it my way only to end up with broken ankles, heart aches and regretful liaisons with drummers. So, now I listen to my soul’s need for silence and allow myself to be embraced by its stillness.
I’ve needed the solitude this summer has brought to my life to sink into a new way of being. One of the gifts of being older is that you stop being a reflection of others and start being yourself. This summer I’m giving that self time and space to grow deep roots. It’s not very exciting, at least not on the surface, but in my inner world some wonderful things are taking place and I’m grateful for the time to tend to that part of my life. It is a gift that few people get. There are days, however, when I can’t bear one more minute of it and succumb to whatever pretty bauble of distraction presents itself. I understand why people went into caves to seek wisdom, no distractions and I’m not even seeking wisdom, just myself. I’m kind of wondering if that’s not a type of wisdom though.
One of my favorite stories is about Rabbi Zusia. Rabbi Zusia was a famous and respected teacher who had a vision that told him that when he died the angels would ask about his life. He told his followers that it worried him. When they asked him what could possible worry a humble and scholarly man about that. Zusia said, “I’ve have learned that the angels will not ask why I wasn’t more like Moses. They will ask why I wasn’t more like Zusia.” What a gift the world would have if we were each fully ourselves, our best selves, the self we were born to be. That’s all I’m trying to do here, be my best self, the woman I was born to be. I don’t always know what that is or what that looks like. Maybe I’m not supposed to know. Maybe all I’m supposed to do is have a little faith, which I do because like the woman said, it’s either fear or love, baby. This week it was all about love.