Posted by: scintillatingspeck | July 29, 2015

Inhabiting integrity.

Am I inhabiting my own life?

I’ve been rolling this question around in my hands like an uncracked geode, ever since a friend told me, a little over a week ago, that this is part of what’s going on in her heart.  Mind you, I have not had much opportunity to really delve into it, since Lily and I have been in a flurry of traveling and camping a half-continent-length in the past week, and now I’m back.  I’m back?  Home?  What is this place?  Am I inhabiting my own life?

I want to take a hammer to that geode and make it ‘fess up and tell me the truth.

On the one hand, I think if I was an otter, it would probably never cross my mind to question whether I was inhabiting my life.  I would be playing, splashing, eating, sleeping, mating, nurturing my otter pup, and just plain living.

This leads me to believe that there is something about human culture (this human culture, you know, the one you’re probably in, too) that ends up divorcing many of us from a sense of dwelling in our own centers, guided by our own inclinations, grounded in our own convictions and priorities, grounded even in our own homes, families, communities.  There is something in the repetitive nature of our collective trauma, which is enacted in ways that are intensely personal, but the threads lead back inexorably to the big marination vessel of Culture.

Who am I living for?  Whose goals am I trying to meet?  Do I even know what those goals are?  Whose needs take precedence?  Who gets to determine what “needs” are? 

I think this desire to fully inhabit one’s own life comes down to integrity, in every sense of the word:  the striving towards wholeness, honesty, Doing The Right Thing by oneself and, ultimately, everyone else.  Who gets to set the moral compass, if not ourselves?  Do we want to allow the dimensions of our lives to be dictated by external forces, seen and unseen, or do we want to find inspiration in the crystalline cave of our own hearts?

Do we have the courage to dismantle the standard expectations, leave the “normal” demands unfulfilled?  Do we have the courage to leave behind what is familiar and “safe”?  Do we have the courage to fall apart for a while, handling our broken pieces with as much reverence as we can muster, in the service of a greater coherence?  Can we dwell, dwell, truly make our home in that dissolution, the prisms refracting a crooked path into the dark inside?

You know how I feel about these things, already, don’t you.

We do have that courage.  We can find our way Home.  There’s a garden waiting for us, simple and magnificent, full of scent and flavor.  We’ll lie on the ground and cry, my loves, and laugh, and we won’t know the difference between crying and laughing.  We won’t know anything but the immediacy of dirt, of green, of flesh, of breath.

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