How involved should I get?
That is the question I am facing in two distinct areas of my life right now. One of which is glaring at me in the form of my sample ballot courtesy of the Florida Board of Elections. It arrived in the mail today printed in red, white, and blue. First, this is not about the candidates. You won’t be hearing anything regarding who I will, or will not, be voting for. I do vote.
When it comes to all my election day choices I’m finding it helpful to go to websites, read reviews and editorials, and talk to my fellow citizens about opinions and perspectives.
I wish the same were true for the other area of my life. If I could only do some online research, read a few articles, and then chat it up at the community table over at Tea & Chi (the intellectual epicenter of Vero Beach) then I could figure it out quickly and with the approval and support of others that I admire.
The thing is though, there are some answers that we can’t find online or in public. There are questions, like how involved should I get, that simply can’t be teased out with others. It’s not like life comes with a sample ballot that can be filled out prior to election day. Our experiences don’t line up conveniently under tabs on a website reading Issues, Platform, or Donate Here.
I guess it’s all up to me.
A generous, though at times conservative, woman I admire said something the other day that struck me. After expressing concern over how tired I looked and how busy I must be she said, “don’t take on anything that you don’t have to.” It seems like sound advice on the surface but it left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. I wondered how the world would look of I approached it with that mantra in mind. I wondered how I would feel if I simply disengaged from all the things that are uncomfortable, difficult, or that leave me a bit vulnerable. Not that I have to be a doormat or anything but is it really better to just skate by and do the minimum?
When it comes to the tough questions I often start with my team of advisors and friends. In an almost knee jerk reaction I begin to talk it out via email and text with my bff, about five other goddesses, with a few men in the mix (my dad and my mentor included) and by the end of an hour I’ll have a fistful of new perspectives and opinions. I’m really good at steering the conversation too, I will ask questions in a way that will illicit answers that are in alignment with my true desires (even when I am unwilling to admit this to myself).
I get sidetracked and exhausted running through all the scenarios, the options, and all the quips of those that I trust and admire. The problem here, perhaps challenge is a better word, the challenge here is that I’ve approached whatever issue at hand with a tactic that gives me way more information than I need and without taking even the smallest moment to consider my own true wisdom first. My gut reaction is usually accurate and even though I know this, I choose to complicate things.
This is the story of my life.
Perhaps it was the moving every three years and always being the new kid, or that I honesty enjoy the perspectives of friends. Maybe it is the thrill of a life experienced in a crucible and in full view of others. More likely, and this is downright uncomfortable to admit, it is that I automatically believe that the opinions of others are more important than that of my own. For some reason I continue to ignore my own inherent value.
It’s silly really because I make great decisions. I’m awesome at seeing a complex situation and distilling it down to it’s fundamentals and prioritizing. I’ve negotiated a million hardships, opportunities, and I’ve made magic out of nothing on the simple charms of a Texas smile and a willingness to try. In spite of these strengths however I constantly seek the advice of others. Mind you, there is nothing wrong with a little sound-boarding but if this tet-e-tet is the first pit stop on the journey to fulfillment then I am neglecting that inner wisdom I’m encouraging so many to tap in to.
I forget to sit in stillness. To pray. To head out to the ocean and listen to the waves. I forget that I don’t have to have all the answers, the details, or even the broad strokes of life figured out this very moment. I forget to trust.
Instead of bulldozing my way through life I could take the opportunity to be kind to myself, cut myself some slack, and to allow the process to unfold and blossom as it naturally will. I think the answer is not “don’t take on anything that you don’t have to,” but the better question is “what do you want.” To figure out the answer to that gem requires silence.
Inhale, Exhale; Rinse & Repeat
When it comes to voting, choosing what to eat, what movies to watch, or which book to pick up the research can go a long way to making an informed decision. When it comes to the big questions in life like questions of virtue or direction, there really is no other person on the planet that I should be willing to allow make that decision for me.
When we take a moment to consider what we want and how involved we are willing to get there is an intimacy that we cultivate with our highest self. We build trust. We show care and we add value. We step into a sacred conversation with the wisdom of our ancestors, our inner child, and our connection to spirit (that inner voice) can be heard and deciphered. We must be vigilant with our hearts and trust our gut.
I invite you to dive into the space between the heartbeats and listen for the voice of guidance. To sit in mediation and without judgement or expectation seek the stillness that is required of those on a spiritual path. In doing so I remind myself of these gifts. The moon is bright tonight, the dogs are curled up sweetly in their beds, and as I finish typing I will resist the urge to investigate the questions of my life online or with others. I will close my laptop, light a candle, and listen.