There is an age-old question: is the glass half full or half empty? The engineers that I used to work with would answer with a third option: that glass is 50% larger than the water.
I love this answer. It is not a moral judgement between right and wrong, as the first two options are; it is simply a mismatch. There is freedom in admitting a mismatch.
From the perspective of the water, what is the right container? When I apply this to my health limitations, what was once perceived as a sense of personal inadequacy, because I didn’t have the resources to do everything, became a simple equation. Because I am the water, not the glass. And there is no shame in finding a new container. There is actually pride in it. A pride in honoring my way.
Honoring my way means feeling the holiness that imbues these woods, and bringing that holiness out into my life. That becomes my touchstone. If something is true in the words, it is true. It is not about right or wrong as viewed through the fickle moral compass of the culture, or the other tender, emotional, fickle human beings. It is simply my truth.
John the evangelizers said that our truth is holy. And our truth the deepest truth is the holiest part about us, because it is closest to the divine. I feel that divinity, that holiness, as bliss when I walk in the woods. It suffuses all of my cells. It is almost too much to hold. It feels like the meaning of life.
Experiencing this counter perspective has changed everything. It offers greater integrity, in the simplest sense of the word, meaning greater wholeness. It has changed how I parent, how I partner with my husband, my friendships, my diet, my consumption, and how I choose to engage with the world. When I feel this good, this whole, this true, in my body, I make completely different decisions in the outside world. It is extraordinary, and it is true.
And, it is a practice. In balance, out of balance, in balance, out of balance. My blind spots still blindside me regularly. And that’s OK. It is, after all, still life. It happens. The next lesson. The next opportunity to heal. Ever evolving, breathing, happening. Just like the woods, actually. Every minute, every hour, every day, every season, the woods are different. Changing. Responding. Growing. Why should I be any different?
And yet, I am different. I have agency, authority. The woods do not. This is why they need me as much as I need them.
Those with agency must serve and protect and honor those without. To not do so is an abuse of power. It is to not honor ones place in the greater whole of life. To not accept responsibility for one’s place in life. To see oneself a small, when in truth, we hold far more power than we allow ourselves to see.
It is time to grow up. To stop fighting each other for power, and recognize the power that we have held all along: our own agency. All humans are equal, and when we fight for each other to give us recognition of our power, we are in a losing game. We are killing ourselves by asking others to give to us what we already hold within ourselves. We must find our power, our agency on the inside, and then bring it out into the world. And assume our rightful place.
This is perhaps one of the greatest lessons that the woods have given me: my true place in the greater wholeness of life. By putting me in touch with my own divinity, my own holiness deep within my cells, I know my greater place in the larger world. The integrity of the smallest, the cells, creates integrity in the largest, the world.
In truth, what her doctor says about my health, a diagnosis, a situation, matters so very little when I am experiencing bliss in the woods. Bliss is healing. Feeling this way is all that matters. And when I know this feeling, I make completely different choices on the outside. I know which healer to see, what treatment or protocol to try.
Today, the resources dictate everything. The activities, the schedule, the time, who I listen to and allow to influence me. How I spend my time and who I spend it with. Without judgment, simply basic math. And, the truer the activities, the more I can do. When they flow effortlessly from my heart and my cells, rather than fighting against myself in a civil war.
For now, I prioritize letting my life change me, rather than trying to let, make, me change to meet my life.
Norma Van Horn