I recently took off the “Project” at the end of the name of this blog. I think I might change the whole name soon when I come up with something better. This was originally born in the zeal of wanting to be a force for good in the world. I don’t mind being on a healing road but I am done with the creation and maintenance of projects. Kudos to those who do, but count me out.
The other day while thinking too much – a favorite hobby that leads to writing what I don’t think people would want to hear me say out loud – I realized that this letting go is a huge thing – for the first time in my life. I was born into a very zealous religion that believed itself to be the only path to truth in the entire world – and we were chosen to take this saving message not just to all the unwashed heathens, but most urgently to other Christians. They seemed to be the easiest targets since we didn’t have to start with the “There really is a God” argument and moved right into why you were not obeying him correctly. Anyway – this is an interesting mindset to have imprinted on you at a young age.
I left this religion when I no longer believed its tenets but then went in search of an equally elitist totally right creed to fill its place. As you can imagine this led to great wanderings and disappointments. I gravitated towards other schools of thought that also felt themselves superior and there was the ever-present urgency to evangelize. If you weren’t out there in the trenches then you better be giving money to someone who was.
Gradually my fervor for evangelism softened into an interest in humanitarian pursuits. I lost my taste for trying to tell people what to believe and stopped assuming they were damned for not mentally assenting to a specific interpretation of events that took place thousands of years ago. Why not just be kind to people because… they are people? I became shocked at the resistance to this idea in the Christian circles I belonged to. I began to see a side of fundamentalist ideology I had not realized existed. Then I saw it everywhere, with greater frequency – often punctuated (or maybe more accurately, informed by) political positions.
Not being able to stomach this hypocrisy of following a Teacher that emphasized compassion more than just about anything else, and being the opposite of compassion – I left it all completely. Like seriously – no one was playing follow the Leader – it was follow the $ and follow the political agenda. My theological worldview broke in a few years and I was left with…
Social justice, environmental awareness, just you know being woke and outraged. And STILL … needing to save the world. It’s amazing how the original imprint your receive early in life finds ways to follow you, adapting to whatever you choose.
Lately it occurred to me, having heard a statement that lit up an epiphany in my soul, that I could try to just be. Observe. Listen. Experience. Watch the course of history taking place and say.. isn’t that interesting? I feel like a baby learning how to walk. All my instincts, drives, and anxieties center on what I’m obligated to do, control, and fix. Not just as a frazzled parent, but as the justification for my very existence.
Yes, I’ll still brush my teeth, cook meals for my family, and help others when the needs arise and what I have to offer seems appropriate. But I can’t tell you how freeing it is to give up a life-long relationship with my performance anxiety about not doing enough of something or other. Just think, if I died in my sleep tonight… nothing would miss a beat. Everything would go on as it can and should. I hope my family would miss me a little, but they would figure it all out and carry on. And in a few decades – no one living on earth will even remember that I lived unless I manage to write that best-selling, forever-classic novel. Right. I’ll be like those in repose at the little cemetery around the corner from my house. And the people in the old photographs my 90 year old grandmother couldn’t even tell me who they were anymore. We were related to them but we didn’t know anything about them. No one did. Now isn’t that interesting?
Deep breath – what a load off.