Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Best Advice I've Ever Followed

Madeleine and Jen on the kitchen couch--a mother-daughter sweetness built on freedom, love and friendship.

A year ago, she would say things to me and I'd have no clue what she meant. All I knew is that her words didn't come from a place of ego or trying to be wise. No--they came from Hell. And Hell's the only real trustworthy classroom. At least that's what seems to be true from the little life I've lived. Our sob stories are our salvation when we grow through them. Our shit turns to gold if we learn how to process it correctly. And sometimes, years of suffering in a certain shade or shadow, is just enough to push us into a cosmic kind of light. (And we're still left bemused; how did it take me this long to understand; to see clearly?!)

These days, we call each other on our cell phones from the floor above or below, beckoning each other into bed to tell stories of our latest escapades. Was I foolish? Have I said too much? Who knew that our lives could be this much fun? The top of the mountain is just as torturous as the climb. I forbid you to say another word. Only dancing and snapping allowed. I just love you.

During one of our day-lit pillow-lounging confessionals a few short weeks ago, she told me the best advice I've ever followed. Ever ever ever.

The only thing that's certain, ever ever ever, she said, is that everything around us will change. So if you don't like the spot you're in--if you want everything to truly change--Do Nothing. 

My antenna raise and quiver. Huh? (I know the plot's about to thicken when Jen Lemen leaves me with a blank-faced Huh?)

Yes!-- She smirked in a serious kind of way. When you keep doing, keep striving, keep trying to change things--you're just repeating your usual patterns and ways. Nothing changes. Not really. 

But if you truly Do Nothing--nothing at all--everyone else will keep moving around you, and when your part falls through, the world will scramble, and everything will be revealed.

Let them lead. Do Nothing.

Terrified, confused, and confident, I did everything in my power to Do Nothing. No conversations. No deep listening. No problem-solving. No sexing. No brainstorming. No facilitating. Nothing. Openness. Deflection. When asked to fill my usual Do Something shoes, I'd say--

"I just want to Do Nothing for now."
"Your call."
"What do you think?"
"I trust you to decide."
"There's nothing to be done here. Nothing wrong. Nothing at all."
"I love you but I need some space."

It took two days for my entire life to transform. 

The whole ship changed directions. It was a painful, heavy load to move without moving a muscle, like being crushed or being stretched and having no say or no power--just surrender, just Yes.

I gambled without knowing what I was gambling for. I gambled for a chance at new; for a release from the stale air we were beginning to despise.

And my gamble was small compared to many--I didn't leave my husband or my country or my job or my addiction. I left one box that I no longer fit into; hoping and praying that something would be able to hold me.

The truth is--this new space is still hard (everything is), but I'm glad I'm here. And I'm finding, oddly enough, that when you break down the walls of your boxes, you're left with a round, expansive Earth who knows how to hold every bit of every thing.


I'm over here wondering what your darkest days in Hell have taught you, and the best advice you've ever given or received? The likelihood that you'll comment with such deep revealing seems rare. (Is it just me, or is blogging a dying art?) Either way--I'm excited that you just might share your story. Written, spoken, or otherwise; I'd be thrilled to hear a bit of your truth. I've been so touched by honest connection lately. If you're seeking a bit, reach out!

Sending you love and gratitude for being part of my life here in this little pixel of a place. I appreciate you so much.


ps--I love how raw and honest and alive Julie Daley is. Have you read her work? She's one of those people who seems to stay true to her natural expression, as opposed to trying to sell her worth/work. (So rare--so profound). This post is about spring and letting the earth kiss your feet. It's beautiful.

pps--If you're feeling sad or hopeful or resentful about love, this old country song might be good fuel for the fire. And sometimes, a fire needs to be fed and flamed before it can really die out.

ppps--I'm so proud of Jen and Ria and Henry for all their hard work launching the most exquisite of websites and missions. Take a peek at the little chicks and Hopeful World's new home.


teryll said...

Do nothing - ironic in this day and age, isn't it, where we are constantly bombarded with "efficiency, progress" etc.

Though it may sound cheesy, some of the best advice I've ever received and/or followed (and am still learning to follow) is:


That still small voice, it beckons you to tune into yourself and truly listen to your body, heart, mind, soul.

Sassyangelac said...

It is not a dying art, my love. It is an art that is refining itself via writers like you and me.

chana said...

so the best advice i've received is:
"do less"
it's written in big diagnol block letters on each mat in my feldenkrais class.
do less and feel more.
some days i'm an outright sloth, and maybe there should be more accomplishing going on here. but i like it where i am and the speed i am. so i'll stay here for now.