New Year is a time to think about change, about what we can do differently and better in the year ahead.
For me, the one thing I would like to change is to be more receptive and open to the surprises that the universe offers me.
It is so easy for me to assume that whatever surprise I am going to get from other people is going to be rude, insensitive and degrading. I have learned to expect the worst, so I close myself down, lock myself in, and hoard my limited energy.
On a logical level, I know this is a mistake. I have been forcing myself out into the world for the last month or so and I have noted a whole range of little signs that the universe can open to me. These range from a chicken with an extra markdown to a cashier who liked my hair to a man who I thought was staring at me until I saw his long, white cane.
On an emotional level, though, trust comes hard to me. I resist, wall myself off, try to hide from view. Rather than just doing the work and moving on with it, I vapour lock, feeling that others will judge and hurt me. I just don’t feel that they will say “yes.”
While I know myself as a creation of God, I am also obligated to realize and remember that everyone else and everything else are also God’s creation.
— Maya Angelou
Those other people in the world are not here to be my enemy. They are here because our creator put them here to do the best job they can at being humans in community, mixing the profane and divine, the pragmatic and the kind.
I know that unless I give my mother in the sky the opportunity to surprise me, offering the gifts that other people can bring to me, she can’t do it.
God speaks to Joe. “Joe, you have been a good and kind and righteous man and I want to help you help others. I’m going to make sure you win the lottery so you will have the resources to make the world better.”
Joe is thrilled with this promise, but a years go by and he hasn’t won the lottery. He speaks to God. “God, why haven’t you kept your promise to me? I want to believe, want to help, I have been giving all, but I am getting more and more frustrated, more and more downhearted. What can I do God?”
Joe hears the voice of God once more. “Joe,” God says, “Joe, please, please buy a freaking lottery ticket.”
Unless we do our part, nothing can happen.
For me, that means giving the universe the opportunity to surprise me, as queasy as that idea makes me. I burn my energy in resistance rather than doing the work that might bring me a good return.
I ask to have my hand held because it is hard to be both the hard, doubting voice of reason and the soft, trusting voice of hope at the same time. I know how to say “no” but find it hard to get “yes” to echo back from the world, especially “yes” to me going beyond convention, beyond the comfort level of others, beyond playing small to a bold, queer, smart and elegant energy.
I know that I don’t open to the flow which might lead me to delightful, replenishing and nourishing surprises. While I know that I should be smart about where I spend my resources, without risk and exposure, I can never get the surprise of a sunny reward.
The joy of life is not in our limited and puny expectations, it is always in the divine surprises which open to us, leading our life in new directions and our heart to new heights. We follow our bliss not to get what we know we want, but rather to experience what we cannot yet imagine.
I know why I am guarded, defended, protective. I know why I have left the grid, been very careful with my limited resources, and worked hard to hear my own voice.
I also know, though, that I need to be more receptive and open to the surprises that the universe offers me, the surprises that come from the hearts and minds of other people.
Society knows how to handle fragile, fallible, flawed humans because, in the end, that is the only kind of humans there are. Engaging and finding understanding & compassion is not only possible, it is both likely and required.
It seems time to buy a figurative lottery ticket.
And if that was easy, I would have done it before.