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a flaw in measure
I was sent this video a couple of months ago and it stuck with me. It wasn’t specifically the subject matter, which is fascinating all on its own, but it was because it so aptly illustrates things I’ve been thinking about deeply as of late.
In the snippet, we have scientists discussing what happens when an initial assumption is flawed. Ive been pondering this in my own life. How much of my life is built around incorrect measure? In everything that is built, that initial measure is square and true or everything that follows is off. Everywhere I look I see a lean in my structure. A wobble. An uneven corner that draws my eye.
When I was a little girl, I was given the measurements. I was shown a world that IS. I was told what to think about our world. Given facts to memorise. Shown who the villains and the heroes were. I learned that the measure of anything was formulaic and done by experts, all I need do is follow their maps and patterns. Now, here I am, a woman in my fifties, understanding in profound ways how much was wrong. How heavy these bags I’ve been lugging around that have so little substance. I’ve been sorting through them, those bags. The older I get, the less useful they are.
The video suggests that we are acting merely on incomplete snippets of information. Incomplete information that is being used to forward an entire agenda. My patience for snippets is long gone. I want to know full stories. I want to ask questions. In everything around me, in everything inside of me, I am done with “it just is”. Thoughts that surface throughout my day are no longer just pushed aside or considered as reactions. Instead I’ve been observing them with great curiosity as an outsider (really, the only insider of my life), turning them over and examining them. Why do I think that? Where did that come from? Does that even sound like something that is mine?
To find yourself, think for yourself.
A short while ago in our chat I was discussing the overwhelm that comes with this time of year. We tend to think of feelings as good/bad. I think it’s okay to be overwhelmed. If we can acknowledge that there’s pretty good reason to feel that way and then find productive ways to handle it, to disperse it, to keep that energy moving, it’s fine. Better than pretending otherwise, I suppose. Anyway, in discussing this, the issue of perspective ultimately came into the conversation.
Shifting my perspective has long been a tool I’ve employed that allows me to focus on the abundance and beauty around me rather than the drudgery or task lists or even the annoying habits of an otherwise loved human in my life. It’s been profoundly useful and helpful in my life, but as I grow and evolve, it’s feeling like perspective is more of a patch than a fix. It’s a quick little poke in a moment to jostle a brain looking at what’s wrong instead of what’s right. But it’s kind of like hitting the reset button. The bugs are still there lurking, you just get a temporary reprieve.
What I’ve been thinking about more and more is my whole, wobbly shanty. This life of mine and how I have been planted and tended just so by the institutions that saw to my ‘development’. How so much of how I look at things is not mine at all. So much of what I accept as truth is illusory, a construct of this time and place by powers that be that fill us with whatever they want us to know. Whatever they want us to think, to be. It’s just this simple, folks, what you see is what you get. But it’s not true. Not at all. What we see is what they give us to see.
These are the things I was thinking while I was canning rhubarb this week. These are the things I’ve been thinking on my walks with my dogs and while I weed the garden. If my initial measure was wrong, how can I be sure that all of it isn’t off? I can’t. I have to assume that everything is a little off, errors that compounded over the years of trying to support a structure that started off askew.
As I was working through a myriad of tasks the other day, the feelings of “too much” cropped up again. My instinct in those moments is to pause, take a look around, and reset myself with the old “I don’t have to do this, I get to do this.” It’s a quick perspective switch I learned or figured out somewhere along the line when my kids were still small. It works for me to reset my brain from one focused on hardship to one focused on gratitude. It works, it definitely works, but now I want to know why those tales I tell myself come up in the first place.
So yes, I get to do this, but why do I even think a running list of tasks is anything rarified or somehow unique? Why do I need to call on some tools to reset a thought I never planted in the first place? It’s just life. I’m not running down a list of tasks, I’m just living life. This is life. This is normal. But that’s not what I’ve been taught is normal. “Normal”, somehow, is leisure. Normal is effortless. Normal is sitting in a big room with a bunch of other people, each at their own table, waiting for someone to serve them food. Normal is.. who knows.. Do I even know?
Leisure and ease because that’s what’s glorified. Because that’s what builds dependance. Everything serves a purpose. We’re told stories of the great hardship and horrors from the people that lived even a few short hundred years ago. There were plagues and hunger and, gasp, everyone had to work to feed themselves and heat themselves. We have it so much better now with everyone on pharmaceuticals for depression and anxiety, our absolute dependance on corporations and governments to feed us, shelter us, clothe us, inject us, pay us, and tell us how to think. To give us the lives we’re supposed to live in the way we’re supposed to live them.
I spent my younger years living what they sold. I believed them. I believed them about health, about parenting and marriage, about finances and the history of the world. I believed them because what the heck would it mean if I didn’t? I believe none of it now. Not because I’m a contrarian, but because it has been proven false. And yet, the crumbs remain deeply imbedded in my psyche. I’m like a mouse now, seeking those crumbs out in the synapses and crevices of my mind.
I want my thoughts to be mine. I want my motivations to be aligned with my Creator. I want my eyes to see beyond the physical and my spirit to be unshackled. I want to build my own house, from the ground up instead of just living in one that was given to me as if it was my own. As it says in the untethered soul, I am not the me thinking these things, I am the me observing that person. I want to learn more about that observer. Not because I’m a narcissist, but because God gave me this spirit that is authentically me, this life. I am a creation of God, not of man. To the wide expanse I venture forth.
There is a reason that I am different than you and you different than all of everyone. All of us here to excavate who we actually are and what we are here to do.
I will start with a careful measure. I will take my time with it. Consult with God. Wipe the dust from my eyes. Hold my grip steady. I will consider and reconsider. I am pulling off the siding, board by board, checking to see if there’s rot or if I can reuse what’s there. I’m going to keep going, every nail that pops out, every misalignment that comes into my awareness will be considered. I’m done with their haphazard construction. I want things built my way.
Measure twice, cut once.
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