Marching to Souza

I always come back to the same mental problem: What am I missing? What do I need to change? What could be better?

I remember reading a quote in middle school saying that only a fool never changes his mind. I liked this. I grew up arguing with my younger sister on a daily basis, and in these arguments there were no rules. Something you said yesterday could certainly be held against you years later, even if your mind had been legitimately changed. I liked the idea of a freedom to pursue the truth, regardless of what I once thought. And rightly so! As a child, I was told that yoga was a cult religion, that a tall glass of milk a day was good for you, and that an overweight man would break in on the celebration of Christ’s birth and eat our food. We have to evolve if we want to understand real truth. But something occurred in my child mind that day that would shape my adult personality. At any point, I should be seeking to change myself, to modify my truth, to get it as close to The Truth as possible. It has been an exhausting ride, my friends.

So many of us take the complicated route to Truth. My husband Robert and I have had our share of filling the “God-Shaped Hole” with food and clothes. As we try to escape this existence, we justify smaller acts – “it’s not so bad if we use a Groupon!” “It’s the thrift store, I can buy whatever I want! Whee!” but none of these things delivered Truth.

Last night I was showing Robert and our dog Logan my progress in playing Moonlight Sonata, and we discussed the timing of certain parts. We searched the internet for various versions, and compared. This depressing song made us so happy as we focused only on it, like a meditation. Logan drowsed in and out of sleep, clearly a fan of the Classics. Then Robert asked, “what next?” – “Lacrimosa!” I yelled.

“Now what?” I asked, after that.

“Souza!” he yelled, jokingly. But it struck a chord. I was transported to my six-year-old existence, marching in the living room to an old record of Souza marches. “YES!”

And so we marched, and kicked, and jumped, like it was the Fourth of July. I channeled my child self last night – I was transported.

Truth is not out there. It is not found in the world. It isn’t even in family. It is within ourselves. Without the capacity to appreciate that family, that tree, that music, it is but clutter in our muddled minds. Let your Truth shine.

New Territory

For over four years, I’ve felt my job doesn’t do any harm, but doesn’t do any good. I tend to feel more and more jobs are being created like that in this society of efficiency and isolation of tasks. And often during this time, I’ve wished I could just have more time to myself, to pursue my own interests, alternative ventures.

Two weeks ago, I was laid off. I got my wish! Though the first day was a shock, and it didn’t really sink in until the third day or so, I am grateful for this opportunity to seek other ventures.

As a dutiful child born in the 80s, I of course feel pangs of guilt at the idea of not contributing to my society or household for the past two weeks. I did not grow up in a one-income household, and can’t fathom the workings. Having meals ready and taking the dog for walks doesn’t feel like quite enough responsibility. But a wise friend told me the key to dealing with this is to wake up early every morning and do something productive, to work on the things I’ve always wanted to. She asked me what they were, and I replied, “writing, getting in shape, hula hooping, taking the dog to the park, getting rid of my yarn stash…”

My work is cut out for me. I have busted out about 5 tricks with the hoop, I can feel my body shrinking just a little, I have more energy and I don’t feel my life force being drained from me and injected into corporation. My dog is happier, and I’ve made a few washcloths with the mass of yarn I’ve bought and not used.

I began looking for jobs and got a nibble or two. But going back to that begins to stress me out almost more than being jobless. I am meant for something. And it is not a desk job. When I had a job I couldn’t see an end. My situation seemed more comfortable than alternatives – safer, more consistent, stable. Without those things, I feel happier. I feel I can breathe.

Here, I will begin to explore making do on less, being in harmony with my situation at any given point, and living richer and fuller than I ever have. I am in love with my husband of 6 years, our dog is healthy as are we, and we have family and friends all around us. I like myself and I am proud of the person I am. I needed to be shaken up to truly appreciate this. I am grateful for this opportunity.