What If You Let Yourself Choose?
The holiday season had me thinking about something the other day. I remember when I preferred the wrapped, unopened gift.
My favorite part about gifts as a kid was not Christmas morning itself but the lead up, decorating the tree and when the wrapped gifts started to appear under it. They were there and awaiting us, but still remained infinite mysteries, each of them. I could sit by the tree at night, look at the fuzzy halo in the glow of the lights, play guessing games with ornaments that hid themselves in the branches, and linger in the atmosphere. Wrapped was the best part, because once the gifts were unwrapped, that was the end of it. The end of the anticipation. What I wanted, more than anything in a box, was anticipation. Though my mom says that as a small child, I used to tear through the gifts and then ask for more. It sounds like I was just a greedy little shit and probably so, but I think it was also something else. I think I was already searching. And I think the search, by its nature, is insatiable.
Six years ago, I did a visualization in which there is a box. The box is supposed to mean something, something that matters, and mine was wrapped with brown paper and a rope ribbon tied around it. It was beautiful in its simplicity. It also gave nothing away of itself. It was like I was afraid to open the damn thing, even in my visualization, worried whatever it was would be too limited. As long as it was unopened, it could be anything. As long as I was unopened, I could be anything. I was, for a long time, far more enamored with the idea of open possibility than choosing something. That was true for many things. It was true about what the hell to put my energy into, what to claim, even in myself.
It makes it hard to choose anything, when you romanticize the open field of possibility. It makes it hard, as well, to choose yourself. I remember a choice for me was often not about what I would gain, it was about all the things I would lose just by the choosing.
It took a long while before I realized that my love affair of open possibility was not a way of making sure that I chose right or chose well, but instead an assurance that I would not choose at all. It was a pact that I would bide my time or constantly look beyond what was in front of me for a promise of more, even when beholding the most impossible beauty. Even when being beheld by the most impossible majesty. No option held enough compared to my idea of possibility. But... ...possibility itself could never be caught. It slipped through my fingers before it could even take form.
You can do a lot of things while you wait for the something that is waiting for you. You can settle for a compromise, knowing it isn't what you are really choosing, while reassuring yourself that some day you will truly choose. You can purposely choose recklessly, knowing that you don't really mean it. Your heart's not in it, so screw it. You can choose and not choose, all at once, in the same moment, and throw yourself into a certain purgatory of indecision about how you live your life. You can unzip yourself at the center that way.
I don't know when I became a woman that much prefers to unwrap gifts, but I am. When I became a woman that would rather grab onto something, knowing that doing so only presents more possibilities. I don't know when I realized that making a choice isn't about all the things you forgo, but whatever you allow yourself to truly touch. It's also about what you allow to truly touch you.
I don't know when I realized that being animated in your life doesn't come from holding onto all of your possibilities, or rather holding out for them, but seizing one and then letting it open up your world and take you somewhere that you couldn't foresee, especially not in the vagueness of lust for possibility.
Not to say that choices aren't being made through us, rather than by us, all the time. Not to say that we don't choose half as much, perhaps not a bit as much, as we think we do.
And even as I write this, I'm aware I could tell an entirely different tale about all the choices made that have led to a strange trajectory for this cornfield child. I could tell you that I passionately chose my where, much of the time and certainly at a time, she called loud enough that I ran to her. I could tell you I chose even the full moon, one day past her prime, in the arbitrary matter of things like a prime to write this thought originally. I could tell a completely different narrative, as equally true, and as equally a lie, as this one. That's the paradox. But still, I suppose this. It helps when you stop resisting the choosing itself. It opens.
(The Yoga Forest, Shiva Shala)
That's what I was thinking about the other morning, as the sun chose the sky and the wind chose the waves and the grass chose the dirt. I was thinking about the chainlink of choices, whether made by you or whether the result of a gentle lean into an inevitable pull. How it brings you somewhere. And how it's the only way I've encountered so far that truly leads anywhere towards realizing this elusive thing I so coveted... that field of open possibility. You touch something finite to touch anything at all. Funny, that. And yet, that. Much love xo Aimee