Nothing. New again?
After taking a year to reassess and let my feet find footing on a ground that continues to be constantly tilting and sliding from beneath, I awoke today to greet the world and begin slowly to integrate what's been unfolding in my life. A text message from a friend, showcasing a bold headline noting... NOTHING IS THE NEW SOMETHING ...caught my eye and made me pause ...made me wonder...
When was "Nothing" old?
After moving to the west coast of Canada a number of years ago to begin a new adventure, I was faced with changes that I needed to make. Changes for my physical world, but also my mental and emotional world. I had left everything that I "thought I knew" to be security, safety, grounding, home, familiarity, right-path, truth. I had to re-invent everything around and inside of me. Mostly it was the "inside" of me that needed change, and it was a growth and learning curve that I had never experience or thought I wanted. Ever since then I have been in an upward pattern of learning about myself and the world and people around me like never before.
Growing up in a rural community in Canada, where the populations are much more spread-out and sparse, there is a knowledge network that is generally created by what is shared from neighbour to neighbour or family member to family member, closer and closed loops of circles. Now termed to be known as information silos. Before the advent of the internet, when there there was greater access to information and learning, the outside world, or should I say the "larger world" outside the walls of my life, was relegated to a very small and closed in perception of life. I knew very young that I wanted to get out and explore the world beyond, but the internet and my schooling away from home began to inspire and encourage me to reach out and ask questions and learn more. This outward expansion took me to places far overseas, meeting people in all walks of life and tasting, seeing, hearing, touching, smelling a world bright with opportunities and possibilities.
Burning out, being mentally and physically drained, on the verge of losing my sense of self.
I had always felt a pull to the west coast of Canada, and this is where I was going to land for a while. This was where I was going to learn the power of "doing less". It didn't feel like "nothing", however. It was much more broad and multifaceted than just stopping and opening up to nothingness. First I had to learn what doing MORE was really like first. Burning out, being mentally and physically drained, on the verge of losing my sense of self. I needed to hit the proverbial wall to then be able to realize the full potential of what "less/nothing" was all about. Without knowing the full glass, I could not understand what having an empty glass would be like.
Leading me here to this moment has been many moments of falling into nothingness.
I found guidance in meditation, yoga practices, a community created around aspects of restoration, compassion, caring, listening. Ahhhh... that was the true beginning... "listening". In a world where I was taught to absorb and learn and then go out and become the expert in the field, I had lost the key element... the power of listening. There is a quietness even in the shouting of those that want to share all that they know. I began to feel that for all that I was learning about the world, was I really understanding the real concepts of life on this planet, or was I just floating on what I wanted to be right in the moment; to make life comfortable and effortless?
Leading me here to this moment has been many moments of falling into nothingness. After The Do Less Project began I was learning that it was not from a place of needing to teach others to "do less", but to embody what I was learning and to see if I could actually make it into something real, a living example that included a community... listening, learning, offering.
Life on this planet would not, will not, allow singularity.
The trick was and remains... what does being in nothingness mean? Unless it just allows me a momentary reprieve from the world outside of myself, I couldn't stay in doing less for long before I needed to make a living, to be a part of community, to try to establish a presence in society and human culture. I learned that I could not bury myself in the sands of nothingness, or build walls to hide away behind. Life on this planet would not, will not, allow singularity. At some point each life on the planet interacts with another on some level.
Continuing to be a part of the community that surrounds me in this moment.
This is the place I am in now. Learning to continue in making the steps to have quality interactions with others outside my walls. In a modern time that promotes being singular, this is the new challenge. How to curtail the desires to hide and "do nothing" and make a way out to be with and interact with the world beyond? I guess, that is one of the pillars of The Do Less Project. Continuing to be a part of the community that surrounds me in this moment. And I don't know where the next moments will take me. Maybe back into moments of "nothingness", quiet solitude. But knowing that I can enter back out and into the being-with and listening and noticing the opportunities and possibilities that still surround me with each step, carrying forward. ... stepping into the next.
Writer's post note: This blog was written after a year of re-building and integrating post lock-downs, a year of financial struggles, post relationship break-ups, post illness with C-19, post multiple vehicle vandalisms. Many challenges occurred in the past year and continue to feel and grow heavy as time goes on. What is true right now will not be true tomorrow or in the future. This writing is from this moment and the accumulation of feelings and thoughts up until this moment. May we all heal and learn and continue to be better listeners and participants as life flows for us on this planet.