“She felt that somehow, wandering through uncharted territory, we might stumble upon something that will, in an instant, seem to represent who we are at the core. That was very much her philosophy of life—to not be limited by fear or narrow definitions, to not build walls around ourselves and to do our best to find kinship and beauty in unexpected places.”
~ Maya Soetoro-Ng, speaking of Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro
Instinctively, though, we might be more inclined to avoid uncharted territory, whether because sameness feels comforting, or we’re just flat-out fatigued by perpetual change and transformation.
The recognized, familiar terrain makes us feel more comfortable. Safe. At least for awhile, on the surface.
Life often has other ideas for us, though, since the very nature of Life is perpetual change, and there’s a whole lot of that stirring up these days.
There’s a lot of Phoenixing unfolding for more than a few of us!
Even so, it can seem that some of us get served up a whole lot more change and challenge than others.
Though I’ve experienced so much of it — those perfect storms that stir up dizzying, norm-shattering, nonnegotiable upheaval — I still can’t say that I’m blasé about it.
Sometimes it really is neither desirable nor fun, though after awhile the ‘backpack’ of handy tips, tools, practices, and helpful perceptual lenses does become well-stocked.
That’s a plus, as well as experience that can be shared with others to make their way a bit more graceful, their mojo a bit more resilient and creative, and their ability to navigate those ways with a bit less trauma or isolation more solid.
So finding some fluency and even adopting a sense of ‘creative adventure’ with it might be the invitation. May as well, yes?
It’s true, though, when I really look at it.
Where those fabricated walls are — in an effort to keep fearsome change and ‘other’ out, to try to keep the fear of change at bay through the seeming safety of sameness — there’s also a stunted growth, a staleness or stagnancy that has more in common with a living death than in full-on living.
Opening those self-and-culture-created, life-stunting boundaries, creating bridges where chasms once frightened us — having our too-small perceptions and beliefs challenged and expanded by the uncharted, the unsame, the other — also feeds a new creativity, a new heartfulness, a revitalized sense of aliveness and inspiration.
This is just one of many things we share in common, at the roots of it, even with those who have been painted as ‘other’.
As Maya shares in her remembrance, where these old boundaries get shaken and opened up, we also find unexpected joy, creativity, kinship, beauty, and connection.
Where have you found joy, creativity, kinship, and beauty in unexpected places, by traveling behind your fear-walls and previous narrow perceptions?
Where are, or how might you be, walking those ‘nonnegotiable perfect-storm’ transformation paths right now?