There was something about the wind… Perhaps it was the direction, or maybe its focus. Whatever synergy the weather brought kept my wind chime tolling the same sequence again and again, all night and all day, all night and all day.
It was beautiful… Singular. Mysterious. Compelling.
Yet, 48 hours in, I developed a sort of animosity towards it.
And so unfolds a lesson.
Now, a small disclaimer – I’m fully aware (and occasionally envious) that not everyone gets “caught up” in the pursuit of their “soul-speak”, if you will – that deeper gift or two (or more) that keeps them ticking. Some are content to keep those private and let them flourish on the side (which I fully support, if that’s your way).
This said, some of us feel a relentless tug… And I’d wager that more than one of us feels pulled in more than one direction – the underlying theme being that innate craving for our spirit to sing.
There is a certain introspection that comes with resting on the cusp of another year, with my fair share of life experiences tucked away, that calls me to recognize that particular things bubble to the surface again and again. Yes – in fact, I’ve often described myself as a “walking juxtaposition,” for there is a lot of bubbling! Yet, I’ve come to realize the root of this juggling act as the very human need for many levels of nurturing.
Something else I’ve learned… It’s ok. And it will NEVER be perfect.
How often do we read about simplicity these days? A noble aspiration, indeed – and there is, truly, a place for simplicity. “A clear space makes for a clear mind” and all that. But we humans are complicated creatures, and perhaps in lieu of constant forced whittling of (or bemoaning) the richness of life that befalls us (if we take two steps back to observe), we could embrace gratitude and allow ourselves to be full.
Much of my personal struggle rests with the constant compulsion to fix and fill.
For example, I’d been immersed all day in work that stimulates me and which I’m driven to do well – yet I (in my own mind) wasn’t able to “achieve greatness,” so I made a point of littering other pieces of my “true self” around me – finished knitting to weave-in, a half started crochet piece, 5 of 12 buttons of needle felting staring up at me… and a box of oboe reeds, a flute, a fiddle, and a penny whistle…music stand beckoning. A few paragraphs and a list of opening lines for a story on a computer screen. And then… There was dinner cooked but carelessly served, and children, not quite content, on the floor below. 1/3 of the house vacuumed. 1/3 of the laundry done. A husband saying, “What on earth are you doing?”
Instead of taking a moment of gratitude for that which had been accomplished and remembering its value, and then a moment to create space for the things that were to come next, while acknowledging the importance and beauty of each, I had become Sisyphus with her proverbial boulder in a cycle of endless punishment and failure.
I allowed myself to believe that I was a prisoner (i.e., one gift only, and not your favorite!) – and that if I quietly surrounded myself with enough of what I “truly loved” in half-finished chaos, I’d somehow be swallowed by it and freed from everything else I perceived to be drudgery at any given moment. (As I write this, I hope that I’m not the only one prone to these sophomoric lapses…)
So, “The epiphany?” you ask.
I have a full and beautiful life. Every last bit of it, even the most difficult challenges and pieces I occasionally detest! I am blessed with a loving family, a wonderful community, and a bounty of gifts, large and small, that can be used to serve and nourish. We can always strive to be better, to simplify and to balance, but perfection is unattainable, and I am in my right place.
When the chiming suddenly ceased, the air was filled with a heavy silence, and despite my earlier annoyance, I felt the clench of a poignant sense of loss.
Each of our gifts is a precious thing, but gifts are not always meant to play alone. Some days I am a better nurturer, on others an artist, and others a technician, and some days it’s something altogether different. The magic comes from how these gifts are woven together in the ebb and flow of the music that is life.
As for that, I’ve decided that there’s no harm in a second (and third and fourth) wind chime. I’ve just committed to making sure the chords play nicely together when the wind so dictates. (A 4-part choir never hurt anyone.)