“...I've learned, if you want to create anything—peace of mind, a child, a painting of running water, a simple tier of lilies—you must crossover and hold. You must sweep past the curtain, no matter how clear. You must drop all reservations like magazines in waiting rooms. You must swallow your heart, leap across and join.”
Mark Nepo (excerpt from “Setting Fires in the Rain”)
We have all sorts of reasons to hesitate—we might fail, we might do the wrong thing, we might be rejected, we might make a fool of ourselves, we might say the wrong thing. Heck, we might even succeed, and then what would happen? Our ego-self, the one that wants us to look good in all situations and under all circumstances, to always succeed, always be the best and the brightest, is a fragile thing. It's easily injured, so we're constantly on guard to protect it from harm. But to do anything well, to be authentic and integrated, we must set ego aside, give it a pat on the head, and jump in with all of us.
My daddy, who was a sailor in the Pacific during World War II, would say it this crude way: “If you're going to half-ass it, don't do it at all!” If you're not going to invest your whole self into a relationship, or a project, or a creation, then just go for a walk, or something. When we hesitate—as all of us do at times—we have actually made a decision by default. We've decided to dedicate our lives to protecting our fragile ego. We have decided to forgo the possibility of success to avoid the shame of failure. It takes courage to risk, and possibly fail.
Billy Joel wrote a love song about it called, “The Longest Time,” in which he tells his love all his second thoughts, his reservations about involvement. That song includes these lines:
“...I don't care what consequence it brings.
I have been a fool for lesser things...”
We've all been fools for lesser things. To create anything of lasting value, we must jump across all the boundaries of ego, and join with our whole selves.
In the Spirit,