5 months ago, I was so lost I forgot to worry about disappointment. so I went ahead and asked the silence of my bedroom for what I wanted. weariness from enough sleepless nights had purified my heart, and it was without ego or fear that I clarified an ache. I wanted to be invited to europe to write. that's how much I knew. I said it out loud to no one. I said it out loud to the great everything. and then a few weeks later, 2 days after I finally found the courage to leave a relationship that my heart had known I must leave for some time, I received an email from a stranger in the austrian alps, inviting me to come to bad gastein to write. I laughed out loud. I cried tears of joy. I said thank you to the sky. so pure was the sign, so clear was the message. the mystical speed with which my solitary cry had traveled across the ocean, to the perfect pair of ears, to meet the matching heart of a woman named, nadin, whom I did not know, yet could feel I knew so well.
somewhere between asking and trusting, the magic happens. and while I have seen this to be true so many times, it is tempting to doubt. there are plenty of pitfalls along the hero's journey, a steady supply of thought bubble booby traps-- I don't have enough money to live my dreams. I don't have enough time to start a family. I shouldn't ask for what I want because it might break me, or embarrass me, or make someone else uncomfortable for 10.3 seconds. these thoughts are the robbers of the richness of life. they will take everything if you let them.
but because I have tasted the truth with my own tongue, my guts growl for its nourishment. and it is with this hunger that I aim my arrow.
some people are great at asking for what they want, and with what seems like little effort, trust that they will get it. as far as I can tell, a lot of these people grew up in southern california, where the land supports such claims. I did not grow up in california. I grew up in the dry treeless plains of southwestern kansas, where you were the land’s bitch, never knowing if tomorrow would bring a life-choking blizzard, or a bone-drying drought. you prayed the crops would yield. you hid in the neighbor's basement when the winds turned to violence. you didn’t assume anything. you didn’t expect much. and that is its own kind of holding pattern.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I eventually found my way to southern california, where warm sunshine flows limitless from a golden tap and mountains of carne asada sizzle in the stardust. a small town girl from the midwest has much to learn in the land of plenty. it is during my california education that I began to understand that wanting and asking must kiss each other squarely on the mouth, or rather, must make sweet sweet love if they are to give birth to desire’s child. when wanting and asking meet, the conception of having is made possible. but having, that’s the tricky part, especially if you grew up thinking it was wrong to want, and worse to get. to stay in a state of lack proved your worthiness to the lord, your humble servitude to the struggle only gave you more hope for heaven. but ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth? ooh, heaven is a place on earth. at the precious age of 10, I was fortunate enough to be given a mixtape from my friend, shandi, who lived on the other side of our tiny town. and thanks to belinda carlisle, it was brought to light that perhaps, perhaps, heaven wasn’t impossibly far away, and perhaps, perhaps I didn’t have to wait to get there. perhaps heaven is a place between asking and trusting.
asking is not easy for me, and it can feel deeply uncomfortable, and at times almost physically impossible. it's like taking your heart out of its cage and putting it on a table for others to see and touch and do what they will with it. what if someone drops it? what if someone has it for lunch? we are anxious to hide our hearts because we know in our bones how precious they are, how delicate. but we easily forget the crucial difference between protecting and hiding, and in keeping our hearts from harm we must be careful not to also keep them from the light. the heart cannot live in darkness. be brave gentle heart, take it out, show it off, let people understand the contours of your caring. when we expose the tender red of our insides, people are so much more gentle then we give credit. I believe for every brute, there are 100 patron saints for our sanctuary hearts. show me the way to your heart, in my journey there, I will remember my own. tell me what you ache for, tell me what wakes you in the night and won't let you return to dreaming. let us connect to the shared experience of being alive.
and if you have the courage to be vulnerable enough to give voice to what it is your heart truly longs for, can you find even more strength to soften, to surrender, to trust that life is moved to make manifest?
asking is the action. trusting is the surrender. in dancing between acting and surrendering we can find joy in living. finding the grace in moving between the two. knowing when it's time to fight and when it's time to lay down our weapons. the action of asking is hard, but the surrender of trusting is even harder. and the surrendering is so important because that is where we create the space for life to reveal itself. we may not get the specific thing we asked for, we may get something better or completely different, but what we will receive is the gift of growth, and the opportunity for expansion, which the universe is eternally calling all things to do. we will move another step closer from what we think we may know towards who we actually are.
sometimes we don’t know the best route to take to get there and if we can only trust the guiding forces, or the supposed “set-backs”, or the detours as just another vital part of our epic tale, we can joyfully engage with the adventure of being alive. I don’t know exactly how I want to get there, I don’t even know exactly where “there” is, I just know that I must go. and the process of going is one in which the more I ask, and the more I surrender after the asking, the more I find myself living in the heaven on earth I am interested in. and if heaven is a place on earth, then hell is surely in the next town over and always inviting you for a visit. hell is not believing in good things. hell is not wanting, not asking, not hoping because you are afraid you can’t handle the disappointment of not getting. you can handle it. asking is having the courage to believe in good things. hope is the boat that gets you to the other side. trust is the currency that covers your heart’s rent for the lovely little flat in your chest. make sure you get an apartment with plenty of windows and plenty of light. trust you can afford it.