Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A New Leaf

"Not all who wander are lost." ~J.R.R. Tolkien

Fall almost always ushers in a time for me of re-examination and renewal.  Perhaps it's my autumn birthday that makes me feel my life anew this time of year.  Or all those years of starting school after Labor Day, each school year a brand new adventure.  Whatever the reason, I am honoring the pull once again.

A couple weeks ago, I was chatting with my neighbor -- a fellow blogger -- and she asked me what my new project would be now that my meditation project was done.  First of all, I have to admit to being completely taken aback that she had followed my meditation project on my blog in the first place (I'm sure I only mentioned it casually once upon a time...).  So in flustered response, I came up with the lame and noncommittal excuse that I was tired of the structure of a formal "project" and thought I'd just take it easy and see what comes.

Ha!  Who am I kidding?

For as much as my meditation practice has fostered a certain degree of ease and lack of frenzied striving in my life, I imagine I will always be the perpetual student looking for ways to invite novel experiences into my day-to-day.  Ways to challenge the status quo...especially when the status quo isn't fulfilling or life-giving anymore.  Who doesn't want to be inspired?  Seeking?  Wondering?

This tendency of mine has often been seen by others, and therefore -- for a time -- myself, as "wandering".  However, this kind of inquisitiveness isn't a bad thing.  Yes, it's taken me from one interest to another and back again.  Yes, I admit that without a certain degree of discipline and focus, it has kept me from delving as deeply as I might like into any one thing (Oh, look! There's a bird!).  But it has led me to some pretty amazing experiences that I wouldn't trade for the world.  And so it is that I've come to appreciate my curiosity as part of my insatiable passion for life...and of course, part of my charming personality (grin).

There is simply too much of life to live to stop being curious.  It used to be, not all that long ago, that my search for the new was about "bettering" myself.  During my meditation project, I discovered within me the misguided belief that my life was a waste if I wasn't constantly striving to improve myself.  Of course underneath this belief was the feeling that I wasn't good enough as I was...that I needed to be doing something -- something remarkable, even -- in order to prove my worth.  Over the nine months I was chronicling my progress, I came to let go of the drive to pursue anything new (which, I guess, was new?).  I simply set aside this idea of "bettering myself" to see what would come.

What I've come to find now is that my interest in a new project feels pure.  I'm not interested in self-improvement per se, certainly not out of a feeling of lack, but just experience for experience's sake.  It is time to embrace my wandering, my passion, my curious nature.  It is time to explore and discover what my adventurous spirit craves and to feed it -- trusting that in the feeding, I am nourishing myself, heart and soul.

But that then begs the question...what, oh what, shall it be?//

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