i used to think thickening my skin would keep me safe. that the more layers i clothed myself in, the further i would be from suffering. “be tough. grit your teeth. don’t show the storm brewing inside of you.” i sometimes still flinch at my own feelings, shocked by how raw it can be.i
but my father said, “if you live according to the rules of god, life flows.” i am not sure what that means for him, but to me that meant something like this:
••••live with your soul on your sleeve.
there is no need to push back against the turbulence of time. we are not meant to swim against the current of chance and change, but rather with it.••••
in practice, wearing my soul on my sleeve is like letting that thick skin peel loose. less toughening, and more softening. even the callouses of history that had been hardened to the point of stubborn stagnation, even the parts of me i want to protect because i fear getting hurt, even all of that…finding the courage to let those parts be soft again.
as a challenge to myself, i like to let my emotions swing like a pendulum. these days i am trying to make a point to feel and exist so sensitively.
i cry when it rains, when the sun rises, when the sun sets, when the moon becomes pregnant with its own light, when a new leaf shows it’s face, when a sparrow finds itself a branch to rest upon.
i laugh at babies, smile at old age, blush at the sight of loved ones, and drench myself in dreams and fantasies.
i am sensitive to everything, but i realised, when i am “living with god” as my father might say, i do not feel unsafe. in fact, i have noticed that the more brazen i am about being open to sensing and experiencing life and its changes, the safer i feel. perhaps it is because i am no longer creating barriers where there should be pores, and i am letting life move through me rather than against me.
I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.
| Jorge Luis Borges
“If you inherently long for something, become it first. If you want gardens, become the gardener. If you want love, embody love. If you want mental stimulation, change the conversation. If you want peace, exude calmness. If you want to fill your world with artists, begin to paint. If you want to be valued, respect your own time. If you want to live ecstatically, find the ecstasy within yourself. This is how to draw it in, day by day, inch by inch.” — Victoria Erickson