Surrender

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I have been dealing with fierce resistance to most digital activities, this new website in particular. It all got up and running fairly easily, but then all the images from my blog archives up and vanished, and I haven't had the brain space to try to delve into that. Part of this is because of travel and the continuation of our transition from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara and part of it is because I'm not entirely convinced it is a worthwhile endeavor to figure out how to get all those images back where they belong. Is anyone really going to be reading my archives? I am tempted to unload them all more than to try solving the mystery of my image disappearance. It's a new website, right? So maybe it is time to release all the writings I've accumulated since 2005 and move forward with a clean slate.

Beyond that little snag, I have also felt at a loss as to what I ought to be writing about. This year has been about transition - about moving and my husband's retirement and changes in family dynamics. It has not been about writing a book or planning an art show or getting my passport stamped. And while it is tempting to turn this into a "Finding My Way to the Quieter Life" kind of narrative, my journey as of late has simply felt too personal to share here. Not because it is bad, but because I am still figuring things out, still deep in the tangles of an unknown forest, unsure of where I am going and even more unsure of how I'm supposed to get there (wherever it is I am supposed to be headed.) I wrote here about embracing my work as a Student of Stillness, and I am, indeed, savoring this process, but there are all kinds of other things churning beneath the surface as I take more time to slice an apple, hang a picture and play with Tilda. There are details in my family and my marriage and in the fact of our brand new zip code that are all still working themselves out, and I am consistently being confronted with the choice to slide into an abysmal depression or look up to the sky and rise to the challenges, whatever they may be. I am teetering, truth be told, but doing my best to choose light, to choose softness, to choose - most of all - to surrender.

Around eight years ago, the rug was pulled out from under me when a business partnership and license deal fell to pieces. It was a time of uncertainty, unknown and upheaval, as it coincided with our move from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica and a whole new life. Despite all the anger and resistance I was feeling about all of it, I knew deep down that I had to trust that the losses I was experiencing were happening so that something else - something that was mean to be - had the space it needed to take root and grow. That something else turned out to be mixed media work and writing, my blog and my work in this community, work that likely could not have happened had that Big Deal gone through.

While I am not experiencing the recent changes in my life with the same level of resentment and frustration of that particular chapter, I do find myself going back to the same place in my heart that got me through it, the one that keeps saying, "Trust, trust." The difference this time is that I'm letting that trust float freely. In 2004 my trust had a very specific target - it was trust that Something Better Will Reveal Itself, and that Something was related to my work. This time around I'm trying not to box it in and not to give it an agenda. This time around the trust isn't directed any farther than the moment I'm experiencing and the breath that carries me through it. It is trust in what is front of me, and trust in the unknown ahead.

"...Around the age of fifty, my ideals and values began to change. Now I see great value in laziness, understood as giving up both effort and the attempt to justify my life. I have come to appreciate the teaching I have found in many religions that praises holy ignorance. And I have been discovering how to live with little consciousness...The most remarkable statement James Hillman ever made about the soul is that the soul leads us into unconsciousness, and that for our own benefit. When we fall in love or become absorbed in work or are seized by a powerful depression, we lose control and perspective. The soul takes over and from a dimmer place takes the lead. We don't know exactly what we are doing or whether we should be doing it. By remaining in this psychic fog, we may end up in a place we have been searching for all our lives...For the imagination to flourish, we may have to surrender, as do artists of all kinds, to a looser life and a more liberated imagination. We may have to say words and make things while not knowing what is going on. We may have to become somebody we never intended to be. We may have to let life happen in a way that challenges our plans, our values, and our hopes."  ~ Thomas Moore.

Christine Mason Miller

Santa Barbara, CA

Writer * Artist * Storyteller * Guide