i realized something this morning about stepping forward. sometimes i lack the confidence. i have strong visions and dreams, but in order for them to be manifested i need total confidence, which is hard to muster because everything is and can only be at this point an experiment. no one knows the way forward. there are infinite ways forward. this is the boon and the bane. we are all like forest pilgrims wandering along trails at twilight. yes, the dawn will come, but first we must each walk through that dark night.
and it’s not like our parent’s parent’s paths where to be x (a firefighter, a nurse, a statistician, a professor, a factory-worker, etc) you took the knowable & set steps of a + b to reach a known end. the past systems are inherently based on that which i do not choose to support. cops & the government are corrupt. being a professor means jumping through so many hoops before i can say what i want to say- and then can i even say it? when i’m a doctor, tell me that i am not subject to all the the bureaucratic bullshit, that i’ll not be subject to the insurance or pharma companies or the time-crunches- that i’ll truly get to sit with my patients. that being a mainstream production farmer doesn’t mean the pillaging and raping of our soils and sullying of our waters. that if i’m going to be a 5th grade teacher, that i’ll actually teach the untruths they teach kids in schools- that i’d ever be willing to stand through that. these are the structures which currently keep society going, but just like our unsustainable economy, they are going to crumble, crumble. the truth rising within us cannot stand the compromise.
and new visions, more earth-centered, people-centered visions of justice & beauty have to take their place. experiments, truly. and because we don’t know the steps from a to b (we haven’t been there before), it takes a leap of faith to get there. and, unlike in the past, the path is not pre-planned steps forward resulting in a known outcome. the path is circuitous, winding, currently unknown- tested and changed as we go- unending. this calls for great levels of flexibility, ingenuity, humor, collaboration, strength and resolve. this calls for stepping into the possibility of failure, which is one of the greatest taboos in our culture.
if a doctor fails, she loses her job. if a so-called expert of our culture fails, what happens to their reputation? it drops accordingly. failure is the biggest no-no in an expert culture because it points to lack of competency, which calls into question this seemingly unshakeable cultural framework from which our confidence in the experts is derived. but as many are finding out, doctors don’t actually know what they’re doing. yes, they are trained and can know & do certain things, but hopefully, as trained as they are, they’ll readily admit the fact that the human organism is still a mystery to human understanding. that interactions happen holistically (if you interact with one part of the human system, other parts will be effected; say the thyroid is not separate from the adrenals is not separate from the heart & nervous system) and therefore are basically uncontrollable in their essence.
we must begin to see failure as a lesson. as a chance taken and something learned from it. in order to bloom from within the falling structures, a building that is burned down for instance, we must open our faces to the sun like a flower in the rubble. currently the way is not known, so it leaves the paths for trailblazers, pioneers, and the adventurous sort. the majority of human population hasn’t been trained or trained themselves to be risk-takers, dreamers, adventurers, or forest pilgrims on an experimental journey. the two gods of security and safety haven’t allowed that, and for good reason: people want to stay alive after all (and save face: have you seen that trailblazer? what are they even doing? – hah!). gotta stay alive to even be here. and there’s that big fear of death, the ultimate failure, looming if our failures shock us too much.
but i wager that big steps are needed. at least for me. i can speak for me. the pathway between the synapse of vision and the synapse of fruition is missing. my confidence to fully invest, commit in and walk the unknown, experimental path from the synapse of vision to the synapse of fruition is untested, uncertain, unformed. i haven’t seen it. it’s not prescribed. creativity, chance-taking and stepping out on a limb isn’t encouraged unless you succeed.
but we have to change that. i have to walk the path between the synapses before i know the end result. failure has to be a viable option now. it’s currently the only name for what happens when an experiment doesn’t turn out as hoped. but experimenting will lead us to the future. experimenting — read, failure– is the way forward. unless we all get it right on the first try, which is highly unlikely. but hey, anything’s possible.
this is a call forward, all of you holding visions within and not knowing the first step. this isn’t our grandparent’s rodeo, where most of them knew what they were doing or had prescribed roles. each of us is called to be the unique co-creator of the life that we live in. which means, living within experimentation. try, try, trying again. we are the ones we’ve been waiting for. if not us, then who? if not now, when? soon enough, i hope. we need each other. we need our fullest selves to step forward in full belief, no longer letting the fear of failure (or whatever holds us back!), stop the journey from the synapse of vision through the thicketed and sun-mottled wood path trailblazing toward and building the new structures within the synapse of fruition. it will be lifelong as christina rossettis’ poem up-hill depicts,
Does the road wind up-hill all the way?Yes, to the very end.Will the day’s journey take the whole long day?From morn to night, my friend.