Conscious Choice

Ask Much, The Voice Suggested
~ Jane Hirshfield, After ~

Ask much, the voice suggested, and I startled.
Feeling my body like the trembling body of a horse
tied to its tree while the strange noise
passes over its ears.
I who in extremity had always wanted less,
even of eating, of sleeping.
Agile, the voice did not speak again, but waited.
“Want more” —
a cure for longing I had not thought of.
But that is how it is with wells.
Whatever is taken refills to the steady level.
The voice agreed, though softly, to quiet the feet of the horse:
a cup taken out, a cup reappears; a bucketful taken, a bucket.

Some friendships are priceless, as they allow me to not only talk plainly about that which I am normally silent about, but also help build and expand upon my feelings and ideas, bringing coherence. My friendship with JH is one of those friendships. Talking on Monday night about moments of transition, moments that decide a path or a life, he used a metaphor that I really like: if one is riding a bike up a hill, coming to the crest, and needing to decide whether or not to continue down the other side of the hill, knowing the path would take off into the forest and most likely out of sight of the main road, what can be decided? It is possible to turn back at the crest, to ride back to the main road…but if one doesn’t, if one continues down the path that leads out of sight of the pack, it can be done just because that’s where the momentum leads…or it can be done with conscious choice.

This conversation couldn’t have come at a better time. I’ve been feeling more than a bit alienated and lost lately- definitely like I’m off on a path through the forest. I can see down the hill in front of me, and I’ve been feeling like I couldn’t do anything but just continue down the hill because the momentum was already carrying me down. Without thinking about my ability to choose, this ride was starting to feel overwhelming and scary. Thinking about choice, and remembering that I’ve been choosing this all along…well, it makes it less scary/more empowering. It reminds me of my purpose. I am hanging out in the air, reaching for the next trapeze bar, with purpose. I am choosing to grab the next bar, even though that means being suspended in the air, uncomfortable and uncertain.

Good friends and conscious choice for the win 🙂

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