A relentless refrain echoing over and over and over in the lives of everyone.
Robbing us of happiness.
Of ingress even.
You must do this.
And often we end up reaching for things beyond our reach, hoping to comply or be acceptable or valued, through deeds & thoughts & actions we cannot honestly do.
Or through dishonesty, about deeds or thoughts or actions we could not do.
In work it is simple.
I can study & obtain a qualification.
I can learn & become experienced.
My performance can be rated on concrete measurables & I can make progress, get promoted or move into a different career, based on what I am able to do or not able to do.
In living it is not so simple.
Driven by whatever it is we’ve allowed to become our driver.
Its not so simple, espescially when mixed with the expectations of religion and parents and up-bringing, alongside culture & personal desire, driving us with guilt or want towards misplaced prospects.
You must be loving.
You must be joyful.
You must a bearer of peace.
All these ‘musts’, all these demands are hard.
You must tithe.
You must attend.
You must progress.
And then alongside them, walk the ‘must nots’, requiring even more ability.
You must not swear.
You must not drink.
You must not fornicate.
Or in the words of an ancient time & tribe, written in stone: Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not take the name of Jehovah thy God in vain. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Honor thy father and thy mother. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor’s.
And I am overwhelmed.
Tired out by trying.
And being reminded that I must try.
And being excluded, if or when I seemingly do not try hard enough.
And I am overwhelmed.
Tired out by hearing all the ‘shalts’ & ‘shalt nots’.
No one even attempting to suggest how on earth I could be able to achieve all this.
Be all this.
Do all this.
And then, in my being comes a whisper, as I sit cross-legged on the cold bland tile floors of our sixth floor apartment, looking north through the window, distance obstructed by row-upon-row of battered buildings, breathing deeply, inhaling love, happiness & peace, as I exhale fear, discontent & heartache.
At river’s edge.
Roots sunk deep down into the soft moist soil.
Branches growing strong.
Blossoms pushing color into the warmth of Spring.
Succulent fruit feeding others towards Summer’s end.
Faling as well.
To rot & die.
To bring new life, from welcoming dregs.
New sapplings’ branches reaching up.
Mingling with the old.
All fed together, from the river & the soil.
Effortlessly being what they are.
As they should.
And so it should be.
And for me.
Demand a fallacy.
For I do not have to try.
What I was created to be.
I do not have to endeavour to sink my roots.
I do not have to strive to push new branches, leaves or blossoms.
I do not have to exert to produce some fruit & seed.
Along the rhythm of the seasons.
Perhaps we become uprooted by pomp & circumstance, awareness numbed to what we are?
Convinced into conviction of plasticity, being made to assume the desired form of many, but myself or my Origin.
And if I breathe.
I could see again.
Who I’ve been made.
Intended to be rooted in (s)He who is.
Effortlessly being who I am, instead of trying to do what I hope or is hoped of me.
Infused with ability.
Like the seed pushing through the soil.
The sappling being born into a tree.
To bring shade to the weary traveler.
To bear fruit for the hungry.
To bring to life, the new.
And so I sigh, before I rise with gratitude from my humble meditations, the hope of awareness, for you & for me, that we may be the tree.
As we live rooted at river’s edge.
No longer constricted by demand or smothered by expectation.
Being who we are.
Who we were created to be.
As we see the Gift of Ability, so natural, along the Way of the Gift.
You have ability.
As you live.
Along the river’s edge.
You are the tree.
You carry blossoms.
As you breathe.
So breathe. Inhale love, happiness & peace. Exhale fear, dissapointment & discontent. Feel your roots in the soil. Feel the Son on your leaves. The push of blossoms on your branches. The weight of fruit.
And know. You are able.
Not to comply.
Everything your Origin created you to be.
That is your Gift. Mine. Ours. Along 礼品之路.