I spent yesterday in a nice sports car driving from Berlin to a tiny town in Poland. I had thought when I planned this trip that it was about 4 hour drive…but I was wrong. It is actually a little closer to 8 1/2. I am so deep into Poland that I am a couple miles from where it meets Belarus and the Ukraine.
First…Poland is gorgeous! I mean beautiful. I’m not sure what I thought Poland would look like exactly but that it looked like parts of Colorado, Oregon, and Kansas surprised and delighted me.
Second…solo road trips have always been one of the primary ways that I have cleared my brain when it is in shambles. And my brain has been a hot mess the last few weeks.
A typical road trip for me involves audio books, lots of old country music that I can sing at the top of my lungs, and the occasional stop to get gum and a Diet Coke. Yesterday was no different. And as always happens, the moments came that were necessary to get clear enough to think straight. One such moment came as I was belting out the following verse of Mary Chapin Carpenter’s song Passionate Kisses:
Is it to much to demand
I want a full house and a rock n roll band.
Pens that won’t run out of ink
And cool quiet and time to think
Shouldn’t I have this?
Shouldn’t I have this?
Shouldn’t I have all of this…and
Passionate kisses from you.
My eyes actually watered as I sang this refrain. I stopped singing and thought “Whoa. Hey there emotions. What’s that about?”
It didn’t take long. My mind and body knew exactly what it was about. One simple little question pushed to the surface needing attention.
When did I stop demanding things for myself?
Of myself. Sure. I demand things of myself every day. And so does everyone else. And I just say “Yes. Sure. Of course I’ll do that. Let me bend myself into a god damn pretzel to give you what you need. Oh, not good enough. Well yes of course it’s not. Let me try harder. Here let me. What’s that? You don’t value that? Ok got it. No problemo! I’ve got this! And my attitude…yes, I’ll work on that too. Oops. Let me get this all straightened up.”
What the actual fuck!?
Nope. No. Nada. UhUh. It’s just no, Sugar.
I stopped demanding things FOR myself and fell back into old patterns of doing mental and emotional gymnastics to be someone I’m not. But Mary isn’t having it and neither am I.
As I continue to drive and it all became clear, I said aloud “Fuck that.”
Fuck that indeed.
Six months ago I made a plan. It was a plan to try harder. To expect less. To be more still and less fiery. I was going to be good and nice. This was and is a ridiculous plan…and as anyone with half a brain could have predicted, it backfired.
It backfired because…
- I always try hard. Trying harder isn’t a thing I need to worry about. I blow it sometimes, but it isn’t from lack of effort. That’s for damn sure.
- I always expect MORE not less. More of myself. More of others. More of the universe. More joy. More speed. More creativity. MORE. Not less.
- I don’t want to be still at the expense of losing my fire. I want to be still because it blesses me and brings me peace. And I want to be fiery, because it’s what builds the things, gets the plan moving, encourages the people, creates the laughter. Fire lights fires. Stillness has it’s place. So does fire.
- I don’t want to be good and nice. I want to be kind, compassionate, interested, engaged, and passionate. Good and nice are dull. I want to be real and alive. I want to be authentic, even when it means showing the bad parts. I want to demonstrate the art of failing and daring greatly. I want to be honest and a bit reckless with my love. Yes, to be reckless at loving people…that is a legacy I could live with.
It turns out that this is a hostage situation. I am the hostage and the person holding the hostage. And I have a list of demands that includes being all of myself and pens that don’t run out of ink.
Oh and…passionate kisses.