Thirty Days of Joy ~ Day 20 ~ Aimlessly Headed North

by Phyllis Capanna © 2012 joyreport

Today I am aimless. There are aims I probably should have, but in my innermost compass, there is a void where the pull on the arrow should be. When true north is a void I guess that’s where the compass points, and voila! A direction is found: nowhere.

I don’t mean to be imprecise or facile in my reasoning, but I do make a practice of trusting the Consciousness that drives my actions, inactions, attention, and aims. I trust that when aimlessness occurs, there is wisdom and necessity in it. I also trust that by gazing into myself, I am gazing into the human Soul, not individual Story.

I love stories. Humans seem to be wired to make stories and to live them. Once you believe in time — before, now, and later — you have started to construct a story. I have some stories about myself that I just can’t stop telling. They become a sort of prison that I can’t get out of.

As an exercise, I once had to tell a story about my life over and over again until it lost its power over me, until it started to unravel and sound false and rote. I got to the point of being sick of it, of hating it, of being embarrassed by it, but I didn’t get to the place where it lost its power. Over time, though, it began to lose its hypnotic ability to pull me into emotional places that hurt.

Eventually, I forgave everyone, especially God. Finally, I forgave myself for having a life like that, and, ultimately, for being me. Forgiving myself is a process. It happens more than once. When it comes to life, I tend to hold a grudge. My mind creates an idea of how things will go or should have gone, and it usually involves me being wise, flawless, brave, and clever (and thin); and it has other people going out of their way to help me, to consider my point of view, and to give me things I need. You see how I am often disappointed and need often to forgive.

Where do these ideas come from? Where did I get the idea that I should know things before I know them? Why do I think other people were born to please me? How did I come to define success as something related to fame and money, but not related to being a tolerant person? Where did I go wrong?

Forgiveness says that I did not go wrong, just that I went the only way I could.  Forgiveness says that I can learn and grow, and therefore I’m not doomed to make the same mistakes again. It reminds me, though, that I probably will, because I am not flawless, sometimes not brave, often too clever, and, well, thin won’t help.

I didn’t want to write about forgiveness and God! Sure, I wanted to write about Soul, not my soul. I wanted to be aimless, to follow ants and toddlers to nowhere and then to bed. I wanted to stroll without topic from beginning to end of this essay. But aimlessness didn’t stay put! It lead me into someplace distinct and focused and a little uncomfortable. Damn. Didn’t I write just yesterday and possibly the day before that and the day before that about leaving the comfort zone to find joy?

Writing helps anchor me, for sure, providing a comforting reference for navigating the Void. There is always the tip of the pen, the surface of the paper, my own breathing, and the sitting still that writing requires. It’s as if, by following the impulse of the moment as truly as I am able, I am writing a love letter to Life every time I sit down to do this. It’s not a neat or fancy finished love letter. It’s a perpetual first draft, with ink blotches and crinkled pages. It’s a beginning, each time.

What matters is that I do it. I don’t have a single thing to say about joy tonight. I started out happily aimless and ended up writing letters to the moment, and I’m still clueless about joy. Today I’m no authority, not even an author. Just an aimless, trusting, unskilled human trying to find true north in a story about love.


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