One might say, I'm a bit stubborn. I have the tendency to hold onto ideas and thoughts and desires and to make them a reality. And there's a beautiful, energetic, and helpful drive that is within me. I applaud those drives! And alongside those drives, is the drive to not ask for help. You might imagine that that is a stubborn combination. The conflicting energies of helpful without asking for help have gotten me into some exhausting and emotional situations in my life. And my stubborn energy perpetuates these situations a bit, because why would I ask for help if I can do it on my own? Granted on my own I'll be exhausted and emotional, but it will be done. It's a bit of a conflicting situation going on inside of me. And one that is the center of this mystical experience.
It was early September, which meant that I was coming up on a big event for a treasured friend of mine that coincided with the beginning of the academic year. What this meant was that I was in a place where I was giving a lot of energy outwards and not giving a lot of energy inwards. I currently work in a school and the beginning of the year is a flurry of preparing everything while offering heartfelt "see you laters" to the joys of summer season time freedom. Hand-in-hand with that was the big life event for a treasured friend of mine, a baby shower for my best friend's first child. It was an exciting time and I walked into that early September weekend feeling excited, emotional, and a bit exhausted.
As preparations continued for the baby shower and the beginning of the school year, I went to my best friend's house to share in dinner and time together. We ordered Chinese food with her family and sat around the table talking, laughing, and enjoying the companionship of one another. During the clean up, my friend's aunt passed around dessert - in this case - fortune cookies. I felt the stubborn, but persistent, hope of a mystical moment thrum to life inside of me. I opened my fortune cookie and....nothing. There was nothing inside. A few quiet remarks of, "oh that sucks" played like a soundtrack behind my own thoughts of, "how silly am I to have hoped for that mystical moment." I tried to shrug it off and ate the fortune cookie, when my friend's aunt said that I should have another one and passed me a new cookie. There was that stubborn and persistent hope again. It kept a quiet beat inside of me as I opened the second cookie and unraveled the fortune inside.
"Following the path of others is like walking into a room with the lights off."
"Hm," I thought to myself as I started to eat the cookie and reread the fortune. "Following the path of others is like walking into a room with the lights off." The stubborn and persistent hope inside of me kept beating. I didn't remark on the fortune outwardly as I tossed it lightly into the trash and began to gather my things to head home. I said goodbyes, got into my car, and drove back home to finish preparing for the baby shower the next day. My internal hope kept beating and I had the feeling I wasn't done with this fortune just yet.
The next day went off beautifully. Baby and mom, friendship, family, laughter, and joy were all celebrated at the baby shower. Smiles and excitement were exchanged as chosen family of all ages gathered together for this next development in my friend's life. As the group prepared to leave and hopes and wishes were shared with my friend, I found myself feeling emotional while packing things up. That feeling continued into the car where I headed to a tattoo appointment with Erin and Alicia. The feeling continued on our walk to our appointment where I started sharing about the events of the past two days. I talked about my energy output and the baby shower. I talked about the beginning of the academic year and I talked about my fortune cookie. I tried to glide over the disappointment of not having my hoped for mystical moment as I retold the story of the first no fortune cookie to the second fortune cookie. "I opened the second cookie and the fortune was, 'following the path of others is like walking into a room with the lights off.'"
"Wait," I said. "'Following the path of others is like walking into a room with the lights off.' Following someones prescribed, or predetermined, or desired path for your life is like walking into a dark room and bumping into shit that you can't see." The world came into focus. I was preparing for another academic year while also embracing the feeling that my life's work could expand outside of the educational facility. I had helped to facilitate the celebration of my best friend's baby shower, while being no where near the time or desire of having that similar life event for myself. I had been subconsciously battling these feelings of, "you're timing is off, Mary. You're off, Mary. Something is wrong with you, Mary," under the disguise of the new academic year and celebrations for my friend. The world came into sharper focus. If I didn't embrace the feeling that my life's work could expand outside of the educational facility, I would become listless and miserable in a figurative dark room, trying to find meaning that everyone else told me was there. If I was on the same path as my best friend, preparing to enter motherhood and this next chapter, I would be confused and freaked out in a dark room bumping into everything. My world's focus became even sharper. If I stepped onto any path that wasn't mine, I would feel and would be in the dark. I would be trying to turn on the light, in a room and place that wasn't meant for me. And my path and my room and my place was wonderful, because it was mine. My world's focus expanded and I was back on the sidewalk, walking to the tattoo appointment. I think I tried to explain what just happened to Erin and Alicia, but honestly? I don't really remember. I walked into the tattoo shop in a bit of a daze. How long had I been fumbling around in dark rooms, bumping into things that weren't mine, all because I thought that I should be there? And look at how bright my current room, my current path was now that I embraced that it was mine. My weary but stubborn and persistent hope thrummed in my chest. I felt my mind smile and my insides feel content. "You've got it," my heart and mind and mystical world aligned to tell me.
Later that night, I laid in bed at home and looked at my new work of art. A continuous line of a flower with an abstract butterfly inside. One line, one motion, where time doesn't matter because everything is part of the bigger piece of art work. Where every part of this path, my path, was well lit, because it was mine. I smiled as I gazed down at my arm and thought about my desire for mystical moments. And then I started laughing. Just when I thought mystical moments had passed me by, they came back via fortune cookies, friends, art work, and a walk down the street. My stubborn, persistent, energetic, helpful but not always accepting of help heart beat a happy tune inside of my chest. Thank goodness for my stubborn drive, my energy, my helpfulness, and my friends - who offered help by being there during that mystical walk down the street. Thank goodness for the hope in mystical moments. Thank goodness for my path, well-lit, because it is my own. Thank goodness.