The wind is blowing so hard it feels like I can’t hold on much longer. Even if I do, I can’t be convinced that the tree won’t get blown away itself. My little claws are grasping onto a thin branch as I look down to the depths of where I could fall. In this moment I wonder if it’s worth holding on or if I should just let go…
I’m supposed to be able to fly anyway. But somehow that doesn’t give me the confidence time after time to take the plunge. I remember on one of my trips out East, a Taoist person was spreading virtues of “not doing.” I have to wonder how I can possibly “not do.” If I don’t let go, am I not holding onto things I should let go of? If I let go into a situation that feels dangerous, am I doing what I always do—plunging into risk? The fundamental nature of “not doing” is, in itself, doing something!
I shriek as another gust blows some of my feathers along with it.
Birds aren’t supposed to think about these things. We’re supposed to operate on instinct, like our behavior is programmed. And in a way, it is. We migrate in the winter, we build nests, lay eggs, you know, we have these tiny, little bird brains and we are expected to behave in certain ways. We are expected to be hunted and captured, to look pretty and taste good. It makes me sick, really. Especially because most of us are content just being birds.
But not me. I’m different. I’ve tried escaping this knowledge, trust me. I’ve tried blending in, not thinking too hard. Hell, I’ve even tried wiping out my memory with some of those crazy berries we’re not supposed to eat.
None of it worked. I’m capable of a level of consciousness that I don’t even want. It’s a problem for a robot like me.
Don’t be surprised. Yes, I am a bird. And a robot. We’re all robots now. The thing is that most of us just don’t know it. I don’t know how or why I’m cursed with this knowledge. Some days I feel special but mostly I feel like I want to die. But robots can’t die.
I look down into the void below and I let go.
when i start something, i always want to talk about how i am starting something. it seems obvious or trite, but how else does one prepare to start a new journey? for me, i can’t help but acknowledge exactly where i am. and right now, i am on the cusp of starting a huge new adventure.
it has been months of preparations on many levels—
- Doing: logistics such as procuring funding, transportation, housing. packing up my life here and packing a bag for a whole other kind of life over there.
- Not doing: not being in school! not doing some huge performance project that takes over my life! not taking on anything more than i can handle.
- Doing: getting back into shape, training again: doing gentle, restorative practices such a yoga and foam-roller release, as well as stretching my limits by running, lifting weights, and starting to kick and punch things again.
- Not Doing: resting and healing my recurring neck/back stress injuries, sometimes to the point of not getting out of bed if that was unavailable or undesired.
- Doing: meditating, planning, dreaming, therapy, crafting, and creating.
- Not doing: taking the time to process the upcoming journey (sometimes despite the nagging feeling that i should be doing something)—what it means to me and how to best prepare myself. spending time not doing with the people and creatures i love before i go, letting go of making work so that i can make time.
by making time, i can better deal with the changes in space too. and with this sense of expansiveness, i begin a new journey. in five days, i fly away to Japan to work on a “Space Dance in a Robotic Universe.” i promise that the work i am doing is just as wild as the title suggests.
i share my preparation process with you because i’ve spent a great deal of my life pushing outward—having a lot of friends and going to parties, being a workaholic, focusing on finding my way, my path, my purpose. i was always “on the go.” because i’ve constantly pushed myself to the extreme, i now understand balance more than ever. i was living in a state of burnout until i had the clarity to disconnect for a bit. by going inward, by letting go of the world and its crazy demands, i found that i can actually find myself closer to it. go too far and you can get lost inside yourself. go too far outward, and you can lose sight of yourself and where to take the next step.
moving forward with this balance in mind, i am going to change the format—of my life, and thus, my blog. my hope is to continue to share my journey and insights with you, as well as opening it up to others. in this spirit, i welcome any questions you may be working out or any of your own writing, thoughts, interests, or concerns. i welcome this in any language or format, even. please send me a poem, a story, a drawing, a rant, a photograph, a video, a song, a review, or some stream-of-consciousness thoughts to be included. i will find the ways in which our experiences can connect, as part of one epic adventure that we can take dive into together.
send me anything! to: firstname.lastname@example.org
One should know that the Perfect Wisdom is a great mantra, is the highest mantra, the destroyer of all suffering, the incorruptible truth. A mantra of Prajñāpāramitā should therefore be proclaimed. It is this: “Gone, gone, gone to the other shore, gone together to the other shore. O Awakening! All hail!”
~from The Miracle of Mindfulness – The Heart of the Prajñāpāramitā, translated by Thich Nhat Hanh~