White Space turned two today, and although Abbey and I chose not to mark the occasion in any overt way, the milestone’s been weighing on my mind for the last two weeks.
Truth to tell, I have a complicated relationship with the studio. On the one hand, I’m a proud co-parent, bewildered half the time that this impulsively begotten brainchild has managed to flourish in its own way in the face of so many obstacles to its growth (not least of which is the fact that it was impulsively begotten).
On the other hand, I’m also its resentful progenitor, aggrieved the other half of the time by the sheer amount of sacrifice required by the task of parenting—by the seemingly endless forfeiture of identities, freedoms, hobbies and indulgences entailed by being responsible for another entity’s survival.
If I managed to stay sane the first year, it was because of the fervently-held hope that at some point, things would get easier. Time passes, children grow, and with that growth comes increasing autonomy.
But things don’t feel like they’ve gotten easier. Every time I learn how to address a particular difficulty, a new challenge comes along (most times, it’s two to three new challenges at the same time). While I’m a veteran at tying up loose ends, it doesn’t help that I’m surrounded by perpetually fraying ropes.
Which is why when the studio’s anniversary began looming around two weeks ago, I found myself in a very strange space. Two years had gone by, just like that, and while so many, many things had changed, so many, many things had also stayed the same, in particular: that sense of never arriving, of never having everything in place, of never having all the loose ends tied, of never (finally) getting my (new) act together.
It took a while staying in that space, mulling things over (or allowing them to percolate), before it finally occurred to me that I’d gotten my objectives wrong. After seven years of on-and-off meditation practice that included both intellectual and existential reflections on impermanence, groundlessness and uncertainty, here I was, still trying to get everything together, still desperately looking for permanence, predictability and security, and still outrageously indignant that the universe wasn’t giving me what I wanted.
And while I was busy sulking, I’d overlooked the many quiet miracles that my unpredictable “little” child had been pulling like rabbits out of a hat—not least of which has been a growing community of friends and like-minded spirits who’ve made the studio their neighborhood sanctuary and wellness hub. (I owe much of my sanity to this community too.)
And so, now that White Space has turned two, I’m going to stop hoping that things get easier, stop trying to get my act together and just learn to play with whatever arises. After all, I’m already here. There’s nowhere else to get to, and frankly, nowhere else I’d rather be.