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Blog

Zooming Out

Amber Adrian

I have decided to accept that I am a big wooden bucket of messy dysfunction. I’ve also decided that being a big wooden bucket of messy dysfunction is 100% okay. Maybe because the wooden bucket is artisanal. Crafted by a bearded gentleman in Vermont who hand-planes wood harvested from local trees with an axe that he inherited from his great-grandfather or purchased from a different artisanal workshop. It doesn’t matter.

Or maybe because it’s okay to be messy and maladjusted and chock full of undiagnosed mental abnormalities. I’m not going to call them illnesses. I don’t even want to call them abnormalities.* Because I don’t think any of this is abnormal.

(* Let’s call them curiosities. Undiagnosed mental curiosities. That’s much better. It invites exploration and wonder, rather than strife and shame.)

So we get anxious walking out into the world. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with that. Maybe the world is an anxious, angry place sometimes. It’s also full of wild oceans and butterflies and kind people doing their very best in a world that’s not always that kind. Maybe the next time you walk out into the world you’ll figure out something about how to be less anxious in the midst of it and you’ll tell me about it and I’ll say, “Hey, that’s a great idea” and suddenly we are less anxious and more able to notice the butterflies floating above the fray.

Maybe not. That’s okay too. Maybe there’s nothing wrong with hiding in your house for awhile.

We’re all just trying to accept and love ourselves as the messy, dysfunctional, divine beings that we are.

Divine and human, kind and unkind, total jerks and purely loving.

In a phrase, absolutely perfect.  

I’m starting to get mad at labels. Because they’re divisive. But they can also help us categorize our experiences and accept them and learn from them. Oh hey, look! Once again, there are two things seemingly at odds with one another occupying the same space.

Maybe we just need to zoom out. Like putting your fingers on the map screen and moving them together so you see California snuggled against the Pacific Ocean instead of the sushi restaurant on the corner.

Maybe if we give everything more room - our anger and our joy, our messiness and our maladjustment - we’ll start to see the absolute perfection in all of it.

Maybe.

I keep saying maybe because I have no idea. I throw out wild theories like half-done spaghetti in the hopes that something sticks to the wall.

But every time I zoom out on my own life, moving up into the air above it to peer down through the eyes of my higher self rather than my annoyed, anxious self, everything looks very different. Beautiful. Perfect. Fun. A way to expand instead of a mistake. An experience in loving instead of a heartbreak. An opportunity to try something new instead of failure.

Sometimes it’s hard to hold that height for long and I drop ignominiously back down into my cranky human self, but that’s allowed. That’s part of it. The challenge is blending the two - the divine and the cranky - into something resembling fully embodied divinity. Grounded height. Higher self and human self into one gleaming, sweating, star-laden meat suit. I don’t know. I’m struggling with the language because I can’t quite parse this experience. Maybe because I’m still drifting between the two, zooming up and down, in and out.

Trees and butterflies are what I think of as a solution to the zooming quandary. Nature and animals help us bridge the divine-essence-in-a-human-experience gap. Zooming in on a daisy growing through a crack in the concrete or the moss on redwood bark is its own kind of perspective and doesn’t inspire acrophobia.

So when in doubt, go find some trees. Hey, at least it’s getting out of the house. Pick big trees so that if any anxious humans wander your way, you can hide behind a handy trunk.

 Oceans are also helpful, though harder to hide behind.

Oceans are also helpful, though harder to hide behind.