The Approximate Shape of You

Well, things are picking up. With Sandy and then the election I am galvanized into action again. Plans, ideas are revived. I see new ways of making them possible. We need to start doing more climate change outreach, right now when it is fresh on people’s minds and even the politicians are talking about it. We need to plan that Great Unleashing, that big party that draws the community together around the resilience challenge. We need to see that solar co-op happen, for those here who wanted solar but were shaded out, with perhaps a component that allows those with excess kilowatts to sell them on a “local solar market”…

I caution myself to be careful here. Perfect is the enemy of good and Rome wasn’t built in a day and one step at a time!  I need to stay sane, and calm, and not overwhelm myself and others. I need to fit my ambitions to my capabilities.

I’m always looking for new ways to put this to myself.

A week ago I discovered Stephen Jenkinson, who works with dying people. There is an interview with him here in which he speaks about the death of loved ones as well as of the culture. The message is that the culture is dying and that, instead of running away, we should be present at her death bed just as we should be present at our loved one’s death bed. The whole interview is worth your attention. But there was this one line which spoke to me loud and clear:

“You have to decide that maybe the crazy place you find yourself in could use a little sanity that’s got the approximate shape of you.”
Jenkinson adds that you should risk  arrogance. I don’t see arrogance in this, not anymore. I think only those who are still hiding their lights under a bushel, for whatever reason, see arrogance in it as a way of judging and justifying their own inaction. Those who have accepted that the world needs work and that “if I’m not going to do it, who else will?” see that line, on the contrary, as a caution.  Yes, there is a space there for me to fill. Yes, I shouldn’t leave it empty and I shouldn’t fill it halfheartedly. But also, I also shouldn’t overfill it, stuff it to bursting so there is no space to breathe, so it explodes and takes others down with it.
There is just that one space with that particular shape, my shape. I want to honor and serve and love it. If I do too little, that space and the world around it will let me know. If I do too much it will nudge me, if need be push me, back in line. As long as I let it.
There. Earthed again (*).
(*) Because the word “grounded” has bad childhood connotations.


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1 Comment

  1. Don’t you just love it when you feel motivated and enthusiastic? Curious about the term “arrogance.” Would perhaps “self confidence” be appropriate?

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