What I got was poverty and depression, aided by outside forces but primarily and overwhelmingly heaped on by the judgement I placed upon myself.
From Day 1 I berated myself for being selfish, I got into financial strife and had no-one but myself to blame so I added a goliath of shame to the mix.
I couldn’t enjoy the lessons and the activities because I was so focussed on the financial trauma. I couldn’t foresee a way out of it so even the future was bleak and there was no Hippogriff, Falkor or Phoenix to rescue me and take me away out of danger.
I’ve done a lot of soul searching and realised that I have never given myself permission to follow this path. I took it, I put in resignations, I signed up, paid fees and showed up but I never said, ‘Kylie you deserve this time, I give you permission, no matter what the past says, no matter what others say, no matter what the future holds, I give you permission to just create.
Permission and love allows creativity to thrive; it is stifled by fear and judgement.
In my ponderings I came across a Zen Proverb:
One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.
The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.
Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.
Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he didn't have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine.
He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away, but they kept coming back.
At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding onto the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it.
With a tiger above, another below, and two rats continuing to gnaw on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.
The story is about mindfulness, living in the present and savouring it.
In exploration of the metaphors in this story, the cliff represents the past. It’s where the man has been and where he came from, the experiences and memories of the life already lived.
The tiger is the danger of dwelling on the past. If we spend too much time looking back we deny our future. We can’t climb back up the vine. If we take too much time looking back, we feel regret and shame for mistakes we have made and are wounded by the claws of the Tiger. If we cannot let go we become timid and afraid, a victim, and we are bitten by the Tiger. The Tiger represents the impossibility of going back in time to fix things.
The bottom of the cliff represents the future; the undiscovered and unwritten. It contains all the dreams and fears, aspirations and disappointments, potential victories and possible setbacks. It is the mystery and uncertain domain of tomorrow. Looking down at the Tiger below for too long is the danger of being too concerned about what is to come is to worry and fret. We are paralysed because of the uncertainty; we cannot relax, we cannot be at our best because we are too tense and stressed. The Tiger down the bottom also represents death and the threat of our mortality.
The man’s position suspended between both Tigers of Past and Future is the present. He can’t go back and he can’t go down he only has now.
The two rats, represent day and night, they will keep coming both to gnaw and weaken the time on the vine we have. Trying to coerce the rats into leaving is trying to forestall aging and disease. Concentrating on them too much is to devote ourselves to the appearance of youth and health but that only works for a short time. We all have the inevitable meeting with the Tiger down the bottom.
So we are there holding on tightly to the vine, we can’t go up and we can’t go down and all the while day and night come and go and eat away at our time here on earth. We can struggle and cling, looking up, looking down until we fall or we can let go just a little, we can reach out and savour what is right there in the present; The strawberry. It is the incredible beauty, it is the inexhaustible bliss, it is the energy and vitality of the present moment. To pluck the strawberry is to seize the moment. To taste the strawberry is to savour the current reality, to appreciate its existence, it beauty and to be grateful.
So today I give myself permission. I am letting go and reaching out. I am not looking back and I am not looking forward but I am going to give enjoy this opportunity I have now. Finally, I am giving myself permission to write.