Starting Over

If someone approached you and asked, would you like to start over, would you accept their invitation?

Would there be any hesitation on your part? Maybe you’d need to spend a moment considering what aspects of your life you’d want to change, to begin again.

If I gave you a few moments and invited you to do a little inventory, what do you suppose you’d come up with?

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. While it might have begun as a fun exercise, it’s turned into something much more engaging, and I find myself drawn toward it in a way I didn’t expect.

I started out wondering about things like, my eating habits, physical exercise routines, sleep patterns, and how I spend my leisure time. These things are important to me, and I have made numerous changes, and each change feels positive to me and gives me a sense of satisfaction, as long as I consider them ‘aims’ and not ‘objectives’ (see my post on this subject for more, if interested).

I found I needed to move beyond these. Something else was calling to me. It didn’t appear immediately, as if it might want to stay hidden.

What could it be?

As I often do, I sat back and gave myself a few moments of quiet to consider. I wanted to open up some space inside me to receive an answer. I’m tempted to move too quickly, as if I will run out of time, so I don’t always give myself a chance to listen. I have to temper that default setting, so I sat in silence and waited.

What filled the gap surprised me.

I felt an overwhelming sense of pressure on my chest, like a very heavy weight was laying across me, forcing me downward. I knew at once what it was.

It was the weight of all of my cultural training. All the things I’ve been taught to believe, regardless of whether they make any sense. It’s interesting to me that they are not all spoken things. Many have been absorbed from what I see modeled around me. I take them all in and they sort themselves into places inside me. They fit into file cabinets I can’t see but know are there and they come out whenever their name is called.

I know it’s going to be challenging to sort through them in order to know which to keep and which to release. So much so, that I’m not sure I’m equal to the task. That is until I realize how much the ones that don’t benefit me, weigh me down and hold me in place.

I am tired of this constant process. I am tired of living with these inconsistencies and untruths. And this becomes fuel for me. It propels me forward.

You might be wondering, what cultural trainings I am talking about. I am too. I don’t believe I know them all. But I do know enough of them to get started.

Here’s one.

Part of American culture is expressed in the statement, “All men are created equal.” I have so many problems with this. For one, it’s the use of the word, “men”, rather than “people”. I rail against the idea that my wife, daughter, granddaughter, mom, sister, and all other women would be immediately excluded. Some would say, give our forefathers some slack, they were only using the language of their time.

I can’t. I won’t. It would not have been any more ‘right’ then, than now.

Even if this word were changed, the idea itself is only given lip service in our culture. We are not treated equally. Anyone with eyes can see this any day of the week.

We are not equal, but I don’t believe that’s even the key. What feels right to me is that we are all unique, all worthy of love, all part of the divine. What separates us from seeing this is what our cultural training teaches us.

That’s one thing I aim to change while I start over.

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