Let me tell you about the danger of the Mistaken World.
I have two women living inside of me. One is young and sprightly, competent and eager; she flies about fixing, creating, solving and doing for others. Once in motion, the Project Manager finds it nearly impossible to stop. Exhaustion stops her. Felled limbs under heavy unexpected snow. She feels torn and confused by the destruction that comes, every time, as a result of too much work, too much speed. Her body breaks down, her emotions follow. Hers is a Mistaken World. The world we make and read about in newspapers every morning. This is not the natural world. It is a manufactured freak snowstorm of activity we mistake, every day, for reality.
We may not recognize this world as mistaken, having rarely stepped outside of it.
The other woman in me lives quietly, a modest older sister who notes the beauty in limbs, green or bare, aloft or downed. I call her the Oldtimer. She is drawn into activity by what is around her, knowing that her main job, her heart job is to appreciate. She lives in the center. She waits to be led. She is not fooled by fury—furious accomplishment, furious acquisition, furious judgment, division, rejection or need. She smiles when her eyes open on May 24 to snow falling into her green maple tree. She sees the overweighting all down the street. She hopes for the least disfigurement of these grand shade trees.
Then she gets out her hand saw to clear a path.
We choose to inhabit the Mistaken World until it inhabits us. We’re blinded to our own very direct access to wisdom. We look to others, to churches, to Wall Street, to Google and e-zines. We accept the overweighting—as if human industry excused every stupidity, every wound inflicted, every lost limb. Mistakes en masse create misery. We all feel it. We fear and worry over it. We even despair there’s little we can do. Recognizing the Mistaken World might seem to take us far in righting the wrong, but analyzing a problem usually increases the trance it holds over us. Would you stare down an angry rattler until it told you how to escape?
It is simpler and far more effective to ask how do we recognize the real world?
I can suggest ways, but only you will know how to get real:
Contact your heart.
Be grateful, and patient, so that what comes to you is enough.
Let everything around you speak its piece.
Let slights move through you.
Stand up for beauty.
Sit down and wait.
Welcome the unknown.
Get old, whatever your age, get calm, get simple. Pay attention, Oldtimer. You are in this world to appreciate it. Appreciation is our native human state.
Clear the decks for delight. Ask and you will receive.
Let’s get started.