Wizards & Lizards
“What will you do now?” solicits my lawyers. “What do you really, really want?” beg my friends. “How will you make the payment?” demands the mortgage broker. Gandalf reminds me, “All [you] have to decide is what to do with the time that is given [you].” Oh, is that all? I’ve never wanted what Richard Rohr warns about in Falling Upward, his book about the second half of life. “Merely to survive and preserve our life is a low-level instinct that we share with good little lizards.” I like the Wizard more than the Lizard. Having an internal belief that life is not supposed to be an exercise in survival mode, but a place to thrive, gets tested when the rubber meets the road.
There are undoubtedly many reasons for lizard-level thinking. We are taught from day one of compulsory schooling that there are facts you must know! There is an institution you must attend to get these facts! There is a job market waiting that you must conform to! Is the question, “What do you want?” wholly rhetorical? Or is it more realistically; “How do you want to make a living?” And, oh, by the way, your options are limited. Seems to me that heroes and villains are the main ones who get to do what they want. Heroes to me are healers. Doctors, nurses, firemen, police, social workers, counselors, to name a few. Most likely, those who follow that path have an internal drive to help, what they do is a part of who they are. I added villains because, really, don’t criminals also, “do what they want?” On the other hand, making a living for poets, artists, entertainers and the like, is more of a crap shoot.
In his work, Befriending Our Desires, Phillip Sheldrake makes a point about “calling.” He says,
“The directions set by love and the search for an inner integrity frequently do not correspond to the canons of ‘the sensible.'” Absolutely.
Stan Tyra, writing about the difference in religious fundamentalism and religious freedom states, “The reason fundamentalism is so stifling and restrictive is because it values achievement over love. Its focus is on the “how” of life at the expense of the “why” of life…love. Love [desire] asks for vulnerability rather than self-protection, willingness instead of mastery, surrender instead of success. It beckons us toward participation in the great unfolding of creation, toward becoming one with it rather than standing apart and trying to overcome it.”
His thoughts point a finger at the gaping chasm between practicality and desire. So my purpose now is to somehow find the “how” of life without losing the “why.” To follow the “internal directions set by love,” and somehow make it “sensible” as well. I’m sure many have gone before me and felt as I do – that I need Wizard and Lizard days to find the balance.
In his song “Goddamn Lonely Love,” Jason Isbell expresses the frustration embedded in holding on and letting go. It can be a lonely passage.
The sun’s a desperate star that burns like every single one before.
And I could find another dream,
One that keeps me warm and clean
But I ain’t dreamin’ anymore, I’m waking up.
So I’ll take two of what you’re having and I’ll take everything you got
To kill this goddamn lonely, goddamn lonely love.