There’s something incredibly humbling, about a pack of seven year olds, when they scream in unison; “teacher, be quiet.” It isn’t that I’m concerned with gaining superficial respect, considering they walk in with crusty booger lips and grass stained knees, but playing the part of an ‘authoritative’ figure, I relish these little acts of rebellion. It’s beautiful in every way. Seeing as they’re children, little humans not yet caught in a web of inherited insecurity, or imagined responsibility, they see through me. They know that I care much less about teaching them English, as I do about teaching them to express individuality and love.
When they do what they want. When they say what they think, and when they’re entirely present, in a way that many of the adults are not, I don’t bat an eye. It’s much like watching clouds shape, you’re not in charge of it, so you may as well enjoy it. You’d drive yourself mad if you needed that sort of power, or if you thought you could have it. That’s why they know I’m on their side, silently rooting they never forget to peacefully call into question the rules imposed upon them. I just hope they always remember that rules are only ideas, they don’t really exist. They can be changed; hopefully for the better, so just be kind.
That’s it, that’s the only one that matters, but they already know that, they’re kids.
We all are, but somewhere along the way, many of us forget this simple skill. It isn’t a singular event that causes this, rather a slow drip of toxicity. Hurting people, one’s that’ve given up the youthful sense of infinite possibility, parade around a contrived rule book titled ‘the way things are.’
So, we slowly learn that there’s no longer play. Then we no longer create, so the excitement of life doesn’t sweep us away like it once did. We trade true satisfaction for a dampened existence, one that’s good enough, but barely palatable.
We don’t step out of line. We don’t speak our minds and we’re terrified of our own thoughts. For some of us, it’s our deepest sense of shame; feeling. Yet, we stuff it down, that ever glimmering human spirit, with mortgages and refinanced loans. Why, you may ask? It’s much easier to distract ourselves with externalities than to stare into the void; the Atman, as they refer to it in the Hindu practice.
So we adopt the “I’d be happy if” playbook…..if I didn’t have a car payment, if I didn’t have this, if I was in better shape I’d…..
Let me reiterate, there’s a shame in wanting more. How dare you ask for more gruel, be grateful for your lot. However, that’s exactly why we continue to ask. There’s no sustenance from the mush we eat: fashion trends, gossip, money. Of course we’re asking for more, very few of us are spiritually nourished. I’m not speaking of God, rather our calling. We all have one too, some of us just choose not to listen.
So, instead of doing what you truly want with your time, regardless of pay, you’re rewarded for disconnecting. You’re rewarded for whoring the most precious resource you have, your life force, to the highest bidder, simply to improve a bottom line that you see a negligible return on. I challenge you, like the way my students challenge me, to always express love in what you do and who you are.
When you decide to cross that threshold, one where you’re consciously choosing love, you will be challenged. Joining the few that actually derive nourishment from their work, will put an immediate target on your forehead. You will be misunderstood, and sometimes hated, by those who haven’t learned this lesson. But, by taking this approach, the powerful approach, you’re choosing your life. You’re not spoon fed by an agenda, because you love yourself enough to choose life, not mere existence.
So, for those willing to take this plunge, I urge you to just keep smiling. Keep loving. Keep saying no to the bullshit and get out of your chair. Look whoever your figurative teacher is in their dumbfounded face and tell them to “Sit Down, Be Quite.”
Remember this, we can only be tamed, if we’re willing to be tamed.