I have procrastinated writing about the eighth gesture for some time. It felt risky and vulnerable to take an unforeseen path in the project, and get a little more spiritual than I’d planned. As with life, in art there is risk and uncertainty. Here we are at my realization that life is art and art is life. And so it begins…
I spent much of the summer of 2012 contemplating the significance of raising a white flag.
I’ll start at the beginning (late winter). I fell in love. When he arrived I knew he was the answer to a lifelong prayer. Our paths serendipitously interwove. In order to prepare, I cleaned house (literally).
It started before we met. I knew he was coming and I had to be ready. I hear the skeptics because I was one too. How can we ever know? We just do. There is no proof. There is no evidence. There are only our hearts that provide light in darkness. Our deepest-seated desires are all we have to show us the way. When there is nothing else there is this.
I saw his face, I heard his laugh, and when I looked in his eyes I knew his soul. The more I cleansed myself of the garbage I’d been carrying the clearer the picture became. I burned old keepsakes, I closed emotional doors, I loved myself more deeply. Most importantly, I remembered my worthiness.
I got rid of the majority of my belongings, I gave notice on my apartment and my job. Why? Because I knew the path needed to be clear even if I wasn’t certain where it was going.
Imagine what it could be like to say:
I don’t need to know, I don’t need to try. Today I admit defeat—defeat of my ego and surrender to the flow. I raise the white flag to say my way hasn’t worked. My way won’t work. I release my expectations. I release my static ways of thinking. When I am banging against a familiar wall of disappointment and fear, I am being carried.
Raising the white flag is only defeat of the ego and it happens when we are too weary to swim against the current. We resist it often and for as long as possible. The brightest lights always follow the darkest moments. In surrender we see that we are powerful beyond measure when we release ourselves into the flow.
Life is the greatest creative outlet imaginable. There is nothing else, no greater masterpiece.
To celebrate this incredible journey, I stood on the Oregon coast and planted a white flag. I did this joyfully with my partner. In life we are not alone. We travel together. Our greatness requires vulnerability and the journey is more enjoyable when we allow others to share it. For the moments of uncertainty, answers that can’t be found, and thoughts that will not cease I stood and raised a white flag. Though I don’t have the strength to row upstream, I allow myself to be carried with the tide, knowing that wherever I arrive will be exactly where I need to be.