Accepting the Irregularity of Life
Irregular objects -- two cave stones and a sculpture made by Treehouse Silver. The sculpture was made by pouring recycled molten copper onto hay. Card URL:

Card #619 – Accepting the Irregularity of Life

Life is forever confounding the left hemisphere mind, which likes clean, straight edges and linear progress. The way of the creative is an inscrutable zig-zag. Life throws elbows at us when we expect the way to be free and clear. We are constantly getting results that are at cross-purposes with our agenda. At times the irregularity of life seems messy and chaotic, at other times enchantingly unpredictable and mysteriously organic.

The irregularity of others’ boundaries and intentions is forever impinging on the irregularity of our boundaries and intentions. The ego would like the map to be the territory, but we are forever navigating through terrain whose spongy and irregular topography is not represented by any map. We try to orient the world to our inner compass, but find that uncharted sidetracks, diversions, distractions, serendipitous discoveries and improbable coincidences are splitting open at helter-skelter angles all around us.

Some of the most dangerous anti-life people are those who would like to regularize life. They would like people to fit into gender-identity roles, to follow schedules, to fit neatly into square holes. They will be only too glad to use a belt sander to bring the irregular territory of your soul into conformity with their maps.

Fundamentalists, religious or otherwise, are people who reject the irregularity of life. They would like to regularize the world with their predefined precepts and sacred texts. Their distaste for the irregular often leads to violence and oppression. Some Asians say that “the nail which sticks out gets pounded down.” But Asia was also the source of Taoism, the religion that is both the least violent and the one with the greatest respect for the irregular. Taoist gardeners greatly prized highly irregular, asymmetrical, curvilinear eroded river rocks. These rocks seemed like representations of the Tao, the way of things that is flowing and that creates the complex, nonlinear specificity of natural form.

I once went spelunking in a twisty corkscrew of an underground labyrinth called “Surprise Cave.” It earned its name as I found myself in a world where there was no horizontal or vertical, and every plane of rock was at an odd angle, water flowed over the lower planes and there were stalagmites and stalactites and chambers where bats, like fuzzy Christmas ornaments, hung over my head. Human incarnation is like spelunking into a Surprise Cave. We imagine straight and smooth well-lit highways carrying us toward our goals, but find ourselves navigating subterranean corkscrew paths that are wet and disorienting and slippery.

As I learned in Surprise Cave, you must adapt to the irregularity! Keep your dynamic inner equilibrium as you navigate the slippery fracture planes of our unstable and mutating world. If life gives you irregular lemons, then make irregular lemonade.

Consider this a propitious time to accept and work with the maddening and fascinating irregularity of life.

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