Becoming speaks to me of the desire to change oneself, to manifest or co-create something different, to better the world. Noble goals without a doubt. And yet I do have doubts. Becoming has a sense of looking for something outside of our current self, somewhere beyond, around a corner, into a space that is separate. We run the risk of missing what is in front of us, missing subtleties in a situation, missing the opportunities found within them, or simply missing our moment-to-moment life. In being we become, and if in our being we are constantly striving to become, then constant striving is what we become.
A life of becoming is a life padded with good intentions, worthy causes and noble intent, but padded nonetheless. Can we live our life unpadded? Bare naked? Raw? And can we, from this place of raw attention, also attend to the needs of a world in crisis?
At a deeper level, within being there is becoming and vice versa. The world is both these things, simultaneously. There is nothing extraneous about either. As Zhaozhou would say, just stop picking and choosing between them. Drop below the ideas and be present to ‘how am I experiencing this situation right now?’ Bring this awareness to bear on the micro, the macro and the muckro.
My paintings are an exploration of being and becoming. So is my parenting. In both I suffer and make mistakes. And in both I am learning the art of listening with bare naked attention. No picking and choosing. No manifesting. No secret. Just this.
The practice path is not an easy path, nor is it easy to be the change you want to see. The crooked path of combining these two is a life work, no instant fixes in sight. So I take to heart the words I recently found embroidered on a pillow:
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Where am I right now?