Walk in beauty


I don't want to have plans anymore. I want to have loosely held daydreams. Momentum can propel us so many places we didn't mean to go if we're pointed in the wrong direction. So every step matters. It's easy to be so focused on the terrain we're traversing that we don't ever look up to see which direction our path is pointing us. We might just be stoically marching ahead because we followed the trail marked 'Plan' and believed it would take us where we needed to go. I like to think about my future. But I'm trying to hold it loosely. To write those ideas in the lightest pencil I can find. To leave behind the days of writing in heavy handed Sharpie, as if nothing ever could, or should change.

A beautiful family recently introduced me to the Native American concept of "hozho naasha". It means "to walk in beauty". The tradition expounds on this principle by explaining that the four cardinal directions point to different phases in our life journey. East is associated with childhood, sunrise, Spring, and growing moral and spiritual roots. The South is our Summer of life. Youth, learning, and work. The Wild, Wild West is the direction of the grown up (and often parenthood.)  It points to Autumn, sunsets, storytelling, and ceremony. The North is the last direction we point. Where we come to revere ourselves and the natural order. Where we embody hope for restoring natural resources and the better world we believe is possible. 

I deem myself standing at the Southwest corner of my life. I am living in the very literal land of eternal Summer and youth here in Hawaii, but I'm being drawn to story and the sanctity of preserving our history as I become something resembling an adult. I'm invested in marking the time with ceremonies so life doesn't sneak in and out unnoticed. I want my steps to be beautiful. And meaningful. So that my desire to preserve them in thoughts and words both spoken and written can fuel my creativity and how I relate to the world. 

I don't want to bypass the better story by sticking to a crumpled up draft I wrote years ago. Great tales have many drafts. Something of each draft moves forward into the next rewrite. Don't be afraid to throw out a draft and start with that one sentence that was solid gold. The drafts are never a waste of time. The editing floor can be a bloodbath, but you can hang your hat on what comes out on the other side. Drafts, plans, call it what you will. However you envision your tale unfolding, hold it loosely. Walk in beauty. 

Amber Gruber