Leaving the Rule Book on the Floor

Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.

– Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī 

In motorsports we work in the grey areas a lot.  You’re trying to find where the holes are in the rule book.

– Danica Patrick


My guess and my hope is that there are more Eco-chaplains out there.

– Lauren Van Ham, Renewing Ceremony (2007)

 When the solution is simple, God is answering.

-Albert Einstein

Last week, in session with a holistic therapist, I was challenged on a few life practices I’ve not once questioned:  I mentioned the loyalty I felt to my Ordination vows, the dedication I put into creating harmonious relationships, and the gratitude I feel for the amazing parenting efforts of my Mom.  And the therapist said,

“Sounds like a lot of rules….”

Whoa.  Lying on the table, my eyes closed, I crept my Ego over to this new point of view…and I took a look.  “What’s happening?” questioned the therapist.  Stifling a shriek and feeling my heart fight to remain in my chest, I said, “I feel like the etiquette book just fell on the floor.”

Has anyone seen the etiquette book, please?

Has anyone seen the etiquette book, please?

There is no Rule Book.  In my life I have so often wanted one, that I create them.  Continuously.  Consciously and unconsciously.  It’s ok; you can say it!  I’ve known for a long time now that I’m a late bloomer.  Nevertheless, at the ripe age of 41, my world is rocking with this ancient, duh!, love-it-or-hate-it-but-you-can’t-change-it realization.  There is no Rule Book.

At first breath, this scares the bee-jeebies out of me.  I mean, c’mon, there are a few things I can count on, right?  Well yes…sort of.  And sort of not.

So, I take a deeeeep breath.  Then I remember (because I keep forgetting and re-remembering) that I wasn’t put here with some expectation to figure it out, or hold it together, or for that matter, to live out any specific agenda at all.  Zoiks!

How freeing is that?  I mean, wow!  When we look around, it’s abundantly clear there are a lot of ways to live a life.  This sacred, miraculous, mammalian, fragile, resilient life of ours….

Flash to Danica Patrick.  Ummm, did the Eco-chaplain really include a quote from Danica Patrick in her blog intro?  She did  (no rules).  [note: it is ok if you’re learning right now that Danica Patrick is the most successful woman in the history of American open-wheel (car) racing.]  Without a rule book, Danica has made some pretty lively choices.

And then there’s Albert Einstein.  Choices made by Albert in his rule-free life help me to see the Great Web that holds us, a web of which we’re all a part.

And in these intricately woven threads of existence are all the rules and the not-rules.  Some (me, Albert, you?) might call it God(dess).

Photo: Thanks to Rose & Clint

Photo: Thanks to Rose & Clint

And there’s me, Lauren, who for lack of a better name, refers to her life’s work as, Eco-chaplaincy.  Please tell me if you relate to this: when I get too tied- up (attached?) in the importance of what I’m doing, my choices begin to take the form of an agenda, a series of rules.  When I can dial that all back, though, when I remember first simply to live, then going about making choices feels more like, “Dungeons & Dragons,” a Choose Your Own Adventure.

Look at these Berkeley residents, for example, creating some night-time folly and activism outside the City Council meeting last week,   "Save our P.O" (Post Office is threatening to close)

Look at these Berkeley residents, for example, creating some night-time folly and activism outside the City Council meeting last week, “Save our P.O” (Post Office is threatening to close)

From this place, I experience a wellspring of support.  It’s the Source from which I feel inspired to move, and to learn, and to love…with no guarantee of success.  When all of the other Rules have fallen to the floor, maybe this is the rule that remains.  See what I mean?  I can’t help myself….

It seems fitting to end this blog with a tribute to one of my favorite Eco-chaplains of this century.  Please enjoy

magnolia magic, while meandering UC's campus, Berkeley

Magnolia magic, UC’- Berkeley.