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Untapped Potential

All of my life, I've been told I was filled with potential. If only I could work to my potential. Fulfill my potential. Actualize my potential. Live up to my potential.

But what if my potential is like an aquifer? Like a deep lake of oil in the crust of the Earth? Like the virgin wilderness of an old growth forest? Like the unimaginable lifeforms in the depth of the ocean trenches?

What if my potential isn't meant to be tapped? What if its power is in its occultedness? What if the mystery of it serves some function as a stabilizing magnetism in the rotation of my life? A restorative fullness that keeps the water tables available to life? A micro-region that has its own evolution and adaptations whose work is beyond human understanding?

What if instead of worrying that I will die with my music still in me, I find relief in knowing that my music might just be meant for the solitude of the sunrise? Or for the ears of catbirds? Or to be sung to earthworms while they chew food scraps in the compost?

What if we don't need to tap all of the potential? Drain every aquifer? Refine every deposit of oil and gas? Cut down every tree? Categorize every life form? What if there is value in the untapped? The mysterious? The hidden?

What if feeling their shadowy movements in the deep is enough? More than enough? Worth something in itself?

What if my potential, like a dark sky at night or an old growth forest, aides the migration of something so far outside of my understanding that I can't consiously prioritize its movements and contribute to the vastness of its impact?

I think I will leave my potential untapped, at least for now. Like a deep, dark undergound lake. Teeming with life forms adapted to this pristine environment. Lifeforms whose existence is not to serve human fascinations, or to be commodified into medicine or fuel or entertainment.

And maybe, that is enough.

1 Comment

Witnessing this. Also allowing this to ripple through me as this aligns with my experience as well.

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