I haven’t written for a long, long time. Not like this, my writing of late has been academically focused due to two new jobs. But that is not the reason for not writing. That is the excuse. There are people and events that cycle through my life on a regular basis some good, some bad, some confuzzeling. I didn’t want to come to the page, and still don’t, because of the nature of this kind of writing. Writing in a journal is different; it is less and more in different ways. Journaling is looser, which serves a therapeutic purpose. In being less specific it lacks focus and sometimes truth. Truth comes from distillation and careless regard for feelings. This kind of writing I do here is about being less present and more open. You step out of the thinking brain and into the void and it all comes tumbling out in spit, fury and grace with ET fingers flying.
What I wanted during this time away from writing was for things, my gunk, to be lifted away on the wind, to have it be transformed into light. That is what I always hope for my stupid, hurt and damaged bits. I thought three jobs, and lots of hard work, would do it. I thought having fun and passion at work would take me down the road to where I wouldn’t be, there. But everybody knows that when you get down that road it’s still you that arrives and that is the baggage that never gets lost on the journey.
The nature of gunk is that it settles. And it did, it settled in my knees, my back, in x-rays, MRI’s, in ortho’s and medical bills. The uncooperative bits gunked up my internal support junctions, the places that hold me up and keep me steady. It took yoga and much of my walking off the map during the winter and well into the spring. The first doctor blamed age and misspent youth… well that is true for all our maladies now isn’t it? The truth lies closer to my steadfast unwillingness or inability to let go, allow and just be. Yea, yea, yea, same old shit, different day.
The best of what settled found its way into my new jobs, learning and growing in different ways. Things like teaching at two universities, working with federal grants, all the time moving intellectually while the physical broke down. Nothing turned to light, nothing blew away. It faded some but not near enough. Transformation is basically destruction with great PR. Transformation comes in ways we don’t expect, that is why it is transformation, just ask any caterpillar. They will tell you it is called the end.
One of the problems with the end is it rarely looks like a gift. I have this friend Shiva, yes that Shiva the Hindu deity, he brings me gifts every holiday season. I in return, get him nothing, what can you get the god destroyer anyway? An iPod? A scarf or a box of chocolates seems so little in return for kicking my ass and removing obstacles whether I want him to or not. As a rule, I don’t get too attached to my obstacles, but there has been an obstacle or two I love. And I just love to run around and around them in circles. The dizzying effect is intoxicating. Over time however I am still running in circles and frequently feel the need to throw up.
The benefit of these lovely diversions is immediate gratification; I am engaged in doing something that feels good, at least some of the time. I am learning about myself in relation to said diversion or obstacle but there is no long term I am still running in circles. Looking back on my time in amusement parks I did well on the roller coaster but the spinning tea cup had me bent over a rusted wire mesh trash barrel praying my corn dog would stay. And as Gertrude Stein says, “there is no there there.” That is about the time Shiva shows up with my “gift.”
So here it is folks, I am trying to pay attention to the pleasant scenarios where I am running in circles. How am I growing? What does my stillness feel like? Am I avoiding it, because I am avoiding looking at my life in a truthful way? Everyone loves a good diversion but that is not a foundation for anything real or meaningful. Do I hate saying that, yes. For anything to be truthful or meaningful you need awareness, connection and vulnerability. The buy in for that is a wall that not everyone can climb or wants to. Especially me, I liked my well-worn tracks, my broken bits that were comfortably worn at the corners so they fit me and sometimes I miss my obstacles and running in comfortable circles.
What I found down the road is that not letting go made me sicker; trying to understand circumstances gave me no insight to pain. To paraphrase Tolle, Instead of blaming the darkness bring in the light. We have no control of what others do or say, we can only choose how we react. We may feel misunderstood, portrayed in mendacious ways but the reality is people either really see us and know us or they don’t. None of that has anything to do with us and everything to do with them. We can’t wait for transformation. The capriciousness of insight is built on what falls away rather than what is. That is where the lessons are in the absence, in the spaces, a pause, and sometimes in what we choose not to do.