When I began I had considered myself as being in a liminal state. But what I’ve come to realize is that there is no other state of being. There is no good reason to think of life as a series of stasis points with periods of growth – or with periods of decay – between them.
The local charities are overrun with secondhand fast-fashion right now. So I will stick the boxes in the attic. And if after a year or so, I have not missed them, I’ll try to find a simple solution for my excess – one that doesn’t make someone else my sin-eater.
If comparison is a fundamental human – in fact, primate – activity, then how do I want to employ it? If I have learned anything from E.’s overflowing toolboxes, there is an appropriate tool for every job, but not every tool is appropriate for the job. What’s to compare?
And just as creating a good novel is as much a matter of prudent editing as is it good writing, perhaps cultivating joy is as much about removing judgement and criticism as it nurturing beauty.
I think it takes courage to swim against the tide as we begin to do about now. When our own mortality comes slowly seeping into our consciousness as a fact of life, as our bones move with less ease and our skin relaxes, and we can admit to ourselves that we really aren’t the person we tried to be.
I need a definition of necessary, as well. …
Even if I subscribe to a faith that deems every person’s existence as integral and meaningful in a cosmic whole, it sort of follows that even worrying about the necessary-ness of things would be unnecessary.
Clearly, I need to find something better to do with my time.
I can’t function with Geller’s mindfulness guidelines.
Pay attention to the breath, he says.
And I do. The breath, and the slowness that comes. The balance of wills: my will and that of the clay. Give and take. Inhale and exhale. My mind through my body, connected to the earth.
The question is where to focus. Angst or answers. And yet, if I am looking for answers, will I need to articulate questions? Or isn’t that exactly what poetry is? Unarticulated questions.
I may not learn to identify all of the plants along my running route by name, but I can begin with the goal of knowing more than ten. I can begin to be honest with myself about what I am making important in my life.
A few years ago I noticed a couple of themes in my photography. One was laundry lines. In Genova, Jerusalem, Dakar, Bishkek, Kyoto, Grand Canaria… At first I thought it a bit odd that I was traveling to all these wonderful places, and coming home with photos of people’s laundry hanging out to dry. But then…
If a mean, little god were to take me, as I am now, to any time period in my life and drop me there, I would experience shame in regard to my actions. It seems simple to me: if I were the product of those actions, if those actions created my essence, I would not be ashamed of them.
Unless the essence of my being is bound with shame in some way.
She recovers slowly. Then asks about the weather. A single, careful sentence that costs her.
E. tells her that his mother had remarked earlier that afternoon that the day reminded her of apple-picking. His grandmother smiles and nods. She stares at the blue sky through the window. “An autumn day,” she says.
There is a man in Denmark who lives each day dying well. And, I hate myself for my first thought after listening to him: I need to move to a place where I can dig a pond, like he did; where I can fashion my life like his. I use the word fashion deliberately, for all it is worth. I am even considering his eccentric knit strawberry hat.
I nearly opened my mouth to say something to E.
“Someone cut down the tree.”
Then I remembered.
Things were good now, but they would change, and even that was a good thing. The way things are supposed to be.
This feeling is my definition of gratitude. It involves an element of submission, an acceptance and appreciation. It is lying in Savasana, palms up and open.
Maybe we aren’t meant to think about our feet. Not meant to flatten them against the earth, making conscious contact with the ground. The weight, and the sinking into our bodies, into the earth in Mountain Pose…