Monday, January 12, 2009

By request, October


I woke up feeling sad again this morning. This seems to be becoming a trend...

As I moved through my morning routine I determined not to let my mood get the best of me. The tools I've gained from Healing Rain over the past year were doing little to help curb my negative thoughts and relieve the burning pit devouring my stomach. So, I drew on something deeper; I sang. Beginning in the shower, I sang praises, "I will enter his courts with thanksgiving in my heart," and petitions, "draw me close to you," and proclamations, " Lord, you are more precious than silver," and while the sense of sadness remained, hope and thanks enveloped it. Even when my car refused to start, I was confounded but at peace...A middle aged woman from AAA with straight, bleached-blond hair jumped my battery and told me to have a blessed day. I thanked her, and I did.

Still sad but not lost...I am determined to not ignore my melancholy. I am determined to not exalt it, but to acknowledge and except it; to listen to and learn from it. Many people to whom my heart is connected experience pain. I share this pain now, and will likely always share it in waves; swelling cresting and settling. To always experience it at the crest would be debilitating, to always remain settled would be inhuman...

...I am willing to accept that (though there are many other factors involved) the swelling sadness has been triggered by T's imminent departure and intensified by the frustration that as we stood together winnowing corn, captivated by the kernels cascading from one steel container to another, I said almost nothing...and when I was walking away, I didn't look back until I knew I was out of sight.


My ears are still ringing from last night.

With A back home my life is tied to hers again...A's active and pleasantly invasive presence feeds another part of me and helps distract me from extensive brooding. As cliche as it sounds, recent conversations with A & M and even spiritual pursuits...have been encouraging me to, "give love a chance." This includes being more open to receiving it, even in unexpected forms, as well as being more open to extending it.

I think one of the things that has been so my inability to conduct myself with the openness and confidence I try to encourage in others. At the opportunity for vulnerability, I shrink. In the aftermath, I nearly withered. Weakness did not "reappear" it has been ever present, only it lifted the veil that had me almost fooled. My lack was felt like a fresh wound I couldn't reach. I am grateful for it as a reminder...

...[Last night] it became quite clear to me that I do not like when strange men feel at liberty to touch me in a way that indicates a relationship of intimate familiarity. Though it seemed to be the 'modus operandi" of the dance floor, this was not behavior I felt compelled to adapt to and learn from. By engaging in this behavior I would not be opening myself to connect with my fellow humans--nor were they doing so with me--the behavior was confined to submission to impulse and the desire for, though doubtful acquisition of, personal gratification. I wonder what value, if any, could be found in becoming lost in the moment. The energy, the pounding music, the sea of bodies in motion, there was an element to this I enjoyed; singing along with familiar music and unreservedly jumping and swaying...even while appearing as one with the crowd though, I felt waves of isolation. At the peak of these waves, my movement would slow as I scanned the room. Capturing images of faces, some in blurred motion, some still and looking for something, I wondered to them, "what are you thinking?" "what are you feeling?" "what are you hoping to find?" and then I returned to my own body, shielding it from idly groping hands. I covered my wandering eyes with dark glasses.

...The trouble with idolatry is it takes all the joy out of loving...

...I read a quote the other day, the author of which I cannot recall that says, "The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one."

Can it be that in seeking perfection I am overlooking all that this imperfect world has to offer?


...I've also had a mind to write about Poppa; his openness and continuous learning. This idea was inspired by listening to the Woodsong Radio Hour on Sunday night. Dar Williams was the guest...I remembered my first encounter with DW. P had a habit, when we worked at the KK office, of going to the library and checking out cd's. He did not often borrow cd's of music he was familiar with. Rather, he would make selections based on album covers and titles that caught his interest. The selections introduced him to a broad range of music that was not limited to time or culture or genre.

...I'm so grateful for K. Last night we had the first meeting of the book club we'd been scheming about for months. We are reading Life of Pi and it is intoxicating...


...Driving away from Wal-Mart I encountered a man. He had a neat silver goatee, straight smooth hairs forming a triangle, mating the long gray ponytail hanging down his back. His skin was a dark orange-ish tone, his eyes barely peeking through narrow lids. His features were soft and tranquil, body bundled in bulky clothes...he sat calmly beneath a bold red stop sign, holding his own cardboard sign that read: "Homeless, need help, God bless." Attached to this was a smaller white piece of paper with the words, "need socks."
I pulled into a nearby McDonald's and approached him. In my mind I imagined words--full sentences even--that I would use to connect myself to this man and to learn his story. I timidly approached, five dollars folded in the palm of one hand. He rose to meet me.
"Hi." I said, extending the money and smiling shyly.
"God bless you," he said.
We nodded to each other and I walked away. I did not feel warm and fuzzy, I felt disappointed with myself. Another transaction, not unlike that with the cashier and Wal-mart, and I continued in my bubble. Had it been L or D in my place, we'd know his name, where he was from, how he came here...all I know is his face, the warmth of his smile, the surprising softness of his fingers as they brushed against mine, accepting the bill.


Though many may consider this idea a dead end career-wise, or at best a foolish whim; to me it feels like a path of freedom, joy and peace. I am exultant, weightless...The pragmatic corner of my mind is saying, "Don't get too excited, plans fail, ideas change." While agreeing with the cautious corner of my psyche, the prevailing portion of my spirit is lifted hope, and cheerful expectation.

"I must say a word about fear. It's life's only true opponent. only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary...It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unerring ease. It begins in your mind, must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don't, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never fought the opponent who defeated you."

-The Life of Pi, Yann Martel


"Time is an illusion that only makes us pant."

-TLP, Yann Martel


...About driving vs. cycling (motor or bike). I often dreamily assert that I prefer the latter, while I consistently choose the former. Though there are several practical reasons for this--shelter from elements, ability to transport more than me, safety--there is an equally significant psychological reason that I've only recently realized. Exposure. The cyclist is so exposed. Even more, in fact, than the pedestrian because the cyclist dares to impose herself right onto the same playing field as the motorist. What audacity! The nerve! The vulnerability. Bottom lines, this is why I continue to crawl into the shell of my Ford Escape. There, my boundaries are clearly outlined. There, my form is easily hidden.


...For the first time in what appears to have been over two years I checked my Flickr account. The old comments on photos that I took stirred memory of sweet moments and of old hopes, yet unrealized. What tomorrow will bring, I don't know. Tonight, sleep.


Something strange happened today. I did not get out of bed until almost 1pm. The cold medicine I took likely had something to do with that. In addition, I realized as my brain slowly began working, that cold medicine was mixing with the small glass of wine I'd consumed nearly an hour earlier. I don't like to sleep in late, not to mention right through the morning and into the afternoon. In the shower I began to work on my thinking, "what matters is not how late you slept but that you're awake now. Don't focus on the hours 'lost' but those yet to be lived." Sounds silly, I know, but working on my thinking works for me. My day does not begin with an arbitrary hour, it begins with me...

"We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are."
-7 Habits of Highly Effective People

"...Isn't just looking upon this world already something of an invention?...The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no? Doesn't that make life a story?"
-TLP, Martel


Today is the last day of my October fast--I bumped it up a day early--I am so relieved. It's a bit disgusting to me how begrudgingly I've engaged in this discipline; the sense of entitlement I have toward consumption.


I've decided to go in an hour late to work this morning but still woke at the usual time. With no rush, I've had the opportunity for calisthenics and prayers, grooming, and eating a good breakfast with coffee while reading yesterday's copy of the Wall Street Journal. (India's struggling with the weight of their growing middle class, the U.S. is working towards new resolutions in Afghanistan and fudging formerly improving relations in Syria). This is a glorious way to start a day.


...When I finally fell asleep I dreamed I was staying in a house across from a very large lake. On the opposite bank there were rows of cannons and they were firing on dozens of people parachuting from old fashion bomber planes. The parachuters kept coming, the air was thick with them, and the cannons kept shooting. The violence escalated to a scene of bizarre acts of carnage, old men turning cranks into the faces of other old men and many other surprise attacks and cruelties that I don't remember. I don't want to remember. No one could answer me when I would ask, why? Why is this happening? There were other elements to the dream, but they are only vague images.


Bobby Jones said...

I love you Amy, that is quite the strange and disturbing dream, I wonder what a dream specialist/interpreter would have to say about something like that.

a.e. nee said...

I love you too Bobby Jones. The dream was quite disturbing, though not really scary in the typical sense. It was the most gruesome dream I have had in a long time.