Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Acceptance

Most of us forget that our lives are intangible. It's easy to forget when we're in our physical bodies and see things we can touch all around us. October is a month of anniversaries and illusions. The anniversary and illusion of my birth and the anniversary and illusion of my second father's death. It's also the illusion of nature's death. It appears to be dying, shedding its skin, but really it's just another stage. Another cycle before it begins a new life again.

A lot of things whisper to us, if we're willing to listen. Some we can't explain. Some we think we see. Some we only feel. The dance between truth and illusion is thin. I think both of them last, especially when you can see both. And sometimes it takes someone else's voice to remind us of what we already know.

When I'm not here, I'll still be with you. You won't see me, but you'll hear my voice and you'll feel my light. It won't be hard. Just wish, or don't wish. It doesn't matter because I can't leave. You might see me at night, the way you knew me. You and I might sit down and chat like old friends. We might walk together under these branches, sipping the nectar of orange-red tulips and watching the petals drop to the ground in random ribbons. Sometimes it's a garden, full of lushness and mountains we've already climbed in the distance. Sometimes it's arid and bare, overgrown with prickly weeds and nothing's pretty or manicured. But see the dandelions? Still yellow and bright? Showing their beauty in darkness? That's you and me.

Dandelions? Really? I can hear your words speak to me in breaths hidden in pockets of air. It isn't like you to question what I say. Where is the voice who admired everything and wrestled with sadness and tears when she thought I left. Your heart was heavy when you knew I was gone. But what you didn't know was that I never left. I was always inside you, waiting for you to wake up; waiting for you to see who you really were. You finding me - you thought it was an illusion. A vivid dream of chance that took you away from your pain. I was never the illusion. The illusion was what you wanted to see.

Now you see both. Truth and illusion. Truth is you stopped seeing me. You believed in what you could touch and what seemed real. But the illusion only seems real because what's underneath is truth. You could always see that about me. What was beneath my dream and why I dreamt what I dreamt. There are no excuses here, and if I hurt you, I hurt myself. Courage was my battle. I think yours was acceptance. Not of what you saw, but what you could have and who you could be. Potential isn't something we strive for, it isn't something "out there" we can't touch. It's here, always. We just have to learn how to see.

Courage. I talk about it a lot. I judge people for not having it. For not picking up everything and following your dreams, or your heart, or whatever it is that you want. But the thing is, you always had more courage than me. You never fell in love with shiny, pretend things. Or kept lying when the truth was so obviously unhidden.

She said once. I said once. We all have to have our dreams. But it’s nice to be here in reality. Reality can be the dream, too.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Checking Out

I arrive at the airport early. Mostly because I have nothing else to do, no hotel room to go back to, and I don't want to risk the chance of getting caught in an afternoon traffic jam coming back from the beach. It's only a few hours to waste and I can write or I can sleep or I can find a character among the people I'll be watching.

I decide to eat lunch, but can't find anything I want so I settle for what I already know. Mocha frappuchinos and overpriced deli sandwiches. In front of me are college-aged kids and behind me is the typical Beverly Hills yuppie couple, complete with their Paris Hiltonesque dog. They don't bother me - they look almost normal. I help them pick up the coffee sleeves they spill out of the container on accident and we all laugh.

Someone else steps in front of the line, gazing intently at the menu. He is serious and determined. Not unapproachable, but you can tell he does not want to talk. At first I stare a little, because I recognize him and yet I'm not sure. It is his eyes that confirm my suspicion, not anything else. I look away and go on with my day. I don't approach him. I don't say anything. He is just a person, like me. Trying to get a bite to eat. Trying to catch a flight. Someone asks for his autograph and I see him give it somewhat begrudgingly. She smiles gregariously after she gets what she wants. Thankfully she is the only one I see approach him. Everyone else pretends to ignore him or they don't recognize him or they don't care.

I don't flinch or feel anything when he stands by my chair, looking for a place to sit. He sits down, eats, reads his Rolling Stone, waits for his flight and then leaves. I am somewhat desensitized to seeing people from television and the movies in real life. I am used to having to treat them like a "normal" person. I have seen them "backstage." Some moody, some acting like the characters they play, some acting like they are above everyone else, some viewing their place in life as no more "special" than the rest of the universe.

I am used to walking among people who have Wikipedia entries and archives of interviews on famous talk shows, Internet sites and magazines. No one is the same in person as when they are performing their chosen persona(s). No one is the image you see in their pictures. People forget that the hype and the illusion are just that - hype and illusion. These are just people who have chosen a certain job. A job that puts them in the public eye. But when they step out of the eye's glare, all some of them want is peace. To be "normal," if there is such a thing. An invisible life, stripped of everything that's not real.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father

All the time, I see you in dreams
Before me, behind me, beside me
Can you see them too?
Do you know how they hurt me?
Eating inside
Forever
Go away, I can say
How I wish it were true
I don't know who you are
Just because we share blood
Kin is still an empty word
Love is absent, and love exists
Maybe you didn't know
Nothing would be left of you and me
Of all things you became my mystery
Part of something I can never touch
Quiet and whispering echoes
Reeling scene by scene
So lost, so buried and forgotten
This isn't my choice, it's yours
Undeniable and unreal
Victory isn't possible here
Why I don't know
Xeroxes of who I thought you were
Yellowed and black
Zipping like a kite on air

Four and Counting

So here we are. Two years later. Here I am at another residency for my MFA. I still don't know what I'm doing here and I still find I don't have much to say. Maybe it's because I spent so much of my life learning other things that have nothing to do with this world at all. Maybe it's because I don't spend as much time analyzing as I do exploring and enjoying. I absorb and let it rise. I don't want to know how, why, or should. But I'm finding that some things are the same. No one really wants to take risks here. And the people that do --those who let themselves feel & explore & move beyond the conventions - they question and interrogate like the paparazzi and the media do to those with famous faces. No one wants to own up to making something their own. They say one thing and then pick apart the people who do what they say they are looking for.

I don't fit in here. I never have. The work that gets praised is the boring stuff. The stuff that colors within the lines, but has nothing to hold it up. No one wants to work. No one wants to think. No one wants to feel. They want it handed to them and they want it easy. They don't realize that no one ever handed me anything. I had to learn to find my way in the darkness, and out of the darkness, and back into it, and then out again. For me self-navigation and feeling without knowing is the only way I know. I'm not going to write according to a plan, an outline, a structure, a convention, an easy-does-it recipe. That's not my voice. And that's not who I am. As a person or as a writer.

If you want something plain and simple, go live with the Republicans you say you can't stand. You are not so different from whom you hate. You are the same.

There are two reasons why people question who you are and what you do. They don't understand because they don't want to. Or they don't understand because they think you're beyond their reach.

If they only realized it's not about tearing down what you think you can see. It's about finding and discovering all the goodness in what you can't see.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Character Lessons - Part Two

Seth used to surprise me. At least he tried to. I've never liked surprises. I get bent out of shape because my plans have been ruined. I used to think surprises were best to be avoided. The midnight walks along the beach, the pink azaleas on Sundays, the dinners in Boca Raton - they were all his way of keeping me alive. Of keeping us alive. He used to warn me, "don't let your life get too stale, babe. Go after the moment, not the ending."

He and Sal had that in common. There wasn't any time for worrying about the future. It would come whether you wanted it to or not. The biggest surprise he gave me was dying. I'd gotten so used to him being beside me when I needed him that I'd forgotten we can never use anything as a crutch forever. It's sad, really. You find something you love and then you have to let it go. But as Sal would tell you, a journey isn't about a destination. It's about the experience of who you are. And that means facing anger, pain, happiness, exhilaration, and everything in between.

It's never easy to start a new life, she told me. And it's true. Constant renewal brings constant suffering. There aren't any answers except the ones in your heart. And those answers are always floating around you, like pieces of a puzzle that need to be put together to make any sense.

Eventually the crutch is no longer useful. It simply doesn't make any sense. And time shows you what you need. It gives you space and dignity to be yourself. You alone make the decisions for who you are. The question to ask isn't where should I go, but why am I leaving? The truth about any journey is that you can always go back. You just can't turn around.

Seth, if I could tell you what I realize now, it wouldn't do us any good. You'll always be gone and you'll always be right beside me. I didn't want to leave you. I didn't want to leave us. You were part of my plan, Seth. For better or worse, did we say? I spent so much time worrying about the better that I forgot it's the worse that makes us shine. When I found out you left me, I wanted to run. So I did. I let Sal lead me to the edge of something I once dreamed of. But then I realized I was more than that dream. It was one of the things I had to let go because I was someone else now. Someone who knew she wanted to live beyond the voice of her former self. Someone who wanted to experience all the dreams she'd hidden since she decided she wasn't going to leave anything beneath sand anymore.

It's why I came back, Seth. Not to you. Not to us. Or the crutch of your memories. Or even the gold band that sits on top of the jewelry box you made for our anniversary. I still miss you sometimes when I trace the wings of the butterfly you carved into grooves on the lid. I used to think we were like that. Half full, half empty. Fulfilled and yet searching for something we couldn't find because it didn't exist.

There are no destinations, Seth. Only steps. And time.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Validation


Meisms: If you feel your cause is worth it, then that's all the validation you need.

Yes, I know. I'm not really writing in this space anymore. But tonight I felt like popping in. Mostly because I was picking up on something and decided I needed to put it down. Mostly for other people, but perhaps a little bit for myself too.

Sometimes you have a dream or you feel called to do something - strongly. It speaks to you, it moves you, it consumes you. It may taper off every once in awhile or almost extinguish itself for a long time. But then you're back to it and you feel like this is really what you need to be doing. The problem is, no one else seems to see it that way. You're not getting the green lights, you feel like you're not getting the feedback you wanted or the feedback you are getting makes it obvious that others just aren't "getting" what you're trying to do (just yet). Or maybe you're not in the "ambitious" stage and people don't understand. Why would you even take this journey if it's mostly because you want to do something on the spiritual (rather than material) level? Who does this to be artistically ambitious rather than ambitious in the "careerist" sense of the word? The truth is you're both, but you're not willing to put one before the other. Your priority is to make a difference, to inspire change, and to uplift people. So that means you're doing this differently and people misunderstand and misjudge, and you're never quite validated by your peers the way you should be.

I'm not being arrogant here because I'm not really just talking about myself. I see it a lot. I have seen it a lot. There are a few who get the external validation they should or reach that level of "careerist success" the material world has defined for us. But quite a few of the most inspiring, the ones with the brightest inner lights, and those striving for the "cause" rather than the "career," get overlooked and dismissed. Okay, so maybe some of those striving for the "career" instead of the "cause" get overlooked too, but it may not hurt as much. They don't have a calling at stake, or a soul contract to fulfill, or a bunch of obstacles they're trying to overcome in order to accomplish what they feel is their destiny.

I recently read a book called Behind the Mountains. It's based on the proverb "behind the mountains are more mountains." What that's really saying is you're always going to face obstacles - no matter how many you've overcome or stood at the top of screaming "I did it." Someone or some set of social forces is not going to support you or "get" you or even want to see your ambitions from your eyes. So what? If you feel what you're doing (and how you're doing it) is what you're supposed to be doing, you'll keep climbing. And if the only mountain you keep climbing is the one no one else can see, then you're succeeding. You're validated. Because it's the only one that will teach you how to overcome the Self others want you to be.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project Period Contract - The Life One

1. Work only 40 hours a week. You don't have to make more than you need. Keep reducing what you can.

2. Continue to live simply.

3. Read for pleasure.

4. Write because you enjoy it. Only revise and share if you wish.

5. Wake up with the sunrise.

6. Take care of your body.

7. Find more ways to connect. Develop relationships. Invite more people in.

8. Travel. Keep exploring. Keeping seeking the new.

9. No more "careers." No more pieces of paper. No more striving. Relax and be.

10. Smile and enjoy what is free.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Transformation

There comes a point in any creative endeavor, writing project, or stretch of life's journey when you run out of things to say. It's also sometimes labeled as "time to get on a different path" or "the end of the beginning." I believe that I've reached that point with this blog as it has somehow become more than what I originally intended it to be.

The truth is that I have reached a point where I no longer feel an urge to explore the trait of high sensitivity, discuss its many implications, or describe how we may interpret life and its many lessons. I know who I am and I am comfortable being me, even if that "me" is different from the majority, will continue to be misunderstood/misinterpreted, and will probably never quite "fit in."

I no longer wish to discuss my life or my experiences. I know there's not much to them (by society's standards), but my life is mine and I am more than happy with it. I have a full-time job and employer that I love, a freelance career that I have scaled down to a manageable pace, and one final degree full of writing projects and responsibilities to see through. Where I'm going next or where all of this is going to take me I'd rather not know, and I'd rather not plan or speculate. There will be more changes, more transformations I'm sure, but right now I don't know what the answers are going to be.

I know it sounds silly, but I have no specific goals; no specific objectives for the future, the present, or the past. For the rest of my journey in this body, I'd rather Just Be, Breathe, and Enjoy.

Rest assured I have no plans to take the blog down, as I know many come to current and old posts for "something." What that "something" is is individual and private. It's that space that I'm going to return to. Thank you for reading, for commenting, for sharing a piece of your worlds. Perhaps someday my words and my spirit will re-emerge in a different way. Until then, see you in dreams and the unseen.