Monday, January 26, 2009

Caya closes her eyes and she thinks she disappears...she can stand in the center of a full room with all eyes on her and she sincerely believes she vanishes with the shutting of her eyelids...when she opens them she says peek-a-boo as if she only reappears when she opens her eyes~peek-a-boo eye see you...

Some times I wish I could just disappear into the ether of life. You know, just close my eyes and be gone for a while. If I could disappear by closing my eyes, maybe I would do it a little too much.

Cha, could you wash everyone's clothes and then fold them and then put them all neatly away? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, we are in marriage counseling and the counselor is asking you about your desire to change people and control situations? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, just stand there while my racist mom tells you about all the things she dislikes about you. eyes close...disappear.
Cha, you are late again! eyes close disappear.
Cha, now why did you go to law school if you were only going to be an artist and stay at home? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, you are 34 years old and have never had a real profession: Why is this? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, what is it exactly that you want to do professionally? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, this resume says you worked as a kayak guide in Exuma and then spent the next summer teaching English to Korean adults in Seoul, what is your plan? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, do you have a COSTCO card in your name? No...then why are you standing in my line? eyes close...disappear.
Cha, I am giving you the stink eye and middle finger because you are driving in my lane crazy lady! eyes close...disappear.
You get my point...from the senseless interactions to the intimate and meaningful ones, there are times when I just don't want to answer...where I just want to close my eyes...and disappear. Like I said before, if I could do this, I believe I would enlist its help far too often. But thankfully, I can't disappear with the shutting of my eyes. Thankfully, every jagged, soft, rough, tragic and beautiful part of life hits me deeply and I cannot ignore it. I cannot shut it out. For it is in this and experiencing all of it, that I am shaped into some one that I long to be. I learn how to traverse the terrain of living~how to weave and bob with the tide of people and their stories. And, it is in this weaving and bobbing that I have learned how to recognize the various stories that are all about in the living of our our choices and in our countenance.

You see if I could just disappear I wouldn't see you and in the seeing...see ME. So here we go, peek-a-boo eye see you...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful "magic skills" that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition.
Elizabeth Gilbert

Hope is a powerful thing...without it man dies. I have seen hope carry my mother for more than 20 years...with a smile on her face. I have seen my mother's cupboards empty and her refrigerator barren all while having no ascertainable way to fill either. And, I have seen this mother of mine spin dreams of visions of plenty without seeming fanciful or full of conceit. I have seen her hold on to hope with hands of diligence...hands of "there's no other option but to hope". You see, hope can breathe strength into a person's heart that defies the moment.

Hope has kept me from giving up on my childhood dreams that seem so far fetched, that I share them with no one. But alas, to hope I can whisper these grand dreams of mine, and it is her voice alone that makes me feel allright dreaming the impossible. It is her voice that tells me the impossible is quite possible and necessary! And, when I can't believe her another moment more, for there exists too large a gap between what I hope for and what I have...and to me it is too great a chasm to leap: hope takes my face in her hands and looks straight into my eyes and kisses me on the lips, assuring me that there is glorious life that lays ahead. So when my hope fails, hope takes hold of me. I think many of the things that lie ahead will only be if I can hope for them. The audacious expectations of my heart are silly in their grandness...but hope never laughs. She just squeezes my shoulders transferring courage and winks at me, because she too hopes in their existence...she too hopes to see them come true. But without her they won't ever come true. So you see, hope is a needed a friend and ally.

", no, no don't pass me, no no don't pass me by, see I can see good things for you and I. Yes, good things for you and I..." The Bodeans

Monday, January 19, 2009

"The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill man's heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy..." Albert Camus~The Myth of Sisyphus

So I've been thinking more about my reticence to dive in and give something my all. I think that there is something in me that wants a guarantee of success before I start. That is to say, I want some tangible thing in my hand that I can stuff in my pocket (to pull out as needed) that guarantees me the praise and success I want. If we're honest, we all want to be lauded and told we are great. It gives us a feeling of accomplishment...that what we do, matters.

But the question is, "does this guarantee exist?" And, even if this guarantee existed, "is it proper for me to rest my entire willingness to do my best and give something my all upon this guarantee of success?" I think the answer is ...(and this pains parts of me)...NO. There is no guarantee for success after you have given something your all. At least not what we generally define as success. There is no neon sign at the end of "doing my best" that says...YOU ARE AWESOME! YOUR LIFE COUNTS FOR SO MUCH! Or, (my favourite) YOU ARE SO SUCCESSFUL IT HURTS! Why should I then give my best regardless of the non-guaranteed outcome?

I think that there is something so magical and great that enters into a man's heart when he takes his hand to the proverbial till and harrows the field of his life (no matter how deep, rough and hard) and makes it plantable. I think that the feeling that enters into a person when they look back over their shoulders and see what they alone have accomplished is great. Magnificent. There is no other thing I know that can fill a person to overflowing when they have been gifted to see what they can do! So it is in the doing, the working, the giving something your all that your "raison d'etre", reason for being is magnified to the individual soul that lives. So maybe success is redefined...maybe it's not the end result of praise, accolades, or monetary advancement. Maybe success is simply the gift of giving life all you have and having the visceral feeling of seeing what magnificence you can do! When standing on a mountain top, I feel free. I feel alive. Looking down at the trees that adorn the mountain sides and valleys, makes me want to dive into them and fly. I would never know the complete and utter feeling of freedom that standing on a mountain can cause if mountains didn't exist. This perspective would be lost to me. I think that in large part, the feeling of freedom and life that I have on the mountain top is due to what I know it took to get there. So giving something my best is the reward. Seeing how good I can be is the gift that keeps on giving...and, maybe that knowledge is success.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I start so many things in my life and leave them unfinished...dangling to blow in the wind. It's as if a gust of energy blows right up to me and transforms itself into tangible energy for me to use...and when the gust leaves, the task falls at my feet. Or so it seems. But what really happens is that I have these great intentions or an idea, and when I start to work on it and it starts to look like what I never intended or I leave it too long that I am left feeling too embarrassed to start at it again. It sits there to rot and join the ranks of many other fallen soldiers of tasks in my life. I know, I should be so far beyond this by now. For what this smacks of is Immaturity: when A becomes too hard to turn around and change or B requires too much sticktoit-ness quit both A and B and leave them hanging and start C (keep this cycle going as long as you can). This is embarrassing. I am embarrassed to myself. This is not what I believe is right or what I want to do...yet I do it. This is not who I want to be...yet it is who I have become. If I dig even deeper, what this smacks of is fear: fear of failing and not getting it right. Fear of giving something my all and it still doesn't measure up. So now I can't hide behind the safe bastion of "potential" or "what could be". I am in the wide open field of what is...and, the me that I am may not measure up. You may not like me. You may hate what I throw my whole soul into. And, the thought of that makes my stomach churn and my back bend a little closer to the ground. Ode to care less of what others think...

When I was in college I saw this wonderful movie, "Mr Holland's Opus", on a date with an unfortunate fellow who had to listen to me cry and snot for the entire film (by the way there was no second date...surprise hey). You see Mr. Holland was writing an Opus, a musical composition, that was his life's work up to that point, but in the mean time he needed a job to pay the bills. Mr. Holland took a job as a High School Music Teacher for the interim. The only problem is, "life occurred" as it has a way of doing and twenty years later Mr. Holland was still there. I cried like a baby for what I thought his life should be...for what he had wanted it to be. I cried because I thought that my life would follow the same trajectory: that twenty years would pass and there would exist this big gap between what I had hoped for and what I actually had. This all may seem a bit melodramatic...but I truly felt the tension of what I wanted and what may never be...

At the end of the film, Mr. Holland's students returned for a 15 or 20 year Reunion: they came to celebrate him. They asked that he play that Opus he had written years ago. Because, you see, that Opus had become a part of their lives too. They knew he "thought" he was just passing through with this teaching gig...but he had become a wonderful teacher who took the time to pour into their lives and change them...laying music over their dreams. His returning students were doctors, attorneys, teachers, parents and the mayor. So, they were a huge part of the Opus of his life. However, I never wanted that to be my life. I never wanted my Opus to lay un-played for the bulk of my life...only to be played at a High School reunion. As I write, and think about this story line 13 years after I first saw it, I think I cried for the wrong reasons. I cried because I saw Mr. Holland as a failure and I feared I would fail as well. I should have cried for the beauty of the moment where his life's work culminated in a fantastic display of work, creativity and the beauty of human connections.

The point that stands out to me now is that Mr. Holland had written his Opus. It was complete. He had laboured throughout the years tweaking it and making it exactly what he wanted it to be. He had taken every life experience and jotted it down in tune. When the gust of wind stopped blowing, Mr. Holland didn't stop writing. He pushed through ("break on through to the other side"...I hear Jim Morrison singing in my head) until it was finished. He didn't stop writing because he feared that it would never be heard. He didn't not write it in order to stay in the comfort world of what could have been had he...(you fill it in). So what is my problem? My problem is that I have stayed in that space of fear for so long I didn't even realize that is where I lived...that fear had become comfortable for me. My problem is that I have been too afraid to fail, that I care too damn much of how I am perceived, that I haven't even really tried to write my "Opus". Sure I have written bits and pieces, but safe enough pieces that haven't taken all that much out of me so that I could safely say, "I could do better". But where is the better? It lives where where fear is NOT. The better lives where I commit to it, fully, releasing the expectations of what I think you should say or perceive it to be. My best exist where I push past the gust of wind that inspires me and I jump... I jump into the unknown territory of being my best!

To finish what I start. To start with the intention of being my best. To be my best with out fear of failing. And if I least I failed giving it everything I have. To live my life like this, is my hope. Hope...don't let me down