Thursday, May 24, 2012

someone to listen


It isn’t about the mess.  It’s not about what you get or how much you have.  It’s mostly about hearing your voice.  I guess at one point writing enabled me to hear my voice, canvassing enabled me to hear it, debate and discussion with friends enabled me to hear it too.  Then it was John.  It was also in front of my classes.  I got to be on stage for a little while; I was the one writing the script.  Now, I feel cut off, like I am floating.  Humans aren’t the strongest or fastest, or even the smartest species.  But we have a capacity for heroism, for compassion and love that other species don’t seem to show.  I remember times in my life when I had a listener, an audience to hear what I was saying and connect to me.  I even remember inspiring and reaching some people.  So the question seems to be, how do I find a way to reconnect to myself?  How do I define my own self-worth when there is so much I don’t understand, so much I have no control over?  I only have control of myself and the way that I perceive the world, my own actions create my personal story, my own world.  When I have to interact with others who have power over my position in the world, I give the microphone to them.  I become the invisible princess with a frog in her throat. 
When I remember all my paths and battles, I am amazed at what I have done.  But in the day to day, keeping those medals and tales in the fore makes it so hard to see what is in front of you, to figure out how to juggle what you are being handed right now.  I guess it seems like I need to find a way to condense those treasures into something I can hold, see through.  For lack of a better choice, perhaps what I am looking for are some rose colored glasses. 
Perhaps what messes us up most in life, is our image of how things are supposed to be.  Even when we don’t even realize we have an image.  For one, it is brain cancer or a brain hemorrhage, for another it is heart failure, a car accident not wearing her seatbelt, more cancer, divorce, alcoholism, being told your mother didn’t make it because you wouldn’t pray.  Once you figure out there is no “normal”, there is no escaping the drama, that there is no control you have other than your own perceptions, then what?  Your perceptions are so easy to forget about.  It’s not like you wear a sign, backwards on your forehead, to read easily in ever mirror and window you pass.  How do you remind yourself that each day and each step is defined by how you choose to place your foot and the shape of your mouth as you move forward.  Plus, even when you know that is true, when you are in the middle of the storm but you know it could be worse, how do you talk about rainbows and sunshine?  I acknowledge the blessings we have, but I don’t know that I have the strength to focus on the positive.  It is as if I don’t want to give anyone the wrong impression so that they think I am okay.  Because I’m not, even though I know that I can get through this.  You can’t see the forest for the trees.  The journey is what gives you the strength, regardless of how much you lifted prior.  How do you do it?  How do you not?  Life moves forward every day whether you want it to or not.  You slog along with it, through it, and with each step you gain strength.  Carry the tiny piglet to the mountain top to drink from the stream every day, and a year later, you are strong enough to carry a full grown boar up the side of a mountain.  How important is it to acknowledge the strength you get from each step?  What if it hurts and you just want to bitch for a while?  Does that make you less strong, or gain less strength?  And breaks, can’t you take breaks for a while now and then?  You still have to finish the journey to the stream, and you still have to take the steps carrying the load. 
Part of this assumes purpose, though.  What purpose do we have?  I know I don’t believe the purpose is to have stuff.  I also know that joy of being there for someone in need, especially when there was no one else.  On the flip side, I know what it is like to be held up by the gentle caring of others.  My little girl told me for the first time ever the other day that she thinks I am the best mom in the world.  I remember feeling that way about my mother when I was young.  How full and warm and safe that felt.  What I know for sure is that we are all here, for some reason, for no reason, for whatever reason.  Here we are.  Nothing is forever.  Pain is inevitable as our human forms decay.  Each moment is what matters and the ways you can bring joy to those around you.  Those things last and those things spread.  The moments when you let someone else hold you in the light, and those moments when you hold someone else in the light.  That is all that matters.  I keep coming back to that.  The connections between each other, between ourselves and our world, and each living creature and species and person…the amount of energy on earth never changes, neither growing nor diminishing; it simply shifts form.   Loving the energy around you, imperfect though it is, is all that matters.  And yes, it seems to be so much harder when you butt heads with someone who just wants power and dominion over others, who wants to be right, and better than you and stronger than you and then prove it to you.  Because I know from canvassing that changing someone’s mind is really not the kind of thing you can usually do in a short period of time.  Like convincing an alcoholic that she has a problem, a person has to be ready to change, ready to understand that it is the job of each of us to be the good in the world, to believe there is good in the world.  The mess will be there tomorrow.  Your chance to comfort a soul, either someone else’s or your own, if even for a moment, may have passed.  Sometimes I don’t want to fall asleep because I am afraid of what tomorrow will bring.  To be heroic, one must have “recourse to boldness, daring, or extreme measures”.   So you take the option, the choice of or way out through daring, or extreme measures.  When we are strong through something we didn’t choose, when we turn and find we have come through the fire and are tougher, clearer, perhaps less vulnerable, what are we then?  Are we still heroic, even though we didn’t choose those extreme measures, but rather had then dropped in our laps?  I don’t think so…I think we are human.   But it is comforting to see it as tinted with heroism.  Even if it does start with something as small as closing your eyes to sleep knowing another day is on the flip side of your lids.