Thursday, November 27, 2014

Blind

I see you
walking there
without something
I have

I know I'm selfish
for thinking
I have problems
I know I'm selfish
for thinking
I'm justified
in having sympathy
for something
I don't
understand

You navigate your life
without knowing
what you touch
or what
this world
appears
to be

In many ways
I too
see nothing
but darkness


The other day I'm at work thinking about how my job really sucks. Not all the time, of course, but today it really blows. I'm doing the job of two people. No one has filled my former boss's position yet and no one probably will for some time. I'm down a technician and that position probably won't be filled until sometime after the new year. I can't possibly abandon my organization to pursue my writing full-time now. I could, but I won't do it. I won't leave someone else or my team with that mess. I'm rushing, rushing, rushing so fast every day that I can't think, I can't process, I can't really make the decisions I would like to make. People complain, people are antsy. They want everything done now and there just isn't enough "nows" for a team of four and a leader who really needs to not be interrupted continuously and called into senseless meeting after senseless meaning on a whim more than she'd like.

What my team is going through is not fair, but it's not completely impossible. And my woes? Well, they're still nothing compared to woes I've been through in other places, in different times, when life was lived under the illusion that it could actually be planned.

If I've become enlightened at all about the notions of "planning," "analyses," "technique" and "methodology," I know that it doesn't really work. When it comes down to just about anything, you have to fly...by the seat of your pants. You find out that you don't know what you thought you knew, that knowledge is really a bunch of current opinions mixed in with a grain of collective truth, and the best stuff comes from just doing things, feelings, "accidents," and what we don't know for absolute certainty.

That's where we're all "blind," right? We walk in darkness about who we are, who we'll become, where we'll be, and what our decisions and choices will teach us. A part of us knows - the unspoken part, the part that doesn't think in words, or contemplate what-ifs. Sometimes we do things because we want to stretch. Other times it's because it sounds good, feels good, it's what we want, it's what we think we want, or it's what someone else wants for us. Complicating matters is the fact that no one really knows with 100% certainty what is true and what is real.

It's one aspect of blindness - walking into things and making choices without knowing how we're going to feel about those choices, their aftermaths, or who those choices will shape us into being. The other aspect of blindness is not seeing and embracing with gratitude for what you do have and for who you are right now. Because really I have no right and no reason to complain about my hectic day, my hurried environment, my demanding users who need it done now (if not yesterday) exactly according to their needs. This is what I signed up for. This is the decision I made and the path I set out on, with all its rocks, dangerous inclines, seemingly impossible hills, twists, turns, valleys, rest stops, beautiful valleys, and exhilarating sense that I am doing something.

Maybe that "something" is important, maybe it makes a difference. Not in an imagined theoretical way, but in a way that doesn't seem obvious. It looks like something else. It's work and it's hard and it seems like you're going nowhere because you can't win. And that's the truth - you can't win. Not by someone else's definition. Not even by what he or she sees. You only know what you feel. One single unguided grasp at a time.




Wednesday, July 30, 2014

No Looking Back, No Regrets

I recently read a novel where one of the characters comes to the conclusion that she chose the life she would regret the least. Her voice acknowledged that one tends to romanticize the life (or lives) one doesn't choose. She goes on to say that all choices contain regret, but the one we can live with...that's the one we end up "sealing the deal" with. As I read this, I had to stop. You know, because it's one of those moments in a novel that end up hitting home in a poignant way and pack a subjective powerful punch. The words convey some abstract meaning you've felt or "known" but you haven't quite expressed it verbally to yourself yet. And...there it is - a form of synchronicity; a whisper saying "here's your answer."

I grew up hearing the saying "no looking back, no regrets" from another fictional tale. I've weaved the theme and words into one of my own fictional stories. I've tried to live by its meaning and sometimes I do. But at times I do what most of us humans do. I reflect and ponder about the "other" choice I didn't make and the life (or lives) that could have been. I romanticize those lives, thinking of the "good stuff" that would have been and the feelings of fulfillment I might have felt. I imagine I might have been "happier," whatever "happier" really means. Then I realize I couldn't have made that choice. In fact, I didn't make it for a very good reason - regret. I chose a different life, a different path I felt would be less regretful. I experience my current life, my current choice and realize "happiness" is here, too. It comes and goes, like it would with any existence and path. But what matters is that I can live with my lessons and the choices I make feel good. Not the type of "feel good" that gives you an exuberant high; the type you can wake up with and go to bed with every night. It's the type you feel no attachment to. It's different than contentment and freedom, but they're the closest words I can find.

Whatever it is, I feel it. I feel it with my life as I choose to remain in my current position at work, while continuing to pursue my writing the best I can. I feel it with my choice to remain close to my family and start working on the rooms in my basement. I feel it as I teach myself a new writing form in preparation for an internship application. I also feel it as I continue to implement my life's "project period contract." I feel it as I let go of expectations and begin to feel comfortable saying "no." I feel less regret over not choosing the "other" and realize with very little doubt that the choices I make are what I would have chosen anyway.

So even though the saying of "no looking back, no regrets" is just an understanding of a desired state, the edges of its meaning are still a possibility. Maybe we accomplish it. And maybe we see awe in what we're conscious of without wondering why what couldn't be isn't real.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Eventually

I'm not a big believer in "destinations." Not anymore. The reasons are simple. And some of them are complex. We think of life's "ultimate destination" as death. But that's just another way of saying we transition into a different form of existence. So it's not really a "destination" in the concrete sense. If we think about our life's journey, we never really "end up" somewhere. Not if we value growth - whether that growth is internal, external, or a combination of the two. Four years ago, I made the decision to explore a different possibility of who I could be. I had my ideas and my "grandiose notions" of how it might turn out. As I started actually walking the journey's path instead of just visualizing it, I came across a few things I wasn't expecting. I didn't expect to feel out of place or find myself more connected to an employer (and job) I took as a "back-up" plan. I also didn't realize I was going to start feeling and recognizing the full impact of the head injury I incurred at the end of 2009. I certainly didn't expect to be asked to take on a leadership position with my employer or know what I would feel when I was asked repeatedly to apply for my outgoing boss's job.

But here I am at my last residency, feeling the same thing deep within that I felt last year. I've applied for a position I will do my best to succeed in, but it's not going to be where I feel the most at home. Though this time around there is one difference. I wanted to apply for the position I'm currently in, but I do not want to take on the responsibility of being a department head. Although I've been given the reasons why I'm the "one" they have in mind (MBA, "softer" with people, I don't have a "black & white" perspective, detail-oriented), I never once received an "intuitive hunch" that this was coming. Last year, I did. I knew (felt) strongly that I was going to be asked to take on my current position. And I felt I was ready, I could do it, and it was something I needed to do. So now I have to wonder...is this year a "test" I've given myself? Now that about to graduate with my MFA, knowing that now I feel at home with the "idea" of being a full-time writer, and even with being "here," is this choice a "test" of what kind of life I'm going to choose?

If this is indeed a test of which "destination" I'm going to head towards, then maybe it's not a "test" at all. Life has a way of bringing you back to your deepest (sometimes unconscious) desire. In the "end" it doesn't matter what you choose. Eventually you get to live out pieces of whom you've wanted to become, as long as you decide to start taking the step of chance.

To be continued.......

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.