I’ve logged more experience than most with simplicity and the complexity you discover inside simplicity, minimalism and asocial behavior, endurance and landscape.
Here is the truth: I think some deep wisdom inside me (a) sensed the stress, (b) was terrified for me, and (c) gave me something new and hard to focus on in order to prevent me from lapsing into a despair coma — and also to keep me from having a jelly jar of wine in my hand.
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Painting our little house from a folding chair set up in the clay driveway. Understanding that what I do well, will be what pushes me forward. Taking the time to be precise with my painting, getting the dimensions correct, undistorted, was like an exercise in vision. SEEING clearly. What is there. This physical reality is so obviously the symptomatic phenomena of a more real pattern of reality, the same way that I am.
A Path of Responsible Living. That is what is going on now. In the 60s, you were responsible if you were an activist overtly, and now it seems like you are responsible if you are an activist on an introverted level — spiritually.
And this path of responsibile living involves, more than anything else, THINKING, and LOVING. Sally Youngs says: “Everybody is a reflection of what they think God is. Even the drunkard. He obviously thinks liquor is where it is at.” She meant that on a subconscious level, this is what was taking place.
The reason everything seems so comical and awkward and self-righteous these days is that all of a sudden so many are CONSCIOUSLY aware of their ability to reflect what they think God is.
That is why some are going around with this holy look on their faces, tip-toeing around with gentle smiles and soft touches and heroic auras.
How can I BLAME them? It is never easy when you are NEW at this. And as much as we think we are PRACTICED at it, we are dead wrong; we are always in that birthing stage. That poignant, Cute-sie Cute birthing stage that should make each and everyone of us humble.
I can remember in our drama class in high school, the teacher tried to talk us into becoming free souls. “SPREAD YOUR WINGS,” she said, soaring across the gymnasium on tiptoes. She played “Message to Michael” by Dionne Warwick, for us to get free by. We all looked at each other self-consciously, shoulder bags flung over our shoulders and legs clad in runny hose that ran up under those tiny, tiny mini-skirts. And after awhile, like shy babies, we put down our purses and tried to fly. We felt foolish, but it felt right. We may have LOOKED foolish, but the BIRTHING process that was taking place in our minds, that unshackling, was RIGHT.
What I am trying to tell myself is: bite your tongue when you criticise, and remember that part of the birthing process is that foolish quality of ego, when you BECOME the thought projection of yourself you want, and your ego may temporarily beam at the rightness. Remember that each step is followed by another and another, and the human conceit will reveal itself, and fall away. My smirking disgust doesn’t have to smudge their act of growth.
* * *
It used to bother me to say things like, “Looks like rain today,” or “What time is it getting to be?” But sitting on the john down the hall here in Hanes Hall, asking Miz Carrie, “What time is it getting to be?” made me think, “This is part of being a member of the human race.”
The verbal exchanges that seem to say nothing at all are actually valid exchanges if you put energy there. Take “How are you?” You trade the sentence back and forth with an acquaintance a couple of times a week as you pass him on the street. What you are actually saying is: “I want to be or am obligated to stay on an exchange basis with you, even though it may be a minimal one. Part of me includes you in my universe.”
I’d like to remember that, so I don’t roll my eyes the next time some fratty looking boy I used to know or some former classmate asks, “How’s it going?” I can beam back, “Fine, and you?” And not wince when they say, “Tired of school,” or “Great.”
We are all just declaring our bond with the rest of the human race. Does it matter how we say it as long as we do? I think it is good to keep in touch with the different streams of communication, and appreciate every level, no matter how mundane they may seem.
Routine; boring minutes ticking away while the life inside of you hisses like a fire that’s had a pan of water thrown on it.
I’ve rarely lived in a routine long enough to get really bored, except last summer when I filled in grids for four hours straight for $2 an hour, day after day.
I can feel a routine evolving in my life right now, programmed deep inside, and now its existence is very fragile (keep it or not?) and I cradle it in my arms. Every distraction from it grates on my nerves. Normally I would find it unwise to allow the distractions to bother me. But in this instance, the routine I’m living in fits me like a glove made for my hand and nobody else’s. I can hear the voice that knows best urging me to protect this baby. If I do, I will have constructed one of my most reliable tools for the finer thoughts and most productive, bright moments to filter through.
I woke with cramps this morning, and felt happy that I did not have to go to work today. After Mrs. B. left, I went and laid down, feeling that dull, heavy warmth throbbing in my abdomen. It felt wet to me, as if someone had poured very hot water on my innards, and that first splash where water met flesh and the warmth set the flesh to tingling would last forever. If I am somewhere, like at work, when it happens, it makes me tired, and my legs feel swollen up and heavy and my whole body feels dull and hollow with the desire to melt into that furnace stoking itself in my abdomen.
But this morning, it felt nice in its pain-voice, pinning the tag on my shirt. “She is a member of the human race, (and she is a she.)” The seasons are changing in me.
I can’t lay flat out on my back times like this. I know if I curled up into a little ball with a pillow on my stomach, I’d sleep and wake up in 3-4 hours and it’d be over — the pain would be.
Steve came in and because we haven’t been alone in 3 days because Mrs. B. was here, he wanted to look at me a long time, and I wanted to look at him but my eyes kept closing. He asked me if I’d like to be read to. “Yeah.” I said. “What would you like to hear?” “Read me joy.”
“Be joyful, for joy lets in the light, and where there is joy, there is little room for glamour and misunderstanding.”
“Aim at demonstrating happiness. Be joyous in your work and service. Be not so intense, but go happily along the lighted way. Such is my prayer for you.”
Tracy and I butted heads very politely when we talked of my distrust of gleaming names, like the Hierarchy, and Angel Chamuel and the whole Hierarchy terminology, like angelic force, purple transmuting flame, and so on.
It is not so much that I DISTRUST the words. “It is the silent knowing that matters for me. Isn’t that as good?” She: “But that is the same thing as when you speak the words, and call it by name. You have the knowing and the spoken words.”
I think to myself: She is right in that the entire system is ONE, and if you seek divisive points, you’ll find them. But still, the English language qualifies the meaning; it is not clear enough. It sounds HOKEY to me, and so I just want to have the silent knowing and not confuse anyone with evolutionary scale terms like “Initiate,” and so on. My point in the evolution is not a legitimate concern. Is it? I’m scattered enough in my energies; it is hard enough trying to build a single-minded entity with a steady vibration of love and selflessness. How can I worry about being adept at naming the landmarks along the map different mystics give you, too? Don’t I trust my own mind enough to challenge where I should challenge, and accept where I should accept? Or at least come close most of the time? The perceptions of my soul can put no name on the stepping stones of my progression, on the energies that constantly flow into me, become qualified by me, and leave me.
I was taken to a hospital and they hooked me up to a machine and I felt an electrical current soar through me like a powerful God I’d encountered by chance, and when I woke up in the hospital I was still in the dream, but I just WAS, I couldn’t have any thoughts to myself. Someone had taken away my ability to feel. All I could do was SEE. The pretty colored swirls of feelings that have always been with me were dead, more or less. All there was was a little bird me, skinny legs propping me up on a branch, wide-eyed like a baby waking up from an afternoon nap, sitting very still and harmless, eyes big as dollars. (That’s what I dreamed last night.)
Sometimes I can feel the blood rushing through my veins and part of me raises a little above myself in a halleluia motion and even with my eyes closed I can feel/see every single motion of my universe, and it is all I can do not to scream a piercing animal sound.
I tried to tell Sally about it. “Sometimes I feel like screaming ‘EEEEEEEEEEEEE!’ Do you know what I mean?” She half-laughs, shakes her head, and says, “no . . . o . . . o . . . o” the way she does when she is sort of just tolerating me. “It’s a sound that will break glass,” I tell her.
Hot desert-like air, slapping me in the face. My list-of-things-to-do clasped in one hand. I watch my Dr. Scholl’s feet and wonder why I prefer to be alone as I walk.
The lady in the drugstore wrapped me in a cool, soothing summer breeze, made my headache SO much better, all because she took time to be polite. She knew I didn’t feel good, and she offered me a smile and she didn’t even know me. The thing is, I could tell she is like that all the time, making people’s days a little bit better. That goodness makes me cry, it is so good. And she’ll keep coming to work day in and day out and would never think about quitting, because she knows there are too many strangers out there that need her, whether they know it or not.
Now I’m back in this office, white walls whining at me making me wish I were anywhere but here.
I can see a pattern in the bad times and good times. It always seems like right before I’m to take a vacation, or graduate from a tedious year at some school, or take a Nestea-plunge, all the undone odds and ends from the work cycle inch their way to my feet, and hold them and I cannot leave until they are all done. Freedom costs something. If I duck my responsibilities, the contract is all off, and I’m worse than before. You have to own up to that, and do your part. For some reason, it makes me think of what R.W. said over and over, and I could tell he’d learned it from experience: “If you leave without love, you’ll be right back there.”
If I leave my office, leaving so much undone that I am not happy about it, I’ll be right back here after vacation de-doubly burdened, because the two weeks of mindless leisure will have erased the hows and whys of the stacks of papers I’d left behind.
This past few weeks haven’t been the easiest. I’ve been a stutterer in my communications with myself.
I feel bland and over-stated, reading my words. Boredom with my own excitability sets in, and I feel like an old cow, big eyed, with a long tongue that stretches out at you lazily. Every now and then a MOOOOOOOO. What I am feeling is this: an inability to relate to what I had ONCE written down. Those times I describe are not right NOW, and so they are like books I haven’t read, stacked on the shelves, that I can’t tell anyone a thing about.
I HAVE my totality, that is not it. I have that, it is just that I no longer carry every experience around with me anymore in my conscious mind, or every opinion I garnish so heavily with my own perspective, all neatly packaged in photo-plastic pages, in a little book in my purse, that I pull out at a moment’s notice and say, “THIS is how I felt about this.”
How could anybody possibly expect people to retain memories in their conscious minds of reincarnational dramas they’d participated in? I can’t even remember what it was like to be in the ones that have come and gone in my own life in the past few years. It’s my personality I’m losing touch with. Maybe that is good, but it isn’t the detachment process I expected and had read about. I’m getting more ONE with a deeper creative self, but the self I’m accustomed to using to handle everyday situations is like a face dancer from the Dune trilogy. One day I am an old woman, another day I am a young boy, another day I’m the cat, and some days I’m nothing, and I can’t move, I just lay in the hammock and I am the scene in front of me, the trees, the sky, the barn, the movements, the silence.
Betsy Campbell Blackwell