Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Shards Again

So listen to this 
shards -
I woke up at 3:30
overwhelmed with the shards that are still on the ground
I want them to be hard plastic shards - I know they are a deep red in color - yes, the color of blood, but don't be alarmed - it's just a color
But I want them to be hard plastic because I want to get down on the ground and beat the hell out of them with a sledge hammer - but that would be really heavy so maybe just a heavy duty regular hammer
beat beat beat , hammer hard
make those shreds into a fine powder - at first I thought make them into sand 
but that's not right because  sand is not soft -
sand can hurt
it can be edgy
make them into a fine powder
soft as baby powder
make it so I can blow them away
where would the shards go?
into the ocean or into the trees along the bike route
but here's the thing
they are NOT plastic shards
they are sheet metal shards
with edges so crisp they cut
and , yes, they are blood red in color
and shards like that cannot be beaten into a powder
but then I thought - I wonder how thick that metal is 
it's not like State Steel thick
It's not like roofing thick
it's like that shiny silver thick that drainpipes are made from 
what if it were foil thick?
what if I could bend it  and twist it
how would that be?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Afternoon of Life

Thoroughly unprepared, we take the step into the afternoon of life. Worse still, we take this step with the false presupposition that our truths and our ideals will serve us as hitherto. But we cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning, for what was great in the morning will be little at evening and what in the morning was true, at evening will have become a lie.” 
 C.G. Jung

      Oh, Carl, interesting stuff you threw out here.  I like the notion of stepping into the afternoon of life.  That 's where my life is right now.  The dawn was fresh, new and full of youthful energy. Child eyes were amazed as the day and the world  revealed itself  Then came the early morning time - very productive and still energetic,  bathed in an assumption that all was possible.  As the morning wore on, a bit of fatigue set in with the hard work that presented itself but my heart and bones were ready and eager for the challenges.  Mid day  gave pause and time for a bit of a break.  For me, nourishment came in the form of creativity and connections and now I am at the 2:00 hour and wondering what I want to do in the afternoon.

     If, as you say, I cannot live the afternoon of life according to the morning program, then what are my guidelines?  It's true that morning was about productivity and achievement.  I put everything I had into the work of parenting and even had some passion and spark left over to give to the children of the community.  But, have no doubt about it, that was intense labor and there was very little rest.  The focus was on execution and accomplishment of the tasks.  Physical and mental muscles were tense and toned, and work was the cornerstone of my life.

    But the hour has changed.  The task of raising children is done.  I am still nurturing the community's children but the most important work of my life has moved from constant employment to consultant status.  I worked hard in the morning light.  My life had a focus, my time was dictated by lists and I applied myself. As the afternoon turns warm and a little breezy, I find myself embracing the sleepy slower pace.  My attention wanders but I know there is still much to learn.  The morning's agenda was rich in action and reaction but the tenor for the afternoon appears to be observation  and reflection.  Morning's pace didn't allow much time to really notice and record the day but the afternoon is open and conducive to that.

   It appears that the afternoon is a quieter time, a napping time, a solitary time.  I find myself conversing with myself through art, through movement (think walks and bike rides), through dreams and writing.  The conversations are aimless.  I ask questions and wait for answers, which don't come very quickly.   I notice the colors, the patterns, the shadows, the brilliance everywhere, including the pictures in my mind.  I attempt to record them but not in order to hold on to them.  I record them in order to see them better.  I attempt to write about the conversations but the words don't always make sense to anyone but me.  And sometimes the words convey scarcely an instant, an internal ah-ha experience that can only be hinted at with words.

   But, Carl, you scare me a bit when you write about that which was true in the morning may well become a lie by nightfall.  It scares me for several reasons.  For one thing, if it is a lie then did I waste the morning of my life?  If it is a lie, then what was I supposed to be doing?  And can you be more clear?  What part may have been a lie?  Should I not have worked so hard?  Should I not have cared so much? Perhaps I am taking the word lie too seriously.  Perhaps what you mean is that the behaviors, motivations, and impulses of the morning belong in the morning but they no longer belong to the night.  So, if placed at night, then they would be a lie.
     No matter.  The morning is done but the day is not done.  I can still learn.  I can still be in the world, wanting and willing to make the most of this mystery called life. The afternoon promises to be rich in conversations and connections, in observations, details, and chronicles.  Out of those moments, I hope to find some hints at what night will bring.  What lies will I discover?  Will it matter when the end of the day comes?  Maybe.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Your Wishes All Come True

      Forever Young - hmmmm - not so much something I want as I am learning more and more every year and that is good.  But, yesterday was my birthday and birthdays always give me pause to consider such notions.  I was working out when my head was filled with  the ever engaging version of Forever Young by Bob Dylan.  I remember being a college student and singing along with Bob, so young and so sure of myself. I  knew it all and never really thought that there would be a time when I wasn't young.  Maybe it's because the lyrics are haunting and true, but that song can stop me in my tracks and make wet stuff show up in my eyes.

      I still want to build that ladder to the stars.  I still want to climb every rung.  But you have to let go of some things because there just isn't time in life for everything.  Priorities have to be sorted out and they have to be sorted out over and over again.  At this point, I am still strong enough to build a ladder but do I have time to reach the stars?  I doubt it.

     I want to know the truth and I want to see the light surrounding me but how exactly do you do that?  Even as I write, I wonder what is the truth.  My friend Jim tells me about the light surrounding me and I want to understand that but it's not always there.  I am still learning.  The killer line here is,  "May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong".   Go figure.  That seems to be impossible for me.  I can do what is expected of me.  I pull off professional responsibilities with relative ease (though I may whine and appear stressed out).  I can walk my way through life, following the ruts and routines that I have created.  But be courageous?  Not really.  Being courageous implies breaking out of old habits.  I was way more courageous when I was young than I am now.  I must say, however, that it was recently pointed out to me that not being as courageous at this point in my life as I may have been thirty years ago makes sense too.  After all, I know a lot more now than I did then.  I only THOUGHT I knew it then.  Now I know all the bad things that can happen.  I am well acquainted with grief, loss, regret, vulnerability.  So being courageous now is far more challenging than at age 28.

    Bob also sings about having a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift.  That strong foundation was laid years ago but it constantly needs to be attended to.  It needs reinforcement and sometimes it just has to be rebuilt.  The longer that foundation exists, the more attention it needs in order to sustain it.  Winds of change can blow mighty hard and can threaten even the strongest foundation.  And you never know when those winds are going to come up.  They are not attached to any particular season and they can be accompanied by a hard rain or searing fires.  Be prepared for change or your foundation may well crumble and take you with it.

    The part that shows that one is forever young is when the heart is joyful.  Young people are joyful, in the moment people.  They know how to be right here, right now.  They know how to reach out to other people and embrace them.  They freely give smiles and hugs and kisses.  People who are young can fill the world with I love you's and never think a second thought about it.  They see the world in rainbow colors and laugh with delight on a whim.  Now THAT'S the forever young that I want to be.


May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

Monday, September 5, 2011

On Stage

"People don't want their lives fixed. Nobody wants their problems solved. Their dramas. their distractions. Their stories resolved. Their messes cleaned up. Because what would they have left? Just the big scary unknown." 
 Chuck Palahniuk (Survivor)

     I have decided that life is just too much drama.  I just want to be alive in this one moment.  I want to see what is in this one moment:  the colors, the angles, the sparkles, the brilliance, the eyes, the self and, yes, the darkness and the dullness.  I want to hear what is in this one moment as well:  the ticking clock, the traffic, the kid voices, the songs of my life, laughter, my breathing,  and, yes, perhaps most especially, the silence.  And then I want to taste what is in this one moment:  the bitter, the sweet, the fresh bread, the cool water, the salty sweat, the tinge of spice and yes, the pinot noir .  I want to smell what is in this one moment too:  hot asphalt, tiny roses, Ellie dog fur, the scent of a man, beach memories, lemon slices, and,  if I am lucky, good, simple food and drink.  Most of all, I want to feel what is in this moment:  my aliveness, my headache, sun's warmth,  curiosity, calmness, fear, connectedness, and, most of all , acceptance for all that is in this one moment.  Nothing else but now.  The moment is on stage.  There is no room for drama when I invite the moment up on stage.