Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Finding a new way... writing long hand at a coffee shop in Seattle's sweet Fremont district.
I 'm just home from three weeks in Washington State. While there, on the first day of ten days that I was alone grand-dog sitting, my computer crashed. Aside from something happening that was actually serious, it's the worst thing I could think of that could happen, and it sent me into a huge tailspin, wondering what the H I was going to do up there for ten days, all alone, WITHOUT my computer. No writing, no uploading my photos, no photoshopping, no emailing, no flickr, no musings, no Unraveling, no spider solitaire. Nothing but me and Lola and gray and cold and rain. For ten long days.
I'll be writing more about this later, I'm sure, but what I discovered is that Life could not have sent me a greater gift. It put my computer addiction (I prefer to use the term "misuse"... :) squarely into my face in a way that I could not ignore. I was confronted with ME, in a way that I haven't been in quite some time, probably since I bought my first laptop many years ago. I was face to face with the knowledge of how dependent I had become, how I've used the computer to deaden the pain and cope with depression (possibly also extending it at the same time), how much of my precious life time and energy I waste on the computer, how it takes me away from myself, my loved ones, my world.
Talk about drifting. Talk about edges. Talk about watching what you ask for. (I'm pretty sure one cannot be danced while one is buried in a laptop...) It was a time of some serious withdrawal; of depression, eating too many comfort foods, and lots and lots of Netflix streaming. But thankfully, there was also discovery; a new and different voice as I started writing long hand, experimenting with drawing, and making art on the dreary, endless-seeming days; there was the joyful relief when on a couple of occasions the sun parted the heavy cloud cover for half a day and I could get out and explore and take pics. And a big, nostalgic reminder of what it's like to simply sit, and be present with whatever it is that is revealing itself in the moment. By the time I got my computer back eight days later, there was - there still is - a huge desire to find a greater balance, to use it - as opposed to misuse - as the great and wonderful tool that it is, to learn, once again, what it's like to be alone, with myself, and to return to those things that in the past, pre computer, nurtured and fed me; simple things like heading outdoors in the early summer mornings, visiting a garden or the ocean, watching the world, picking up an actual pen, or the big one, just being.
The depression has hung on... I realize that though I'm no longer living in the black hole, I am balanced precariously, and it takes just the slightest breeze to nudge me into the real gray again. I'm trying not to resist, I'm trying to look the other way when the negative voice of depression whispers that I'm never really going to get better, that I have no life, that I'll never manifest as I truly desire to, etc., etc., yada, yada. Some moments it is easier than others. Sometimes just being is the ultimate challenge, or, as I've known from the past couple of years, just getting out of bed or up off the sofa. But one thing is for sure, I've come through this latest experience with a great desire not to deaden myself even more with this machine. To use it wisely and with consciousness, rather than the numbing drug of choice to take me ever further from myself and the world.
Friday, June 10, 2011
For me, the edge is always about the heart. To let mine be open and exposed, to feel its torn edges and rawness, to not turn and run, to allow love (rather than fear) to flow through it and around it and in it. Always the moment to moment challenge. Lately, more and more, the moment by moment longing.
I made a huge realization this week. There's a way - sometimes subtle, sometimes hanging out like laundry flapping in the wind - that I walk this life feeling picked on. It was one of those OMG moments of such clear seeing. And understanding. And compassion. I feel picked on because I was picked on. I learned to expect it. I grew a skin that was both thickened by it and ultra sensitive to it.
I love these epiphanys as much as I hate them. In them is potential for regret and sadness, sometimes shame. But also - gratefully - opportunity, potential freedom, glimmers of grace, doorways to pass through, ledges toward the edges.
I've been saying it for years... that I want to learn to live life from the offensive rather than the defensive. The offensive I get now, being love, the defensive, fear. My first therapist used to tell me there are only two things, love and fear. My spiritual teacher, Isaac, would no doubt say they are opposite sides of the same coin. My friend Sharon says it's all consciousness... indeed, and they dance in me, sometimes a slow waltz, other times a chaotic frenzy, but here's the truth, they have both been my greatest teachers, both ripped my legs out from under me, and each has had me crawling on my knees toward that edge.
And one of these days, who knows, maybe the great leap will happen. Or, maybe it's actually happening, invisibly, one breath, one moment, one day, one seeing at a time.
I'm curious what it is that might take you to your edges...
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
This is how I'm feeling after the first full week of the Unraveling course. The photos, and what I've written, are not part of the course. They're my way of expressing what the experience has been like so far.
Today I am...
thinking I should be careful what I ask for
Today I am...
on the outside looking in
Today I am...
for the first time
Today I am...
to reach out a hand
I'm wondering... what are you today? I'd love to hear...