Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Fall Equinox 2015 - Attachment - Life and Death, The Musical

 I spent the last few hours reading and ruminating over my previous posts on my word of the year, attachment. I don't like to read my posts after the fact. It is hard to go back and look without wanting to edit the poorly constructed posts but....well, it is not like life comes with an editor. These blog posts aren't meant to be anything but conversational, anyway. Don't ask me who I am talking to. If you are reading this...I am talking to YOU. What I state in posts of the past is not of contention if how I say it is and it is time to move forward; It is time to look at the world from today after the attachments have been loosened, burned and/or sent packing.

No matter what word I would have chosen for this year, the year would have still been life changing, I know. When I close my eyes and reflect on this last nine months, I see the peeling away of layer after layer of complicated mechanisms that were at work in keeping me slowly gamboling through my life with the center of my balance in survival...but no sustainable grace of living fully; no wholeheartedness, no dancing. I felt so high when all of these things began to leave off that, at one point I thought it was the 70's again. Being that enhanced at my age never portends a positive turn of events (lovely as it is). Usually it denotes a manic episode and perhaps a stroke in the wings. This is what the experience of an aging empath brings...owning that not everything that glitters is mine.

In letting go of attachments this year I fell, I slipped up and staggered my way through these changes. The fall I took - the WAY I fell - horrified me though I wasn't hurt at all. I wounded myself at one point producing a very large hemotoma that covered half my left arm that was the result of doing nothing more than sitting at my computer quoting the Bible in my blog just prior to Easter. The doctor could find no medical reason for my stigmata. Side eyes were shared all around. The slip in January was emotional and humiliating and the stumble I took in July lamed me up good for eight weeks. A soft tissue injury, it knocked me off my diet and exercise regimen and left me disheartened as I watched 18 months of established good habits and weight loss vaporize as I had to leave off the use of my leg. It seems I am being taught how to walk upright on earth under new conditions after my long exile in the exosphere. My reentry to earth from that loopy orbit was every bit as emotionally trying as Ryan's reentry in the film "Gravity" that I presaged to link to in June. The aftermath has been physically challenging. I had forgotten how hard the ground can be on a girl. Gone is the swagger in my gait. I now walk like a Long John Silver...but man, oh man, I can take in some really fascinating things from this hobbled vantage point!

It is as if all the things that had kept me in a certain alignment in my life were banished or went slack and I'm still dealing with the whiplash. I couldn't be happier, in truth. I know these things had to go. It is a housecleaning of sorts. It is to my chagrin only that I failed to understand initially the physical consequence such a lack of tethering would produce. That said, there is another sensation that I have experienced: one of a certain clarity regarding my place in the scheme of things. I'm starting to "get" life on a new level.

I am seeing things in a new light in my crawling out from the cocoon, standing up and rising above; a newly appreciated perception I did not have access to in the old way I was functioning. I feel differently towards injustice and my boundaries, for one. I push back now when violated which is very new for me. I received an unjustified vehicular moving violation from the authorities and I responded the best way I knew how in my defense and something actually happened in my favor as a result. It wasn't like it was a full on battle but it was a scrap and I dished out what I felt was appropriate. Before, I wouldn't have even bothered. There has been a tightening of my ability to respond to these types of encounters and things make a certain "sense" to me now where before I could not hardly follow what was going on when there was conflict. Much of these changes are, perhaps, from a returning confidence replacing my need for these things that were just not good to continue to hold on to: I let blaming my Father go - I let the concept of success go - I let worrying about money go - I let saving face go - I let needing to appear strong go - I let expecting others to understand go - I let magical thinking go - I let other people's opinions of me go - I let the fear of receiving attention go - I let needing to have the answers go - I let fear of failure go - I let needing to be right go... Most difficult and heartbreaking was letting go of how I was loving people both real and imagined; attaching in lieu of connecting. Gone.

I'm still pretentious, self-absorbed, undisciplined and sloppy...among other things. I'm a happy mess and I keep a home that could easily be declared uninhabitable by many.  As Courtnee Fallon Rex explains in her fabulous blog post called "How I Separated from My Stuff", there is this hard truth:  "...A big part of letting go of attachment to a lot of my material things has stemmed from learning that there is an inherent value in memories fading over time..." Not an easy prospect to gain purchase on for a hardwired archivist like myself! I need to let go of plenty material attachments - and I need to remain confident I will find the strength to do so as these things infringe upon my new well being. Right now, though, I'm feeling the need to begin to fill in this new sense of being earth bound with interesting ideas, compassionate work and mystery. I'm taking it slow - some because I have to and some because I want to savor this space and feel this personal empowerment and growth. It feels not totally unlike a live birth/creation ripe within me. Perhaps I will finally learn the lessons required to become fully human and someone who can contribute in some way. I really don't know. All I know is that it is about "yay" big and it is part of me.

While all of this letting go of attachment has been going on there have been, too, connections made and new information regarding my interest in understanding where the conversations in our culture are going regarding death and dying. There are plenty of ideas and some are striking me as ingenious. The ideas that Stephen Jenkinson are throwing down are real deal breakers in our cultural investment in anthropomorphizing death by vilifying it which turns all religious construct and human perspective on the matter on its ear and spinning. The revelations of this work in "Die Wise" are rooted so deep into the depths of human consciousness that my resistance to the information repeatedly steels me from it. The impact is such that I have to read these perspectives over and over again to make sure I am understanding these concepts correctly. I think I am but the ideas are so massively encompassing that each layer of understanding must be meditated upon to actually "get" it. Well I'm in, of course, because now I have all the psychic, spiritual, intellectual and emotional boom room!

All of this activity over the last nine months doesn't mean to suggest that that I haven't felt acutely the loss of these old ways of being in the world. Some of the releasing was profoundly painful. Sometimes the attachment was so deep that I felt like I had betrayed these ways of being. Many times I felt ashamed that I don't have more control over my behavior. There was bargaining and 11th hour hopes for rescue and redemption employed. I turned to the works of Amanda Fucking Palmer and her cadre of fans,Neil Gaiman, Brene Brown, C. Anthony Martignetti, Greg Sage/Wipers, Krista Detor, Andy White, and many others for inspiration and strength to stay the course and I'm deeply thankful that I have held together thus far. It is largely due to the work of those listed.
The entirety of  Salty Dog by Procol Harum has been on constant rotation during this period because, well, I only truly understand my life as a musical and this record kept me apace. Without music I've no movement or navigation. I often wonder if artists can ever know what it is to stand in the presence of their gifts. How I deeply appreciate an artists hard work in channeling this immense amount of vibrational and timeless confluence! What that must entail! I can't even imagine. I'm knee deep in a vulnerable and naive state of the detail and mastery required to produce such works in order to receive what is given. I am fed by art and when and if the day every arrives when it is time to give back, in this life or another, I hope I will be ready. In the mean time, I'm taking that love I receive and applying the strength and compassion to my work with those who struggle with the loss of their lives through their dying process. To support and witness to seeing to it that (to quote Captain Barbossa in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End), "Dying is the day worth living for".

This too has been a constant through this year: The knowledge that there has to be loss...there has to be a type of suffering in life. Most importantly there is always suffering a loss to make waygoing for more life in the natural order of things. I think I'm beginning to understand better my own nature and the nature of the world. This is how it works.

I'm posting this Equinox writing a little early. I'm going to the coast soon and today is my 62nd birthday. As well, it is Talk Like a Pirate Day. In a humorous way, I enjoy sharing my birthday with this paean to the sanitized, romantic notion of free spirit and outlaw. Such is the way of dreams and imagery; joy and art. I would never in a million years think that I would feel this excited and entranced over the grand mystery of life as I feel at this age. I wake in amazement and I wonder what extraordinary thing will happen today and something always DOES! It slays me.

So, in closing, a few things nautical: A rallying cry from First Mate, Joshamee Gibbs*, " The wind's on our side, boys! That's all we need! " and this...

 Wreck of the Hesperus
We'll hoist a hand, becalmed upon a troubled sea
'Make haste to your funeral, ' cries the Valkyrie
We'll hoist a hand or drown amidst this stormy sea
'Here lies a coffin, ' cries the cemet'ry, it calls to me
And all for nothing quite in vain was hope forever tossed
No thoughts explained, no moments gained, no hope forever lost
One moment's space, one moment's final fall from grace
Burnt by fire, blind in sight, lost in ire

We'll hoist a hand, becalmed upon a troubled sea
I fear a mighty wave is threatening me
We'll hoist a hand, or drown amidst this stormy sea
'Come follow after, ' cry the humble, 'You will surely see...'
But still for nothing quite in vain was hope forever tossed
No moments gained, no thoughts explained, no hope forever lost
One moment's space, one moment's final fall from grace
Burnt by fire, blind in sight, lost in ire
Songwriters: M. FISHER, K. REID
The Wreck Of The Hesperus lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

*Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End 
Photo credit: Stephen Dalton/Mindon Pictures; video: #ProcolHarum

1 comment:

Belinda Grames said...

thank's for updating friend.
I appreciate your unfolding and your sharing.