15 February 2007

The church of what is happening now

I feel this little cloud of sunshine has come over me -- isn't that a funny way to think of it? But there it is. I've been reading this nice book a friend recommended, and now I feel all happy. I watched Michel Gondry's out-loud dream, The Science of Sleep, the other night and I felt such love and sorrow for that character, Stephane, little piece of putty that he was, despising himself and taking it all out on the people around him. And of course I saw how I've done that and how much time I have spent railing against what is.

Supposed to, my foot! It turns out nothing is what I had thought, and I'm only just now really noticing that. No one ever said life was supposed to be ____ [fill in the blank with your issue du jour]. Life just is. People are who they are. I can't just go around making and imposing rules and conditions and expect that to take care of things. I have to be who I am, and they absolutely have to be who they are, whether they are my closest friends and relatives or driving around on the roads with me.

Here's an example of the kind of dialogue that is helping me rethink -- and refeel -- things:

Something that troubles me is when people don't look out for each other. I feel disappointed and sad and frightened when people around me aren't paying attention to who is around them. So an underlying belief of mine is that people should take care of each other all the time. Do they really do this? Is this true? No. People take care of each other sometimes and don't at others. Who would I be without this belief? I would be more trusting and freer around people, more relaxed. Can I see a reason to drop this belief (and I'm not asking myself to drop it, just whether I can see why I might)? Yes. I would be more relaxed, more present, more attentive to what is really going on around me than fearful of what might happen if I don't watch out for everyone [because no one else is paying attention is the story, and in that story I think I have to do that for everyone else]. Can I see a stress-free reason to keep that belief? No. It's all about fear. Now, turn it around. I am afraid I'm not taking care of everyone all the time. I am angry at myself for not taking care of everyone. I'm afraid I'm not taking care of myself all the time. Can I absolutely know that is true? No. And so it goes on, this dialogue within.

Funny, because I always point at some bugaboo in others first, which now I see points right back to me -- but suddenly I am not feeling the need to point at myself or anyone else anymore. I realized that in my work for some folks last year I was trying to do a job blamelessly, which was such a strange way to look at it. I have been so hard on others and therefore myself in so many ways I can't even count them. And I wonder, How can I make amends for that? And another beam of sunshine pours through that little hole and down onto my world. I can't help how simple it is; it just is, and I am left with nothing but love for myself and everyone I've ever wronged. I have to make some amends, today, too; I'm getting all teary just thinking about it. It will take work and humility to repair this, but I know the loving is healing my soul.

And as I experience all my midlife questions and seek answers from everyone around me without looking to myself, I see how I learned somewhere not to trust myself or others and that was the story I carried around with me for a long time. But that story is just a story from then; now it looks and feels to me like a heavy bag I can set down and leave behind for good if I look at it a little more closely. Ah, this is what they mean by the examined life.

So thanks for sharing your midlife transformation, Katie. It's a wonderful thing, like a blooming flower in my life. I feel like a blossoming flower again. It's been a long time since I could say that.

In other news, I have discovered that I did indeed get the E ticket to the Boulder International Film Fest for my loving labors as a volunteer; this is all one of my ideas of heaven. Having the big ticket means I get to go to all the films and the parties, so I'm gonna see some interesting stuff and do it up, girlfriend!

And I am secretly preparing to "play" a Prince song at the air guitar competition at the film fest this weekend, so I gotta get busy. Stay tuned....

No comments: