Thursday, March 09, 2006

games.. and love?

"learn to recognize the SMELL of your OWN BULLSHIT."

i remember loud and clear. my several-time professor and long-time mentor, James Baker Hall (K-Y poet laureate~you can look him up. most of his stuff is really dark and sad.** photographer, too), pronounced this so many times in our round-table autobiography-writing classes. fluffy white brows furled, eyes bugging from glasses perched low on his nose, fingers dancing in space for extra emphasis. i will never forget the way he said that last word, "bool-she-it", rolling it around in his Kentucky-bred-and-raised mouth. maybe as if it were a gristly piece of country ham, tangy and potent and persistent. he got the point across. many times our lives are too painful, too ugly, too raw for us to bear to be present. we let go of the reins, and let autopilot take control. but we owe it to ourselves to tell our story. in the telling is the healing. and in the telling it is VITAL to get it straight~~to be responsible, and true. now, any good storyteller is going to weave her own spin. but may it be clear: that even though it's her side of the story, she is being honest to her own gut. to the way her heart knows the truth.
from the buddhist way of understanding, i am learning that lots of times our whole adult lives are spent in that autopilot non-awake zone. that the truth about living itself is too raw for us to bear: that things are constantly changing. that the objects and relationships and ways we identify ourselves that make us feel good one day, will not be that way the next. we try to hold onto something, to make it concrete, just as it melts and melds in its ever-changing liquidness. to be awake to this is risky, and the ultimate goal.

i feel like i've been catching myself at my own games recently.
have you been the recipient of this? i'm almost certain you have..

even though i come in a pleasant (for the most part. . ), well-intentioned package, i'm realizing again and again more and more that my motivations aren't what i thought they were. if i even thought to consider them before (not sure).
Thich Nhat Hanh's words keep coming to me over and over again lately, "what ARE you doing?" [my emphasis (thanks, Beth! :)] i feel like i should cloister myself (WITHOUT my cyber-pacifier) for a long while, or send myself out into the wilderness somewhere (no snow, please..) to be alone (with the trees and squirrels), and at least only manipulate myself.
it is a new venture for me: to see with compassion. i try to keep in mind the food for thought that Dar sent out~~that in essence, with every action, every one of us is desiring either to give, or to receive love. i look around~~at people, and their interactions, their games, their choices, and i try to see this dance of give and take. love love love.
i try to see this in myself. and i think, "awww, honey," as the little girl in me once again curtseys to win applause, as the adult in me tries to feed that hole, superficially, for the mean-time, pushing the same empty pleasure button. feeling like no more than a blinky spastic chemical ball that's just looking to get that next fix. only now as i reach ~ i'm stuttering~~"what ARE you doing?" i batter myself with this over and over throughout the day (sounds like a compassionate exchange, huh?) and am very tired by the end of the day. .. and then having dreams that are detailed and visceral. judgmental characters from my past come to scrutinize me as i apply makeup backstage. women who don't know me comment about how stinky my b.o. is.

i suppose that it's better that i'm seeing my own games, seeing the way i may be bullshitting myself (and, in turn many times~~you). that this is a step in the right direction, on the path i wish to travel. i'm showing up sometimes. sometimes in mid-movement, mid-sentence, mid-drama.
so if you notice this~~and feel a sudden lurch or swerve~~perhaps you might gently understand that it's just me, learning to drive without autopilot.

**i tend to disagree with him, in that: he left no room for humor. this was avoidance, in his eyes. to me, it seems to be a necessary survival skill. .

photo: me. today. here, but worn out.


alyssum said...

My sister said the energy of Boulder is like the topography of the land. You have a thousand miles of flat prairie, and then WHAM: the mountains. Boulder's skyrocketing energy is a wave to surf. "Most people," she says, "go up with the rise in energy and then crash, get pulled into the undertow and leave fairly quickly, unable to deal with the intensity. A very few people learn how to ride the energy and be sustained by it and not the other way around". Somehow this post reminds me of that, and seems appropriate for me to share with you.

Percy Trout said...


what am i doing?

god, i wish i knew.