So, how do I know I’m connected to things, to whatever I’m doing, to other people? Do I presume that because I’m in agreement or in synchronicity with things around me? Do I feel connected with other people and issues simply because I agree? I was on a meditation session earlier, and the group was discussing compassion. There were hundreds of words, but I kept feeling that we were missing the point of compassion. Then again, maybe I’m the one missing the point. They were discussing a lot of laughter and smiling and feeling good and doing good things, and I was more on the beam of doing things unselfishly with the aim of eliminating the suffering of another. I gave the example of a burly firefighter, in full fire gear, unshaven, spitting tobacco, scowling…who goes into a burning building to put out the fire and save lives, if he can. Many firefighters have died in the performance of their duty, because this is what they do – run into burning structures while others are running out, trying to eliminate a fire that may cost others their lives, or at the very least, their property. I count that in the compassion column. It just doesn’t look like Princess Diana hugging African children in a poverty-stricken village. But is it not the same thing? Is it not caring deeply for the suffering of another, and seeking to eliminate that, even at the risk of personal cost? I think some of that went entirely over the heads of my fellow group members, but that’s not my business.

I am having a bit of a wrestling match with this whole issue of maintaining connection, despite friction and despite conflict, or even repulsion. Are two magnets in connection when their like poles are repulsing each other? I suppose they are. I would imagine there is still a connection, one that consists of repulsion. The energy of the repulsion cannot exist without the potential energy of the attraction. As I am writing that, however, I am wondering whether attraction and connection are synonymous. Hmmm. I’ll have to get back to that.

At any rate, I’m also wrestling with the news coverage of this CPAC gathering, and the creative truth telling that went on there. The golden statue of the former leader is ludicrous, and not terribly attractive, but folks lined up to take selfies with it. The CEO of Goya Foods pledged allegiance to the former POTUS, whose trash-talking of Spanish-speaking immigrants continues to be the most vitriolic of all trash-talking. Candace Owens, a Black woman who identifies as both conservative and a supporter of the former POTUS, and who formed the BLEXIT group (Black Exit) and speaks out vehemently against Black lives Matter, is trending on Twitter for … I have no idea what. All of that to say…I just don’t understand people, but I pay attention to them. In some cases, I am repulsed, but am I not somehow still connected? I am locked into my opposition of them, and non-acceptance of their positions, their logic (or lack thereof), their wrong-ness…at least in my opinion. I’m not quite sure why today, this particular today, is bringing me to a higher level of frustration with this than usual. Must be something in the ether.

Many years ago, I was kind of, almost, dating someone who observed that I live most of my life alone. And by that, they were not referencing the physical circumstance of living alone, of being an only child. They were speaking of how I experience life, how I go through significant experiences, life’s ups and downs, hardship, change. And they were absolutely correct. It rarely occurs to me that I should, or can, seek the advice of people close to me when it comes to making decisions. I suppose that as I age, I find myself leaning a little more intentionally on my inner circle, but it is a challenge and sometimes an effort to reach out and solicit advice, or opinion, or experience. Sometimes I wonder if that’s because I really don’t trust anybody, and sometimes I wonder if that’s because there’s really not been anybody there in the past. I guess I have gotten into the habit of depending only on myself…but there’s a big problem with that as well, because sometimes I don’t really trust myself. Hm. Not quite sure how to get around that, but I guess I do somehow because I’m still standing. It would be nice, though, to do this life thing a little differently, ’cause I’m old and fat and tired. Dammit.

I’m trying to think of when I felt connected, and don’t think I feel entirely disconnected from people and situations now. I usually think other people are more connected with each other than they are with me, or me with them, but I’m not sure that’s reality. I recalled a while ago that I made a conscious decision to not succumb to bitterness, at a particular point in my life when it was a fair choice. I hold myself to that, despite how I might present to the outside world.

I am wondering if I am faced with a similar decision point now, to decide whether or not I want to risk living my life more in community, or at least in connection with others. I’m not really interested in being in a capital-R-relationship with anyone, but a circle of spirits might be nice. That sounds really high-fallutin’…but whatever. Just so as there’s some folks who know when I haven’t been seen in a while, they might wanna check on me. I had that at one point, with a close friend here, but she went effing nuts and exited stage right. There wasn’t anything romantic about that relationship, but I had begun to consider her like a sibling, and she just fell into a pit somewhere. She was pretty insulting to me on her way down, so see ya, babe. Don’t let the door hit you in your flat ass on your way out…but still it hurt. My take-away from that was…why do I still choose so poorly? That’s been going on for most of my life, and still I ignore the red flags and the craziness and narcissists feed at my trough like food was going out of style. I think my strategy at this point has been to just fly under everybody’s radar, keep low, stay down…and stay the hell away from just about everybody. Not sure if that is actually working, or if I’m just not out there enough to figure it out. Topic #2 for a later time. (What good is procrastination if I can’t make it work for me?)

So, as I was meditating earlier, before the annoying group discussion about compassion, I was getting in touch with my ancestors. That’s a fairly regular part of my so-called practice, and I’ve been very much in touch with the great-grandmother who committed suicide. I have conversational-type thoughts about her, and this morning I said to her that I wanted to know the whole story of how she made the decision to end her life, what had caused her so much pain that she couldn’t go on. And the answer that came back was…you know the story. You’ve always known that story. The he-said-she-said chronology of the events in that life are just details, but you’ve always know that story of pain so sharp, so debilitating, so paralyzing that you can’t breathe. You’ve always know how it feels to have no place to go. And so I do. So I do know that pain…but I’ve done something different I suppose. That woman, whose name was Sylvia, had pain passed on to her by her ancestors. She passed it on to her son, my grandfather. He passed it on to my father. My father passed it on to me. And I have always know that it ends with me. Or at least I hope it does. There is no reason for it to continue. None whatsoever. If that is the reason I am here, to be the last link in that chain, then so be it. The ancestors who brought forth Sylvia, and all of who Sylvia brought forth, all of those people came together for me to be here right now. I have jokingly said that I must have wanted to get here really badly if I brought together such an incredibly dysfynctional family to plop me down where I was born. When I’ve had that thought before, I’ve always followed it up with a wondering…what the hell was I thinking???

What the hell WAS I thinking, I ask. Who the hell knows, but I should probably figure out what the hell I AM thinking now. What I’m thinking now is that I have something to do here, and I keep expecting that to be a conscious, linear course of action. For every day that I am still alive, I am more and more convinced that is not to be the case. I think whatever I have to do is going to be one of those exercise in throwing pasta against the wall, and whatever sticks, stick with it. Or something like that. I am going with chaos, I suppose, somewhat intentionally. I feel that I should be writing, not putting together jigsaw puzzles for some faceless corporate entity that doesn’t give a damn about my life. I should be using my voice, or the pen, to do something that makes some kind of a difference to somebody, somewhere, even if it’s just to me. At least I think that’s what I’m hearing. Of course, it could just be the television, or the rain, or the dog, or my stomach growling. As long as it’s not that horrible sucking sound that I used to hear all the time…the sound of my spirit being fragmented and going down the drain. That would not be a good thing.

Kind of…but not quite…how I see my spiritual innards.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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