Yes, we can

I was just listening to a CNN host and some guest talking at each other about something the previous administration did. It’s really annoying when the host asks a question, then talks over the guest when they answer. We get that you don’t agree with the guest, but even when you do, you still talk over the response. That’s not thought provoking dialogue. That’s not any kind of dialogue, dear over paid talking head.

Went to lunch with a friend earlier, and it was nice to be out of the apartment for a bit. We had a good time at a local Mexican restaurant, and it was pretty relaxing. I had shrimp tacos, which were surprisingly tasty. I somehow managed to get lost on the way there, and I pass the damned place multiple times in a given week. That happens to me sometimes, where a familiar thing becomes entirely alien to me, all of a sudden. I kind of wish I could pick when that happens, so that I had legitimate reasons for not showing up to certain things.

I was out a little bit ago with the dog, and wound up getting into a long conversation with one of my neighbors. She’s a very nice woman, originally from Arizona I believe, and she is another one who loves my dog (and vice versa). She came into the play area and sat for quite a while, and we talked about all kinds of things, including baby turtles and bats. Bats fascinate me, but they freak me out when they walk on their elbows.

It was just a pleasant time, when nothing unpleasant was going on, nobody had to be some other place by a certain time, no cross words, we were just comfortable. The weather was pleasant. The dog, on the other hand, was a bit confused because everything was not about her for a few minutes, but she’ll get over it.

It’s been a little while since I didn’t have be somewhere at any particular time. A while since it was OK to just be, not wanting anything more, not needing anything less to make the time more pleasant. The weather was pleasant, the company was pleasant. Everything was just fine the way it was.

This lady and I are probably worlds apart, or maybe not. She’s a neighbor, a bit older than me. As I said, she’s originally from Arizona, and she’s a widow. She has grown kids, and grandkids, and I suspect she’s politically conservative, or at least moreso than I. She’s somewhat religious, and apparently Christian, but not pushy, or evangelically oriented. In several conversations she has mentioned her church. When I told her that I had not found a job and was frustrated, she told me that she was a praying person and would pray that the right door opened for me soon. I was very touched, and thanked her quite sincerely.

There is more about this lady and I that is congruent rather than divergent. When we spoke about my job search, she responded in the fashion that was relevant for her. I don’t have any issue with that, even though I know that we believe differently. Or do we? I sometimes feel that our beliefs are similar, but the way we envision the manifestation is different. We both have a belief in a power greater than ourselves, we are both people who listen, and we both try to help another as we are able. After that, theology is a matter of preference, like a favorite color or music – whether you like opera or jazz, hip-hop or classical, it’s all music.

I don’t know how that works. I don’t know what she sees, or what her religious or spiritual experience consists of. I don’t know what it’s like to be in her skin, to live her life. The not knowing part is what drives us all crazy. When people are feeling somewhat secure in their experience, they generally don’t look for battles, or engage in arbitrary quests for power over another. But when we’re unsure, or not in equilibrium, things get really different really fast.

When we don’t feel well, when things are not going well for us, when we feel under siege and threatened by systemic realities, we are more prone to fight. We don’t know, and sometimes we don’t want to know. We know something is not right, or maybe blatantly wrong, but we don’t want to know exactly what that vague discomfort is all about. Once we know for sure where that’s coming from, there are probably things we have to face, like our own mortality, our own limitations, whether or not we have our affairs in order. The big questions come up, like what exactly are we doing right now, how are we living, what kind of mark are we making on the world. What’s the point of all this? And yes, all of that can go through your head in a nano-second when you are threatened.

When I notice this most is when my body is doing something I didn’t consciously choose. I find myself out of control; I feel powerless, and I don’t like it. I want to punch a hole in the wall because I am frightened and don’t know what to do with the incredible amount of unsettled energy that I am generating. I don’t know what the hell is going on.

I want to have a definite and linear solution for whatever ails me, and having medical professionals shrug and say they don’t know why I woke myself up sweating up a storm or why I can’t lose weight is simply not acceptable. What comes out is anger, frustration, sometimes aggression…but not fear, not vulnerability. That’s for me, and me alone. Which makes no sense, because I want to be held in the care of others, in the warmth of a caring embrace, but I can’t let anyone know that.

Vulnerability is often the last frontier of emotional competence, because you have to trust. You have to have faith in something you cannot see, but hope is there. Leap and the net will appear usually only happens in video games, but this is my life! I say that I know there’s some power greater than myself but do I trust that? Do I really have choices or is predeterminism really how all of this works?

Querying myself at such an obtuse level generally gives me a headache and I would get better answers if I asked the dog. Maybe there are no answers, because it’s all happening on a continuum of growth, of self-actualization. For every decision point I come to, my choice moves me along the continuum toward in a direction tending toward growth and greater self-actualization…or not. When I choose a solution that gives me more opportunity to exercise moral and ethical values, I lean into self-actualization. I get closer to figuring out why I’m here and what purpose I serve. When I choose a solution that gives me no opportunity to grow and stretch toward a possibly more difficult moral and ethical stance, I move away from self-actualization.

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of decision points every day, maybe every hour. Do I turn left at this traffic light, or right? Well, if I turn left does it get me closer to the destination I set, or not? If it gets me farther away from my intended destination, then I’ve made an ineffective choice, and I am less likely to get something I want, or maybe anything of positive value. This is where intentionality comes in, I believe.

Deciding which direction I turn at the traffic light is contextual. It depends on the destination, and how I chose it. If I am on my way to rob a bank, turning left may take me away from the bank, indicating that I’ve had a change of heart. Turning right may take me closer toward a destination that will probably not result in a moral or ethical choice. Every time I choose to fulfill the higher moral or ethical choice, I believe I move further toward realizing my higher Self, closer to removing conflicts that prevent me from achieving spiritual freedom.

So, once again, I have to engage in the practice of intentionality when I choose my destination, whether that’s on the way to the post office or on the way to a new career choice. I have to align the energy I’m generating with the energy needed to reach the destination. Generating a large amount of unsettled energy that speaks only to my discomfort will not help, and it will probably feel as though I’m just spinning, running in circles. Focusing my energy on achieving the goal of getting to the post office should be the more effective use. Or something like that.

However this works, I think when I’m pointed toward something that is morally and ethically correct, and something on which I’ve set my intention (desire), I’m more likely to have the outcome I seek. Now, if I was unerring in this practice, I would probably have a lot more of the objects of my desire. Because I get a bit muddled and resistant, things get a little muddled and my fuzzy signals are confusing.

So, now that I know this, it should be a simple thing to clarify how I set intention and manifest my wants and needs, right? Well, that’s way easier said than done. I am notorious for having a realization, gaining some clarity, and then re-stating it one time. Just one time. And expecting that’s sufficient, and I need only relax and wait for my reward.

Well, that’s not quite good enough. I only need to know how to swim when the water is high. I have to chisel away and hone the intention to a fine point, with no ambiguity and no resistance of “but…well” or “this is good enough”. Bring it to a sharp point, and punch through whatever barriers show themselves. Persist. Overcome. Try not to sound like a motivational poster.

Coffee is a moral imperative for realizing my dreams.

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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