Some days it be like this

That’s what I always heard…there are days, and then there are DAYS. And some days it just be like this. Whatever this is. We were told so many things back in the old days, and some of those things were just wrong. Old wives tales they’re called. Things like putting the fear of death into us for going outside with your hair wet, lest you “catch your death of pneumonia”. I was over 40 when I found out that’s not true. It may be uncomfortable to go out with wet hair when temperatures are near freezing, but it won’t cause you to become ill. But we believed that story, and may was the time one of us would break our necks to avoid having wet hair when going out into the cold.

It does often amaze me that we survived those days. The 60s and the 70s were… odd. In the 60s, the country was still recoiling from the Viet Nam war, which threatened to never end. Guys were coming back with their bodies half shot off, and their brains hollowed out from the inside. They were still coming home to an ungrateful nation, if they came back at all. The tide was turning from a period of conformity to a span of rebelliousness, protest, anti-establishment. Down with the old ways, the ways of our parent. Conflict, but people still recognized each other. They just disagreed, didn’t see eye to eye, but nobody had strayed so far as to become entirely alien.

In these days, the tide is attempting to turn, as it always does but there is far more fear and resistance. We are so polarized now that we dont recognize each other, don’t see each other, even within the same family. Disagreement is not enough, there are ultimatums and lines drawn in the sand…relationships shattered, unusual alliances formed amongst strangers. New cultural identities are being forged, ones based on ideology rather than shared experiences and common history. It’s a time when everyone feels a bit shaky, as though the ground beneath us was unstable.

This morning, there was a guest minister at the Fellowship, and I wanted to hear what she had to say. I logged in for the first time in over a month, and was not disappointed. This minister was our intern while she was still in divinity school, and she is gifted. Origially from Cuba, she has the eye of an artist, a creative flair in both her speaking and her message. Her vision has a certain grace and flair, and attracts others to it seamlessly. She is one of those people who is like the sun, with everything gravitating toward her of its own accord.

She was speaking today about duende’, which is the breath of passion and fire that a person has, and that can be passed to another wordlessly. She spoke of it as blowing the breath of your life force into the face of someone else, as though you are in communion with them. I have felt that from only a few people over the years, people who were not simply passionate, but they emobodied their passion. The object of their passion was one with them, and they could not help but infuse that into the air around them. Accordingly, they were attractive in an esoteric way, in that people gravitated to them without knowing why. You just felt good being in their aura.

I understood what she was saying, and that is more of what I am looking for than anything else. That feeling of being in the presence of the fire of someone’s spirit, their creative force, the fire that moves them along the journey. I feel activated when I am in the presence of such people, like there is success afoot. They are not powered by ego, or grandiosity of vision, but they are powerful. Passion is attractive. At one time, ,I thought only competence was attractive in that sense, but I am just beginning to realize it is the passion, passion for some thing, some result, some vision of what has not yet become reality. That, to me, is the eye of the artist.

Many things I am wanting cannot be articulated, or I haven’t learned to articulate them. I think perhaps there are not words for them, but only some vision in my mind. How to communicate the vision to others is daunting, and frustrating. I can see things so clearly in my mind, but lack the ability to paint the picture well enough for others to witness it. I believe the witness is important, but I’m still not sure if it’s a requisite for manifestation. I will have to reflect on that a bit more.

My dream for my life is different than my dream for the world, I think. I’m not sure that’s entirely the way it should go, but for now that’s what I’ve got. The vision for me is the same one I’ve had for a very long time, before I had words for it, before it had crystallized as something even remotely possible. It’s the dream of being completely and fully at peace with myself, and in myself. Not longing for different circumstances, or wishing for a different reality, but being completely content with where I am at the given moment. I’ve had that for very brief periods of time, but it is fleeting. It’s the feeling of what recovery work has taught me is serenity, like the quiet and still surface of a clear lake alive but exactly right when and where it exists. It is the feeling of being unburdened, of not seeking but not finding, of breathing but not inhaling, of everything being exactly what it should be at this moment. It is … peace.

We are always seeking, which is not a bad thing. Maintaining a curious mind is a good thing, unless it becomes the sole purpose of existence. There has to be a time for rest, there has to be a time for just…being. A human being rather than a human doing. In the busy world that we’ve manifested, that time of simply being is hard to find. There is always something to do, some place to be, some thing to get, some task to complete. Just being is more daunting than we realize at times.

In my time in this place, I’ve found that when I am doing, doing, doing, and doing more I am running. Running from the monsters under the bed, running from the snatches of memory that I don’t want to see the light of day, running from the failure and the mistakes and the disappointments and the sadness. The overwhelming sadness. The sadness that has no start or finish, but is always there like a thin opaque film over my eyes. A filter for the joy and happiness that I might find, muting the colors just a little, dulling the senses just a bit.

It feels as though I’ve always had that, even as a child. Perhaps it wasn’t as well developed, or I didn’t have the receptors to allow it to fully manifest, but it’s definitely a healthy entity now. I accept it, but I do wonder how it would be to experience life without that filter, as though I’m wearing sunglasses in the bright light of day. Shading my eyes from what I’ve heard described as the sunlight of the spirit. In my mind, it’s the root of the duende’ that was spoken of this morning.

So, my vision for just being includes the absence of the ever present filter that I seem to have, the one that casts a vague shadow over everything and casts doubt and uncertainty on everything I experience. The vision is full of bright light and vivid color and laughter and uninhibited movement, body expression, singing and dancing and … freedom. That is what I see when I close my eyes. That is not what I get when I am moving about in the world. The disconnect makes me a bit crazy.

I keep trying, although some days I am very tired of the effort. Tired of feeling as though 8-year olds know how to live far better than I do. Tired of wrestling with myself and constantly analyzing, second-guessing, playing devil’s advocate as a game of solitaire. I need to be OK with me, but mostly I don’t think I am. I’m much more OK that I was 32 years ago, but damn, I’m getting a little pressed for time at this point. Whatever I’m supposed to be doing is expertly hidden in plain view, and that just seems like a snarky joke on me.

At this point, I am beginning to see that simply deciding what I want to do is not good enough. Or maybe it’s too good. I’m a little confused about that. I know a couple of people who say they only do what they want to do. They set their intention on something, and focus on it, and it eventually comes to fruition. When I look at them, it seems as though they have more of what they want than I do, so that outlook does intrigue me. Is it that simple to just decide that I want something – a partner, a job, material things – and then focus my energy in that direction and wait for it to manifest? Can it be that simple?

I am thinking it’s not QUITE that simple, but I do believe there is something to focusing one’s energy on manifesting things desired. What I struggle with, though, is that filter – it seems to poison the energy well a bit. The self-doubt mitigates the energy stream, and so it’s not a clear focus. It’s a little hazy, and a little blurry. That’s not good.

The other night, I was on a 12-step meeting on Zoom, and one of the other women mentioned to me that she had invited a newcomer to join. She told me to make sure the newcomer was muted, though, which I found a little strange. Well, a while later, this new participant shows up, and I admitted her to the meeting. Everyone comes in on mute, but I noticed right away that she had unmuted herself. I muted her again. Some time later, someone else was speaking, and the newcomer blurted out something loudly, and I hurriedly muted her again. The woman who had invited her looked at me as it to say, “See? Now you know why I said to keep her muted.”

The newcomer was a handful. I thought perhaps she was drunk, which happens. After the meeting, three of us hung around with her, trying to see if there was something she needed or how we might help on her journey. Well, talk about some out of focus energy. I couldn’t tell if she was drunk or if there’s a mental health issue. She kept repeating that she needed help, and to please help her, but then she wouldn’t shut up long enough for us to give her any suggestions. We talked back and forth with her for more than 45 minutes of trying to get her to call the help line, which she finally did but hung up on them 3 times. *sigh* we kept talking, and it was getting late, so one of us asked her where in town she was located, thinking maybe there was a meeting near her or something. She then let us know she was not even in town – she was located about 90 minutes East of us. She needed to be calling the help line there, not the one here. She finally hung up on us…accidentally or maybe not. Who knows. But we threw our hands up and bid each other a good night.

Looking back on that experience, I wonder if what I’m sending out to the Universe is that foggy, that unfocused. I hope not. There was a part of me that said this newcomer was playing games with us, that she just wanted us to give her attention and listen to her talk about all that was wrong in her life, but she wasn’t really willing to do what she needed to do in order to change anything. We’ve all seen that before, it’s not uncommon for newcomers. But I really have to ask myself if I’m doing likewise – saying that I want change but not willing to do what’s necessary to make it happen. I suppose I have work to do.

There is a lot going through my head right now, about the clarity of my vision, about the clarity of my desire and passion. I don’t want to be thinking about that stuff. I want to be watching the eagles in Alaska (the eaglet is HUGE now and has all kinds of feathers). I want to be playing stupid computer games and sucking on lollipops. I want to not have a care in the world. I can hear that inner voice saying, “That’s nice. Good luck with that!”

Off to slumber. I will take another look at the eagles…they are such majestic birds. These are bald eagles, and they are breathtakingly beautiful, with their clear eyes and snowy whit heads. The little one won’t have the eyes and the white feathers until it’s about five years old, when it will be considered mature. Right now, it has solid brown or black eyes that resemble buttons. It’s damned cute, especially when it bits mama’s feet as she’s bringing food and feeding it.

I enjoy watching the eagles because they are such an interesting mix of apex predator and gentleness. They can snatch a fox or a badger or even larger animals, including snakes and fish, right off their feet. They will grip the unlucky prey in their claws and fly off with it still alive. When they land a distance away, sometimes in a tree, they’ll begin eating the hapless critter alive. It’s ferocious but there’s not a hint of hostility in the act, it’s just survival on Mother Nature’s terms.

When they have young, as in the case of this mama and papa eagle with their little (well, not so little anymore) eaglet, they will grab a fish or a rabbit or even a small rodent and carry it back to the nest. They begin eating it alive, but gently turn their heads to the side to offer the little one morsels directly from their beaks. The eaglet won’t be able to self-feed for a bit longer, when it’s more steady on its feet and is more coordinated with standing on the food and tearing at it. After they eat, mama or papa will usually brood the little one, letting the eaglet nuzzle in as close as possible, nearly underneath their bodies. Such an incredible contrast to killing and eating something alive. I find that astounding.

So, I’m going to take a look at them for a bit, then turn in. I’m tired, and it’s been so hot outside I feel drained form the short periods that I’m out with the dog. There was another dog in her yard the last time we went out, and she was none too pleased. But she seems to have gotten over it, because she is knocked out in a coma on her binkie. All is right with the world.

Gotta make sure my aim is true.

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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