I can hear the sea rolling in and out, breathing in a wave and breathing out salt, water and air onto the shore. There is a window open to the east and just several hundred feet from where I sit the roar of the sea waves generate a tremendous amount of energy. The sky, at the moment is a menacing slate gray. The palm trees sway in the light breeze.
I could be in Belize, in Cuba or on some coast in South America. I could even be on my summer porch at the lake where I live in Rhode Island. I could be anywhere in this world because at this moment I am in a zone of comfort. I have no melancholy, no nostalgia to intrude on my senses. My envy and my jealousy meter is reading in the single digits. My body is at peace with its mind. I like to be retired from the grief and strife of day to day concerns. Mostly I want this because I love to pass the time away scripting metaphors and adding adjectives and adverbs to events and situations. I love the cutting and pasting of my words in exchange for currency and or connection.
The sound of the soothing sea awakens in me passions to eat up as much of life as I can while I have the stomach for knowledge and nourishment. When it comes to the color of light and the matter of space all we can do is to make glad our hearts. It is, after all, vitality that we are after. But, as we all know panic and fear can strip even the most robust among us of courage.
Moods can change as quickly as the weather.
I am in love with a pink hibiscus that sits against the turquoise and white stucco. She allows me to be who I am and she makes no demands about how I love her. Even when I am ill at ease, she reminds me with her quiet beauty and gentle color and her simple sway in the breeze that divinity has ordered her here through the same self-interventions that brought me.
I think she has been here all week. She greets me with a simple nod, I scarcely acknowledge her and only inside do I profess my love. She was but a bud when I first arrives, all green and tightly bound in a veins of a soft leaf. And here she is now in all her glory and splendor, not concerned that her life is short, content to shine pink against the turquoise for what ever time she has. She transforms in front of me. I watch her sway and the delicate parchment pink glows some times in the sun and other times in the shadow. How like life?
There is a comfort in artful living, a joy that spreads forth from who we are into who we are becoming. Inspiration is an instrument of the soul. It is an authentic movement describing life as it shapes its new comfort from foreign materials that only yesterday did not exist. The pink hibiscus competes with the blue of the sky. It must be where babies come from wrapped in blue or pink as they establish themselves among us to provide a next generation. All this is a fresh canvas for the painter in me, the writer in you and the gardener in all of us. It is all here to be cultivated.
So, help me here. What prevents us from inviting in the vulnerability? What prevents us from being as authentic as we wish we could be?
It is a warm clear afternoon. There is sun and sea all around us. For a brief moment there is no fear, no panic; and I let myself see the space that is my mind.
I fall into a shallow but calming sleep, a meditation of sorts. But I am not stopping my thoughts. I let them ramble and as they ramble I make less and less of an effort to stop them. Soon they roll into a boil and I find myself small like Alice. I find that I have slipped into a rabbit hole and the exit is nowhere in sight. I am composing a letter from me to me………………
Dear Innermost Me:
I find that you are nearly impossible to write to. I find that everything that I want to say makes me feel grandiose or foolish, at best. I look at you sitting still in there looking like you need for nothing, while at the same time appearing to be cloaked in a fabric of longing and sadness.
Why can’t you simply get up and go for a walk? Why must you sit so still in the darkness? Is it comfort or fear that keeps you from letting your self know what you want? Oh! the shame of it, the shame of knowing our lust and envy and pride.
I look at you with genuine pity in my heart because I think you could have been so much more that you are. I blame you for not forcing your energy onto the world like a blade of grass forcing its self through the cracks in a cement wall.
“The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.” (dylan thomas)
You could have pushed harder. You drain me of even a capacity to have empathy because it so much looks like laziness. You induce in me a hopelessness about ever being as authentic and vulnerable as I need you to be if I am ever to be content with courage.
Oh, It is not so much that you did not do what you wanted to do with your small life. It is more that you squandered your energy on cardinal sins. You let yourself lust, and you gorged on flesh that was not nourishing, and you held up pride and hubris instead of holding your head high. You spent your divinity on grandiosity and for that there are no returns. Like Faust you gave up your soul in exchange for ease and dis-ease. You were selfish and you locked yourself up deep inside because you knew how ineffective you had become and there was only fear that someone would find you out and make you pay with shame.
Do you really think that you can write yourself out of this corner you have painted yourself into? This cave you call your dwelling is it ever to become lonely enough for you to want to risk it all, to risk being seen in all your shameful glory. You emperor of nothing, you fool, you soul-less, mother-less bastard–when did you become me?
I have so much more criticism that i could heap on you, and I have so many sins that I could expose. Secretly, I do not have the courage to let you out into the light. “Look, kid, it is not that I think you deserve to suffer. It is simply that I can not let you see the light of day while i am still alive.” I can not envision you living in the same world that I live in. One of us has to die. I find your shame and your envy and your lust and your hubris too large for this world. “Lighten-up!” I want to say. Get up off your ass and go to work on your soul. Toil like the rest of us surfs. Shame on you for wanting more. Don’t you know that simply being is suppose to be enough. Don’t you get it that the other Garden of Eden is a myth. There was no garden where there was no sin.
You mourn every dead hibiscus as if you were entitled to have your life for ever. Wake up you sniveling idiot, this is the only paradise.
The afternoon reigned on and the hibiscus continues to sway in the white and turquoise breeze and the surf pounds the salt and water onto the shore in a skewed promise of evermore. A few short minutes have passed by. Both my ego and my soul are with me still. I let myself glimpse at my underworld and for now I have come back. But I have returned with a knowledge that I know where my sins are stored. The deep mournfulness has passed and the inner most me is quiet. A passive calm returns like I have awakened from a dream and returned to the expansive void that is my mind. Space is what my mind is made up of. My mind is the element of space and it is crunched and bent like the shaft of light that is time.
The color of light returns. The sky is back to being a slate blue. The clouds are back to billowing white and the pink hibiscus flashes against the turquoise. It is all the same. I have visited space and returned in time to see the day has not expired. It is torture to undergo the duress of examination vacillating between the inner space of pure consciousness and the outer world of pure reason and emotion.
As I press my fountain pen against the white lined paper of my journal, and as the ink dries into characters seemingly chasing each other across the page; they each make a lucid argument hoping to be born in another’s consciousness. Connection is the meaning of life even when the love is for a simple, swaying, pink hibiscus.