Monday, September 1, 2014

House-sitting and Reflecting

An open letter to Chuck, whose home I had the pleasure of watching over. The house sits on a heavily-wooded hill top in rural central Virginia. It inspired me to reflect--

"I worked every day that you all were out of town, but I loved the drive to and from your house. I started and ended every day with this incredible sense of gratitude and appreciation for the beauty that I was getting to witness. I felt lucky! Several times in the evening I sat in the screened porch and pondered to my heart's content. You asked what I like to do for fun when I was last there. I like to think. I sometimes overthink; but generally I'm quite pleased with the things that amuse and interest me. And at your house, I got to fully experience myself in a way I had almost forgotten. I haven't had the capacity to live the way I 'choose' (the way I am around myself) since I moved from Harrisonburg over a year ago. I felt inspired by the setting and the personal touches in your home. I dig the crystals! I thought to myself, "I dunno what I'm going to do with my life force, but I hope it one day allows me to live as peacefully as this." I thought again about your question: what do I do for fun? And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most of the things I spend my time doing are dictated by necessity, or out of obligation to someone else (even if I enjoy doing things with/for that person). In my free time, I like to be with friends, play disc golf, skate, play instruments, camp, do anything outdoors--but a lot of times I like to be still. I like to think. When I do something for myself, it is usually of a cerebral nature: pondering, reading, writing, playing music... The mind is great entertainment; it's almost an experience in itself. So, I find myself consumed with spirituality, consciousness, topics like quantum physics, philosophy, the unconscious/super conscious mind, life and death, the very meaning of life itself, my own life and Who I Am. I got to do quite a bit of thinking during my stay, and some good reading, too. I actually wrote at some point that I couldn't really enjoy the silence because of how loud and clear my thoughts were. I need to learn to clear my mind, but I otherwise enjoyed the perpetual stream of consciousness. 

The chickens were an endless source of humor. The few times I let them out, I developed a sense of how to wield my arms in order to coax them in a certain direction. Other times, I ended up circling the house a hundred times before I could manage to get them to 'choose' the door to the chicken coop. One of the smaller ones actually dug its way out one morning, and was outside when I came down to check for eggs. I had to chase her for a good while; for some reason, she was particularly skittish. I was running late to work, so I called in to let the KBY office know. The usual office manager wasn't there--it was a member of the board! I tried to explain my situation, that I didn't wanna leave your house with the chicken out because it probably wouldn't live through the day. I was a little exasperated, and asked her to relay the message. She said, "Oh, well, I raised chickens. I understand perfectly. Don't worry, I'll explain for you." --Ha, I hung up and said, "thank you, universe!" What are the odds?!

I really enjoyed getting the time to BE myself with myself. Thoreau probably had similar inspiration at his little cabin in the woods--it was Thoreaupeutic, ha. I wrote some about how nature has become so abstracted from the modern human experience, and from children's experiences. It's something we talk about at camp; but we don't really know what we're missing until we're in it and can remember how right it feels. I can't tell you how HEALTHY it felt to come home, drop 'the day' and its troubles at the door, and soak up the nutrients--the peace, quiet, nature, life outside of humanity and the overstimulated life. I wish I didn't have to work while I was there, but it made for a great contrast. 

I've been trying to live differently the last couple of years. I'm pushing myself to be my highest self, the best manifestation of my soul as possible. I've come to the conclusion that if I work hard and well, love freely without discrimination or judgements, and digest as much information and experience as I can, I will be better suited to 'connect the dots.' I am perpetually trying to make better sense of my experience and what it means to live. But I figure I'll know exactly what it means when I'm no longer doing it. Until then, I'm going to learn, do and be everything I possibly can. And be righteously in love with the whole froggin' experience. 

On the other hand, during this life and mind transition, I am having a difficult time making sense of the way I feel. I feel so intensely; I'm almost numb to 'real life' because of the degree to which I experience my emotions. I don't want to say I'm bipolar, but I know I'm sensitive about certain things. I can be insensitive just like everyone else, but for some reason I feel an intense gratitude-love for my self, my life, the people I love.......and other times I'm so bummed by others' lack of gratitude-love that it makes me feel separate from the world. Lonely. Really lonely. And it's hard to feel so genuinely interested in making the best of it when enough people on Earth (or at least in my life) seem to think they're worth more, or somehow more deserving of an experience less painful than someone else's. I consciously find ways to enhance the experiences of others--no, I'm not Jesus or the Buddha, but I do everything in my willpower to be a creative force of untold do-good capacity. No, I don't know how I'm gonna make my millions, or even what I'm gonna do now that the pool is closed. I feel like I can't even think about a "career" (*gasping at the thought*) until I get my head on straight. There are some things I need to know about myself before I feel confident pursuing what anyone would refer to as a 'normal life.' Is it OK to feel unready, or cynical towards working some 'lame' job? I have this idea that once I decide to be occupied from 9-5 my life will cease to have any magic to it; or that I'll have given in to a way of life I so adamantly oppose. I'm not a hippie or an anarchist, but I do think we have a pretty dysfunctional way of living, and our definition of 'freedom' could use some work. As far as I know, I want to go INTO THE WILD and live off the land, teach others to love freely and find their passion, their vibe--whatever makes them quake with energy, feel alive. Life could be so different, so peaceful, so connected--and sometimes it is! But other times, when it isn't, it's hard not to resent money, the "economy," capitalism, the "American dream," as it were. The world is ready for a change; it's begging for it. And I will do my part, whatever it is, however I can fit in. But I am having the hardest time finding the inspiration to go above and beyond the expectation. I could get a job, an apartment, a car, and let that be my life. Work, maybe date, find ways to distract myself from the fact that I'm not jiving with the world. That's kind of what I'm doing now. It's hellish. Kind of fun some days, amusing every now and again, but largely unfulfilling. The sense of security that I want says, "You can't just up and do crazy shit like not have credit. You can't have a carefree life! You oughta establish credit. Also, get a job, keep it. Consider moving up in said job, if you like it----" I wanna kill myself already. Meanwhile, the impulsive, creative, fun-loving weirdo John says, "Fuck negativity, bro. There is nothing in your way lest you think it so. Do what is in your heart and mosh the shit out of this Earth with your creativity and alternative perspective. Have the experiences that you want. Practicality and making conservative life-choices out of fear of screwing up is a blueprint for 'success,' in a shiny, sterile, office kind of sense of the word. Your passion and creativity--let your boundless love and appreciation of all things transform you into the master of your own experience. Share in the absurdity of life with those you hold dear, and live as a testament to your Self, which is ultimately a shred of a shared universal consciousness exploring itself, its own mind, in its own glory. CREATION. Do it, be it." 

The duality is not amusing. I am paying student loans and car repairs, and trying to move out of my parents' house. Not to mention support myself and pay for all the shit they're paying for now. It makes me feel guilty, how much I cost. Anyway, it's hard not to worry about money. That's how it works: the whole world buys into needing money to live how we all want--the result is greed. Inequality. Because I'm afraid of losing what I've got, some other mother fucker (that I'm willing to fuck over) is gonna have to suffer a little harder for his simple wants. Or her basic needs. Or his life. Who the fuck are these people to do this? What kind of person stands to gain from another's losses? Why can't we all gain from each other's gains? Because of greed, and ultimately fear. It's hard to want to be a part of that. Instead, I want to convince people that money is a trick, an abstraction of resources. I want to convince people that living simply and consciously, together and for the sake of each other, is the richest experience one could dream of (pun intended). But how do you do that conventionally? How will that pay the bills? Do I want it to, or should I keep my job and my spiritual dreams for reality separate?

This is the hell with which I find myself confronted. I've said a lot, and probably revealed a little bit about the kind of thinker I am... But these thoughts take so long to articulate. I wish there was some way to put it--like, "I'm just crazy!" or "I'm a weirdo!" ...but there isn't. There is just an intense willingness on my part to be ever-present, accepting, loving; to listen and respond with the utmost respect, love, and gratitude for the opportunity to share meaning. Even though sometimes (a lot of times) I feel differently. What makes me different from any other depressed, delusional degenerate? I'm at least willing to try and create a different experience: one of love, capacity, and inclusion instead of fear, isolation, separation. Maybe it's because I know what it's like to feel depressed and I'll do anything to avoid it, but I am always willing to "try out" a thought, no matter how crazy or impractical or 'out there' it is. All perspectives are worth considering. Aristotle said, "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." I think this is also the mark of a compassionate mind; one perhaps willing to acknowledge the infinite variety of perspectives AND the fact that his is no more valid or 'real' than another. 

I guess what I'm getting at is this: 

I am god damn Man enough to admit that I am not sure of anything--not even how to best express myself in this twisty universe. And while I'm trying to figure out how to express myself, and be myself, and meet my own standards, I gotta worry about a whole bunch of other shit that seems way less important. But actually IS important (arguably, in a doomy, prison kind of impending way). Is there a way to bridge reality and my expectations for it? Is there a Bridge to Terabithia? I identify with characters like Jesse Aarons, or Holden Caulfield--they grew up thinking the world was gonna be different, and then realized they were naive, daydreaming suckers. I don't think there's anything wrong with being a dreamer, or wanting our experience to be painless. But somehow, we've got to find a way to live. Life doesn't end when you start feeling, it begins! I'm onto something, if I could just figure out what I want it to be.