I think it's a safety/camouflage/evolution thing, this need to fill up empty space with stuff--material, food, words, noise. When we're stuffed, we can't think. It's like being comatose. It's like playing dead.
And sometimes playing dead is a pretty good survival instinct, a good exit strategy when the predator is at your heels.
But all the time? If all the time, there's no space for breath, for invention, for art, for rhythm, for weather, for light. Without those, without that immersion into the language of the life around us, we might as well fall into the coma, unplug the machines, and let the world breathe for us.
It might be less scary, fewer demands on your immediate person,
but it's no way to live. It's only a way to survive.
The more space we can give ourselves both from ourselves and between ourselves and others, the more I think we can appreciate the art of the arrangement. Too close, and it's chaos--a blur of patterns and histories, entanglements, resentments, fear, love, and lost love.
But stepping back allows us to see, in ourselves and in each other, the delicate arrangement that inspires us, again and again, to fight to remain, to fight to continue, to fight to be free to admire, to recognize worth, and to be recognized in return.
Two: When I do remember, pause, and breathe, I become aware of the prison in which I live--jaw set, shoulders tensed, throat rigid, back hunched. That's a straightjacket of tension right there, and one we all (well, most) seem to put on every day, unquestioningly and blank-gazing docility.
We have been brainwashed into automatic tension, and have fallen in love with our captor. Breathing might be the mightiest, cheapest, quietest, and most powerful form of rebellion we have.
For the most part, I'm a cloudy day kind of girl. Maybe that's a New England thing, maybe it's a bookworm thing. Maybe it's an introvert, under-the-radar type thing. Meh. Maybe it's just a thing of my particular tribe. Doesn't matter.
What matters is that the light is everything--its absence and its presence. Both heal. Both cleanse. Both draw us up to ourselves, either internally or externally. Both are important. Both are balance.
Without balance, we teeter quite purposefully on the edge of madness. Embrace both. Thank the sun for being so warm, so life-affirming, so open. Thank the dark and the dim for being so understanding, so patient, so gently (or not-so-gently) uncovering and exposing.
And then walk on into what you've been given this day, this time.
I have come to the realization that I have no gift for this spontaneous verbal communication thing. Right? I mean, with words and pages, you have time between the brain part and the speaking part. You can delete, rethink, re-word, and if none of it works, you have the miraculous pencil eraser or control-Z function. If you're very lucky, you have a reader and an editor to make sure that what you think is how you're read.
It's a lovely, lovely thing. Elegant, meaningful, and as true as possible.
So, speeches and presentations are okay, but the conversing part eludes me, as if there's a spark plug missing, and either I sound nothing like myself, or I fumble with a language I've eaten and drank, slept with and walked with my entire life.
Or, to offer another analogy, it's like running a marathon in high heels--doable, I suppose, but terribly awkward and regrettable afterward.
And I know there are those of us for whom the opposite is true--the spoken is a gift and an art, a ta...
There's just something to be said for quelling that overreaching, over-achieving, ingrained, yet rarely focused, habit of next-stepping/forward-moving/upward-climbing mentality.
This pause is the breath at the top of the mountain, climb behind us, view in front, hunger and thirst not yet an issue, no need to turn to descent yet. There's plenty of sun still in the day, plenty of breath to be caught, and plenty of isolation in which to rest. There are wind currents, raptors on updrafts, clouds scuttling behind.