Tuesday, January 7, 2014

DARING TO BE ALIVE! (facing down guilt)

It can happen at any time. A warning will come from 'out of nowhere'. It can sneak up in a subtle way, or it can pierce me like a bolt of lightning. It tends to wait till I'm deeply absorbed in something--so much so, that existence fades into a blur. Inside and outside, both dissolve.

As a kid, I would 'space out' and 'lose myself', while perched high on a Pepper tree limb, peering absently through the scenery below. Or it would happen while sailing to and fro, in the old wooden swing, its long rope swaying from a high branch of the mighty Eucalyptus. Often I would disappear, while staring out the classroom windows, longing to escape the bondage of wooden desks in tense, orderly rows. Fully alive in spacious nothingness; just gone. Until the grip would bring me back. 

During such moments of keen focused presence, when all objects of attention can cease to exist--a jolt of admonition can suddenly surge through to obliterate the safe space, and shatter the container of peaceful absence. It can masquerade as responsibility, wanting to make sure we are 'on our toes'.

Even now, for example, a silent pang of rude interruption can find me, at my writing desk. It waits in the shadows, lurking like a thief, for that precious instant when Time ceases to exist. The moment, when there is no 'me', but merely fingers flying over keyboard, as inspiration flows. That's when an ancient familiar grip might clench me (as if by the shoulders). It takes hold, intruding upon easy comfortable space; to sound an alarm that was created by an ancient warning system: Take heed or perish!

If it had a voice it might say, “Isn’t there something you should be DOING?” (as if writing isn’t ‘doing something’). Often, it will say, “Who the hell do you think you are?” (that was HELEN speaking--my ever vigilant, deceased mother!). 

This is—I suppose—something all humans experience; it is certainly not unique to me. It does feel, quite personal at the moment of disruption, however. As if IT knows precisely how to set off an interior alarm, that will grab my full and undivided attention. Initially, it arises as a hormonal jolt of adrenalin, and the need to “look over one’s shoulder”, as if danger is stalking. 

Just now, this ancient, familiar nudge seared through me with its built-in sense of urgency. The import was one of caution. Like a hot prod sliding any stray coals into the center of the fire, it seems designed to make me ‘catch myself’. Dread and concern, arise instantly—as if from out of nowhere—having no specific point, nor purpose.

It seems intent upon yanking me back, from 'being preoccupied' (as if that were a crime). It alerts a hidden warning system, which monitors life based upon an impersonal code, designed to activate an ancient script. It serves as a mandate, caring only for conformance, utterly oblivious to creative freedom.

But if I stop and take a closer look, it isn’t even a voice. It’s an impulse in my solar plexus. A mixture of fear/dread/anxiety/guilt. Like I’ve been ‘caught’ doing something that is irresponsible, a waste of time, and self-indulgent. 

WOW . . . Caught daring to be ALIVE in my own LIFE!

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