Thursday, October 9, 2008

Tears in the Park

I have just come back from a walk in the local park. The sun was out, the trees were turning gold and red, people were relaxed and happy. It was good for me too. I feel more balanced.

This week something of a pattern is been established. On Monday morning, after the night's Interferon injection, I feel tired yet still capable of activity. In the afternoon I am worn out. Tuesday appears to be my worst day. I have no energy to do anything. Wednesday energies return enabling me to cope with some activity. Thursday I have more energy again.

Having said all this, the dominating factor all the time is an organic disinterest in doing anything. This is not laziness, or procrastination; both of which I am familiar. We live in a world where "doing" is valued above everything. Idleness is abhorred. For days I have had to lay here listening to my ego chastising me. Sure I know I'm on treatment and i can easily justify the situation, but something in me fears indulging the process.

On Tuesday, laying in bed, in half dreams feeling my life had been put on hold somehow, it occurred me that there were other ways to live a life than always running forward, always doing. What about just "being"? The benefit, and curse, of "doing" is that it helps you hide from yourself. This process puts you into a very intimate relationship with yourself. When you spend days doing nothing there is nowhere to hide.

This is the reason I have become tired of myself. The thought of writing about things after it being so viscerally experienced is unappealing. I am really no longer that interested in myself. There was a time when I was obsessed in knowing all about my "self". I spent thirty years in spiritual self examination trying to become something I was not. Now, I simply wish to be what I am. I'm no angel, I'm no devil, I'm just me and that will have to be good enough for the world because its good enough for me.

I did not expect this treatment to bring back this uncommfortable psychological landscape. But it appears that when the body has little energy at its disposal it will put what remains into being rather than doing every time. So I may not build any bridges over the next year, or invent a carbon-free form of transport but I will observe this wonderful world. Why that should be important? I have no idea, I only sense it is.

Today in the park I found myself in tears on a number of occasions as the poignancy of this world hit me. There was the smile of a young boy as he ran up to his dad. He was in love and in awe of his father. His father's response was so slight, just a half smile of pleasure, but behind it there was so much pride in his son. Such simple movements, such profound meanings. I was listening to my ipod and Johnny Cash came on. A track made near the end of his life. His voice was shot to hell; notes are missed and the voice breaks. Even so, it is sublime. Its the voice of a man who has lived a life and you can hear it in every shaky note. Put it together with a sunny autumn day and you have tears in the park.


Anonymous said...

Rich, my computer has been down for six weeks (don't ask!) and I've only just caught up with your blog. Just wanted to say how moved I've been by it. Very well done for handling it all with such grace. I particularly loved this current "Tears in the Park" post. I'd just come in from my own red and gold autumn filled walk in the park when I read it and found my own tears weren't far away.
I love the Prometheus metaphor which is so apt. If Prometheus represents human suffering and the point of suffering is to learn - look how it's working for you! Being not Doing. Yes!!
Really good luck with the rest of it. Watch this space. By chance I came across a Complete Works of Shelley yesterday which contained a play called "Prometheus Unbound" which is presumably his meditation on the 'human suffering, why?' question. I'll pass on his thoughts if I can decipher them.
Hope to see you in Jacks one of these days.
Joan X

Debi said...

This is indeed a beautiful post. We all look for meaning - esp when trying to work out why suffering exists and how it can all seem so unfair somehow.

But buried in this post are all the answers. In this culture I think we've lost touch with what is most important and feel we can only be worthy of our space on this planet if we're producing something tangible.

But maybe our role is also to just watch and listen, even though that appears to be 'doing nothing' and goes against the grain. This is your time for that since circumstances have forced it onto you, but I think it is also a hugely important function. xxx

Debi said...

Oh - and let me know if you'd like me to move the coffee caucus since Tues is your worst day.

Chris Vacano said...

I agree with Debi's observations, and also think this was a beautiful post. It brought back memories of similar experiences for me during my treatment.

Revel in these moments of "just being"... there's no sin in it, despite the efforts of the modern world to suggest otherwise. You're spot on that filling the void with activity is merely an attempt to avoid facing oneself, which scares the bejeezus out of most people.

I look at these passages in a somewhat different way. In certain Native American cultures, the "vision quest" is preceded by a time of internal silence, sometimes referred to as the gathering. It's a preparatory phase: gathering tools for the journey, marshaling one's energies and faculties... going inward before confronting the outward quest. This is how I view the quiet periods between bursts of creativity that drive me as an artist... gathering.

Be in your moment. Every day on this journey will bring something new, even if only subtly different.


Rich said...

Good to hear from you Joanx. Shelly is on my ever increasing list of things to read. As we all know, Frankenstien was sub titled 'A modern Prometheus' so it clearly meant a lot to them both.

Dear Chris, I appreciate your note about the process of gathering. It strikes me, in a way, our entire lives are a kind of gathering of tools and experience for the final sacred journey of dying. Until then I'll try and use it for arts sake, as you suggest. Glad the post recalled memories.

Dear Debi, I can't promise any day for coffee, but Thursday or Friday will certainly be more possible.