There are many ways this story will be written, told, and lived. The island of me is surrounded by undulating blue-green water. People pass by without docking for my walls are thick and tall. Peering out, I observe a freckled surface of islands not all unlike mine. Much like Plato’s cave, I saw only shadows dancing along my walls assuming and being assured that this was real. I built my wall sturdy to keep out trespassers and learned only from reflections. I longed for connection, for something more than the shadows of what lay beyond. Over the years, I’ve carved holes in the walls of windows and doors. Once peering through, the shadows dissipated into boats and islands. The shadow stories were there to keep me in the assigned role for the imperial story. On those far away islands, there were more walls built around to protect us from what was true and to keep us locked in to our predetermined role.
At seven in the morning, I find myself watching a group of construction workers prepare for their long and tedious day. They huddle in a circle listening to one speaker as if rallying for the day ahead of them. They spread apart to provide breathing space between them and then begin balancing on one leg with arms outstretched in the airplane yoga position. Wrists are twirling, legs bend at the knees switching from left to right.
Herman Hesse once said that radiant action grows from solitude and that it’s easier to devote oneself to the tasks of the day than rest in aloneness. Busyness is a good distraction. One saturday morning I awoke with such anxiety, all I could think to do were mundane tasks. It’s kind of like exercise – move around continuously until the itch subsides. A physical caladryl ointment. Actual exercise could also work, but there’s nothing more satisfying than checking off from the continual backlog of shit to do in my house. So what did I do?
- Blog post
- Scrub outside of oven
- Clean bathroom
- Throw away old mail
- Reorganize the hall closet
Earth is our destiny because we have nowhere else to go. In Octavia Butler’s Earthseed, Olamina believes that our destiny is amongst the stars potentially because humans have made a royal mess of this place. She believes that we shape god and god shapes us being that god is simply change. An ethereal essence existing in all the space inbetween. We shape earth while earth shapes us. We evict each other in the great hidden battle.
My desk is small and can fold up like a secretary. Very handy for small places and in a world in which we compartmentalize every little thing. A cactus, ceramic painted container with Guatemalan money kept inside, a series of books I still need to read, and a greenish ceramic pitcher gifted to me from someone no longer of this earth, and a little container of hundreds of push pins. Why ever do I need so many pins and why are they always there?
I sit here, feeling all forms of frustration, irritability, and the claustrophobic box of the tasks that lie waiting for me within the walls of my home. Currently, a meowing cat sits outside my door because she wants in, and when I let her in, she will only incessantly interrupt – clawing at the closet door, jumping on my laptop. I’ve threatened giving her away many times this week. Alas, there’s no reasoning with a cat. Feeling my mind pulled to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, (perhaps snapchat if I understood it), emails, work schedule for tomorrow. Am I driving or taking the bus? Which meetings are when? Let me look one more time after fifteen previous glances as if something is going to change with one more glance or I’ll catch something I’ve missed in the previous reviews. My schedule at this point is memorized as a sense of urgency creeps over to check my phone one more time. Music, airplanes, car horns, Netflix, work conversations overheard within our wall less space, texts to respond to, garden to water, kitchen to clean, a couch that hasn’t seen a vacuum in months. The incessant relentlessness.
What if we kept still for just 12 seconds as Pablo Neruda asks?
Those of us regarding, stare down the barrel of apocalypse. We stand land-locked in self-imprisonment, worry and isolation blind-folded by those who call themselves leaders. There is no solution in perceived sight so we prepare for the worst. We cannot see our own ability to change so we wait for others to take care of it for us. The storytellers are all preparing us for the day, but we must remove the blindfold that has blocked our perception and intuition. We are all sisters and brothers of nature. We each have a role in recognizing our unique talents, skills and gifts that does not prepare us for the worst but for collapse, chaos and breakthrough with not only our external world but also for our internal selves.
My hand hurts from writing and my neck has a weird pain like my esophagus received a karate chop.
As it currently stands, a can of air is shoved in a corner causing it to teeter on one side. I have maybe five years of notebooks alongside printer paper and magazines and articles and markers and post-its, envelopes, printer ink, index cards and a pen holder. The entourage of desk accessories for ensuring things are kept where they should be kept or perhaps is just organized clutter. On any given day I vault between litter and necessity.
What is the art of change, earth, or soul? Is it an art or simply learned practice? If earth is destiny and growth is suffering and radiant action comes from solitude…
I was never good at puzzles. Sometimes I have too much with me to get around easily. And I have no bag but have created baggage. Scarf, phone, map, hat. All loose with no where to put it.
Many times if something is awry in my personal life, I’ll pour myself into work, like a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. It’s such a good distraction that at these times I’ve probably been at my best professionally while everything else may be going to shit. I find myself through things. Writing, reading, the clothes I choose, the stickers on my car, water bottle and tea container. The furniture and pictures in my home, the neighborhood I live in – it just feels more like me – the specific notebooks purchased for writing, the lamp and shade I took three months picking out. I don’t find myself here. This is where I express identities.
Driving in the opposite direction. A framed map could be awkward not just for carrying but for finding my way. I tried once and I kept dropping everything else.