Monday, July 7, 2008

Writing through Change

I don’t clean all day. Even though I have some kind of energy in the morning, I don’t clean. It’s been six days now that I’ve spent here in this little space. I’m just listening.

Or I’d like to think I’m just listening. Some grand, amazing, spiritual kind of thing. Mostly I flit between emotions and the predominant one state of being is: curled up on my bed or in my chair. Listening, feeling, thinking, reading. Mind you, not the best stuff either. Just stuff.

I reread my manifesto from two days ago over and over and over. How do I work through this? How do I listen to that voice, that place in my head? How do I do it? How do I act on the dreams I have in front of me?

I get angry at myself at the day wears on. I was so inspired 24 hours ago. I was so convinced I had hit on something monumental. Now I’m deflated again. Feeling stupid. Wondering if I can possibly achieve what I’ve set out to achieve.

The last part of my manifesto is what is stirring around inside of me.

I am not like you. Your story is not mine. Your story may encompass mine or sing a melody too, but your story is NOT MINE. And for my heart to sing, I must tell you and tell me that YOU ARE NOT MY STORY. And I must live mine. . . .

I AM NOT YOU. I do not have your talents or your encumbrances. But I do have mine. . . .

So, clear out, back away, stand by. You may hold my hand, you may be my friend. But you are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer. For I’ve tried to hear her voice through you and have you sing her song. But you sing badly or not at all and I sit hoping to hear truth in places I do not honor with ears that are not mine.

I feel a bit ferocious about this last part. Like I’ve discovered a secret that I must not forget. I must remember the truth I have seen and heard here. You are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer.

It has been an act of self-preservation to hear that voice this week. I don’t know how good/bad this week was really. I don’t know if it is right even to reflect on it morally. It just is. Good or bad. I learned something. And I think it is a lesson I will take with me forever.

I don’t know if I made a monumental mistake. I’m sure I was too selfish in the whole matter in some ways. But as the week wore on and I started listening to the screaming inside my head—I mean, really listen and take notes—I started to see that if I was going to hold this little flame and keep it burning and moving and growing in the right direction, then I needed to protect it. It isn’t so much that others are going to run in and blow out my little flame. It is that I will get distracted by them and let the flame blow out. It’s that I’ve let myself for so long hear others’ stories and listen to others’ worldviews and I’ve backed away from my own.

At my graduation ceremony from high school, they played this Garth Brooks’ song called “The River” to our high school video. And there was this one line that caught me and pounded into my heart.

Too many times we stand aside
And let the waters slip away
'Til what we put off 'til tomorrow
Has now become today
So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance the tide

I knew sitting there, listening to that song that I was sitting on the shoreline. I wasn’t daring any rapids and I certainly wasn’t dancing any tide. And besides the couple of years that encompassed preparing for, going on and returning from my mission, I haven’t stepped in the river much.

I’ve been all about the shore.

I don’t know all the reasons. I think a huge chunk was simply trying to find my path in life. What I was good at, what my strengths were, and then having the joie de vivre to live life with zest and meaning because I was doing what I supposed to be doing on this earth. I think I’ve been wandering a long, long, long time trying to figure out what that purpose and passion was all about. I kept trying to fit my square peg into a round hole and coming up short.

That, in turn, has left me really self-focused. Trying to discover and listen and hear what was inside of me. But not even understanding that this is what I was doing. It is a journey we all have to travel some time in our lives. Mine has just been overly focused on that task.

What is clear is that I have to stake out, lay claim to, and fight like crazy for the little flame, the barest whisper that I heard this past week. There are so many voices around me. So many that I’ve listened to for so long. I’ve been hoping I think that someone will be able to HEAR MY VOICE. Listen to it, interpret it for me, and spit back what I should do and be.

Part of this depression, this sadness, this ache has been the confusion surrounding my plan. My purpose. I get it all mixed up. And I think it will get mixed up again unless I take time to give special attention to inspiration. I need to hear that voice, that whisper each day. Or I need to take the time to listen for it each day. It is such an interesting mix of quiet and deafening thunder. The stillness of the voice is in the interpretation of it. It seems though that once I’m able to catch the drift of the voice and hear the bedrock truth in it, then all of a sudden it is screaming in my mind. It seems so self-evident. So, true, so right, so unimpeachable. It rights my worldview, it opens up new paths. It shows me where and what I should be doing. Where the passion and light is in my life.

KNOWING that truth changes everything. Everything. It changes me on a level that I never expected. It is this light that I hold deep in my center and around it I build implacable truths and unerring insights that foist the foundation for my life. It is such a RELIEF to have that center. It is so peaceful. It bolts me to reality, grounds me in the commandments for my life. It gives me a laser-like sight for the path ahead. This kind of CLARITY is so refreshing simply because it stops my world from teetering. I’ve felt so unmoored, so unsure of my next step. So unwilling to start any journey.

It has been the great anxiety of my life. For a very, very, very long time.

I feel a bit vicious about protecting it. Vicious and fiercely wary of any attempts at its fledgling status as the center and source of my existence.

Stand back. You are not to come within the walls of my silent place any longer.

I think that message is so much more for me though than anyone else. I’ve allowed people into my sacred place. I’ve let anyone in who has an opinion to share and I’ve grown more miserable as I listened. What I need is to be still within and without myself. You may not come in here. You are not allowed. For I will try to accommodate you. And then in my anxiety to do so, I will draw you out with your story. Your story that allows me to escape from my own.

I’ve placed my little candle, my tiny flame in the fecund earth of my bowels, my soul-center. I’ve cleared a space and I’ve staked my claim to my truth there. My bedrock. And within the tiny circle of that light, I’ve thrust my daggers into the soil to outline the light shed by my tiny flame. I’ve built a defense around it. This is my silent place. You are not allowed. This is for me. This is my truth. I cannot share it with you. I’ve shared it with so many of you. I’ve cast my pearls before the swine who have trampled it. I won’t do that anymore. You may not listen.

Not because you are willfully seeking to destroy it, but mostly because I have not taught you to respect it, this truth that is mine. I’ve not respected it. And in order for me to ever share with you, with anyone, I must first own it. I must nurse it, care for it, and cultivate its soul-satisfying splendor.

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