collaboration · dissatisfaction · performance

“And suddenly solitude fell across his heart like a dusty reflection…”

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2014.  Way too long ago. 

He closed his eyes. The dark doors within him opened and he entered. The next performance in the theater of Grenouille’s soul was beginning. ~ Patrick Süskind

Maybe it’s the staid nature of the neighborhood around here, the increasing pressure on some time-sensitive projects at work, or the subtle undercurrent of the kids question, but I’ve been feeling itchy.

Since I began at this school two school years ago, I haven’t participated in any theater.  I had to give up my folk duo’s monthly performance because it’s staged late on Sunday evenings, which also meant giving up my weekly practice sessions with my music partner.  My piano buddy and I haven’t met since I moved up north.  And my own piano stand is in Oakland, while the keyboard is in the attic.

While writing is a creative outlet—and when I blog regularly, it surely helps to calm the brain gremlins—I’ve realized that writing is a pretty solo and solitary venture.  When I’ve felt most engaged, I’ve also been a part of something performative or collaborative.  Something where I get to create with other people.

And I feel kinda itchy and lonely for that.

What happens when I neglect those social, collaborative arenas is that I begin to pick out the flaws in everything else.  And, if you’re living with me, you’re probably going to get the lion’s share of that!  And that’s not fair, because it’s also not reality; it’s a microscoped circle of vision about an aspect of my life since others are atrophied.

My energy gets low, my irritation gets high, and it’s easy to lummox into a myopic spiral.

It’s unclear to me at present the exact action steps to take toward broadening my creative and productive vivacity, but noticing that I’m teetering on the edge of Limited Perspective is a start.

 

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aspiration · dissatisfaction · dreams · mortality · spirituality

Near – Far. Near – Far.

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Anyone else remember those segments on Sesame Street?
Well, I recall it this morning around desire. Around the
idea that if we’re not happy with what we have right now, why would we expect
something more would make us happy later? If we’re not content in the “near,”
how can we expect to be happy in the “far””
That said, I don’t know that I completely agree with this concept. I do “get” that it is
important to recognize the gifts around us. Especially at this time of year,
it’s easier to get that reminder to “give thanks.” It’s what I’m teaching my
4th graders lately, about gratitude, being happy with what’s around us,
noticing what we have, and how lucky we are. By nature of our birth, we’ve
landed in a circumstance where we’re healthy, educated, and pretty well off. In
many ways, we’ve hit the lottery in comparison to the 8 million other souls on
this planet.
I can count my blessings, though they are innumerable.
And yet.
What about the phrase, “It helps to envision our spiritual
objective before we try to move toward it”? Isn’t that implicitly saying that
we can want more, and we have to clarify what that is so we can get there?
Isn’t there an inherent longing or dissatisfaction? A seeking?
So, today, I sit with the duality of … reality (sorry!): I
am content with my life, and I want more for it.
A friend once said to me when I was in a lot of pain around
a previous job, “Just stand at the copy machine and be grateful you are.”
Included in that idea is being grateful for: being alive, healthy, employed.
And yes, of fucking
course I am and was. But does that mean, Don’t dream beyond that?
Does that mean the longings of a soul are symptoms of being
ungrateful? Hmm….
Happiness breeds happiness. Contentment seems to attract more
of itself. I am a “law of attraction”
kind of believer. I comprehend that living in where I am with adulation and
appreciation and awe is crucial.
But. …
How do you truly sit with that frisson?
In the immediate present, in the “near,” I am going tonight
to perform in a community theater production. A good community theater, at that. For years, I’d been
dabbling at acting, and only at the start of the year did I make a conscious
commitment toward it.
I am adamantly grateful, and also, this was all borne of
restless desire and dissatisfaction.
I don’t know. I don’t think I can “figure it out,” and maybe
I don’t have to. But, I will always find it difficult to “sit” in gratitude for
things that make me feel I’m wasting my life. I have too much respect
for the time we’re given to simply “be” in where I’m at when that feels deadening.
And maybe that perspective is “wrong,” and it perpetuates my dissatisfaction. Maybe this longing and seeking
keep me from feeling fulfilled, but for today at least – however off-balance
it may make me – I do have one foot in
the near, and one firmly planted in the far.
Because, sorry Ekhart Tolle: I believe in the Power of Then.