Monday, May 14, 2007

Nobody Realizes It's Even a Question

So now you have time! A space of time that is - at least in theory - all yours. Recently vacated, not yet filled with anything else specific, it looms before you both a promise and a threat. You've worked hard for this for a very long time, reached your goal, celebrated, graduated. Huzzah!! You will soon put foot on the next scholarly path again for a short while, to get the title that follows the degree... but the important question really comes here. Now. And you must address it inside yourself now, or you will be left with an uncomfortable nagging sensation of wasted time, of some little uncomfortable failure that you don't want to look at head on but nevertheless feel it nibbling at you. Here is the question: What do I do NOW? Not only, "what is the next goal when these are completed", but more importantly, right now. Today. Tomorrow. What will I do with the next set of moments that I would have filled with study or worry or fret or planning for when on earth will I do that next thing? And (in the tiniest voice possible way in the back of your subconscious), what will I use now as a valid excuse when what I really want is time for myself and yet don't feel as though I have quite the right to take it when other people around me clamour, cry, need, crave & demand something from me every second that I breathe?

It's more of a quandry than one might think... the use of time. Far more so for someone who is accustomed to cramming full every tiny crack & crevass that they can possibly locate simply so they can try to fit everything in. Free time is dangerous. Desired, yearned after, cherished... but still dangerous.

Once you've got the title (a huge goal, but tiny in terms of time & the path you've already walked), the path you have before you now is empty for a stretch. No other big, life-altering goals with concrete beginnings & endings ahead of you. No tangible hang-it-on-the-wall reward at the end. Really, therefore, no end. Or no end in sight. Makes it harder to plan for. But plan you must. Because the choice... the pitfall that I know you sense just before you... is that of doing nothing. If you do not define the space in any way, you will find yourself filling it with nothings. Laundry, dishes, mowing the lawn, putting gas in the car, frittering with the bills, watching TV, playing pointless games with or without other people. Those things fill "nothing" mighty damn quick, & leave no sense of substance behind them. Many of them are necessary but they are still very empty moments. And make no mistake, they do fill! These things that over the last couple of years you have managed to squeeze into cracks & crevasses... and still get done! ... will expand to fill hours and hours of your day if you but give them the space to do so. They can quickly & easily become all that you do. In the moment, you will feel satisfied, fulfilled. Task completed, job done (til tomorrow). And then, if you have let them expand, then in some moment in the future you will look back & think, "Wow... what on earth did I DO with all that time?" The answer, sooner or later, will haunt you: Nothing. Simply nothing. And not a good nothing, or a resting nothing, or a break-from-the-world nothing, just a dull, boring, mundane nothing that failed utterly to change the world - not the world at large, not your world, not the world of the people you care the most about. Not even in the tiniest way. Nothing.

There are other kinds of nothing with which you could fill that space. And that is what I am suggesting to you. Do fill it with nothing. Deliberately. Precisely. Fill it up full so the edges of it press outwards & keep all the piddly stuff from intruding. Make this a space for YOU. Reach inside yourself, open it up to fill that space, & make it yours. Make this a space for the "nothing" with a living silence. Peace. Balance. Fill it with spirit and thought and space and light and love... and nothing else. Go into that zen garden inside your own soul and do some tending. And some meditating. And some just plain appreciating what's there. You've left it alone long enough, & there are some weeds poking in around the edges... contemplate them, then remove them with love & warmth when you've embraced their fullness.

Make no mistake... this special sort of nothing I think you should tag this time with is harder to work at, harder to demand, harder to maintain, and harder to keep than any other goal you can ever conceive of. It will make you sweat. And cry. It will create disturbances deep within you both before and after you thought you found joy. It will have ripple effects in your life & in the lives of the people you know. Others will resist you using your time for "nothing", because so few understand that a void can be filled with silence that is really Something. And you... you of all people will have the hardest time holding on to it, because everyone's needs are greater & more important than yours. Or so you think. So you live your life. Well, I'm telling you now, again, & forevermore whenever you need to hear it.... if you are going to fill the needs of others, you must first fill those of yourself. You have been robbing yourself, feeding your soul on the fly, running from one person's crisis to another for a very long time. You define yourself by it. You are very good at it. You are very good at filling yourself up fast... enough... to make it to the next crisis... but even if in tiny increments, it takes its toll, and the Piper is calling.

You have time. You don't know what to do with it. Do nothing. Do Nothing for yourself, as well as for everyone else you love, and put your whole heart into doing it right.

I Love You.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

It's a Hard Thing

It's a hard thing
when the person you have to fight the hardest
Is yourself

I'll fight for you
What we have is worth fighting for
You're a grand Taj Mahal
& life without you
might even not be worth having

It's a hard thing
when the person you have to fight the hardest
Is yourself

We all come with
hurts & scrapes & bruises
Broken hearts & busted lives
Lives we've lived
Or been told like stories
or just surprized with,
the way Life sometimes does.
You find something that you think
is worth believing in (if you're lucky)

It's a hard thing
when the person you have to fight the hardest
Is yourself

Something that ought to be so simple:
Loving you.
Trammelled by proxy
or some junk last week or years ago
Or dreams that lift you higher
Than anyone wants to fly
inconsiderate somethings
and indifferent nothings
Still, none of them are worth saying goodbye

It's a hard thing
when the person you have to fight the hardest
Is yourself.

It ain't always good,
and it ain't always simple
Eggshells and heartshells and
Heady passions
cushioned in everyday nothings
That could fill the empty ache deep inside
Absence makes the heart grow... empty
it ought to be easy
and it never is
all I can say is it's worth it to keep trying
as long as you're not trying alone.
Hold on to whatever you can
Take whatever you have to

It's a hard thing
when the person you have to fight the hardest
is yourself.

I gotta have you here somewhere

to help me keep our hearts together
'cause it's a very hard thing
when the person you have to fight the hardest
Is yourself.