“…the nature of perfection is always mutating. What constitutes
enlightenment today will always be different tomorrow.
Even if you’re fortunate and wise enough to score a sliver
of “enlightenment,” it’s not a static treasure that becomes
your indestructible, everlasting possession. Rather, it remains
a mercurial knack that must be continually re-earned.”
~ Rob Brezsny, Free Will Astrology
The other day I wrote about all of the different voices that arise when blogging. I forgot to add a voice. My mutant voice. The ever-changing one.
As I had mentioned before, the blogs I like to read are homey and friendly, where the writers are brave enough to share their honest emotions. They write about what they love through cooking, their creativity, their family life. And it comes from their heart. You can feel it. That’s when it hit me: I have the hardest time doing this.
About ten years ago I started to post random thoughts on the blogging site Xanga. In those days, I wore my humor like an overcoat. On top of three other layers of coats. When I took one off, I immediately felt a chilling breeze and I would quickly slip on the heavy layer again.
My main voice was sarcastic, snarky, and glib – towards others and myself. Sort of a more aggressive, on-steroids version of my current writing. I’d get comments here and there after I wrote these types of posts. Occasionally, my heart would write what it wanted to write*, but people didn’t respond to those posts. My learned Pavlovian response?: stop doing what you’re doing. people don’t like it. do something to gain favor. must perform.
My humor, such as it is, is my best weapon against invaders. But I’ve also employed it to connect to some of the most curmudgeonly people and the shyest of shys. It diffuses situations. It helps me shrug off the things I really don’t need to worry about. And, I have to say, I do like making people laugh. Still, I don’t want to hide in it.
Gah. It’s a bit painful to read some of my old stuff. Granted, I think some of it is hilarious (I do say so myself), but I led with my humor so much, you couldn’t see me. But that was the point. I didn’t want to be seen, at least, not my real self.
Witnessing a past You certainly can inform the present You.
What I want to do, what I really want to do, is start from the heart and go from there. (With a few non-sequiters thrown in for good measure. I can hardly stop this as I can my sense of what is funny.) I tried way back when with one of my old Xanga posts that I’ve added below. Ironically, I was reflecting on a past Me, much like I am now. Reading it made me feel a bit sad for both of the girls who didn’t feel safe continuing down that road. It’s not too late though, you know? Never too late to wander down a new path or even revisit an old, overgrown one. The kind of path that takes you back yet propels you forward at the same time. Because, deep down, you know you have to cut through that overgrown tangle of weeds to see yourself more clearly.
So, I take my own shyest of shys and share my younger self, sharing my even younger self. Taking a coat off…
[the post below is unedited. it’s awfully difficult to post it without wanting to tweak it over and over again like i usually do. there. another coat off.]
As I was cleaning/clearing my desk at home, I found a journal I had written in four years ago and starting reading a few of the entries. I was struck by one of the comments I made: “So I’m sitting in the back of the car, looking at the Big Dipper…and just feeling like giving myself over to it…I saw myself swimming in the ladle…These are things one can only do in silence, in the quiet space of one’s own thoughts.” This may not seem like much, but I think I used to give in to my imagination more, I remembered my dreams more, I took a moment in the moment. Don’t you think we spend enough time during our day making sense of things, getting things done, and using the left side of our brain?
We weren’t living in L.A. at the time I wrote that entry – we were living in a place where we could drive a few miles and be in the country, where I could stare out the window and see truly blue skies and green rolling hills, where you could gaze up and see a million stars at night. There were creeks and cows and trees and vineyards. When there is beauty and peace around me, it reminds me that there is more to life than just navigating it – I actually FEEL life. I had a glimpse of it this morning while on my walk. It was a beautiful morning in L.A. – rare blue skies and puffy white clouds – but I was bombarded by those things I mentioned in my previous post. If Mother Nature was attempting to give me a peace offering this morning, L.A. just took it away by its very nature. (9/26/05)
Our voices are ever-changing. That’s the beauty of writing. It moves with us wherever we go.
*this reminds me of Woody Allen saying “the heart wants what the heart wants” to explain his affair with his now-wife. I am happy, very happy to find out that it was Emily Dickinson who first said in writing, “The heart wants what it wants…“
2 thoughts on “the past is present”
love this j. its really hard to open up and hard to get those negative thoughts out of our heads but sometimes those negative thoughts hold people back from getting to see all the great in themselves. even small steps are good steps!
Thank you, G! That phrase “we are our own worst critics” is always so true. We’re so hard on ourselves…but it’s also an indication that we really care, that we want to be our best selves, yah? Small steps are really big steps in disguise!