Saturday, December 12, 2015

On Writer's Block, Generosity, Karma, and other bullshit.

While I sat eating in a burger joint last night in, I overheard a customer asking the woman working the counter if she "still writes". A mildly interesting conversation ensued, but that part is not my story, and so I'll leave it to her to write. However those words jumped out at me, and cut straight to my heart in a flash. They still echoed in my ear when I lay restless and eluded by sleep last night... they rang loudly this morning when I woke before the sun. I lay there sorting through strange and disturbing remnants of last nights dreams, musing to myself about the complexities of the world, and wondering... "Do I still write?" the short answer, just by looking back at my last journal entries and my last blog post, is "NO". I have barely written the past six or seven months... Actually, I don't think I've picked up a pen for anything other than menial list making or doodling since I found out that I'm expecting another child this past July... One would think that the realization of new life, the excitement, anticipation, planning, etc, would leave a writer overflowing with things to say.  But more than gushing outward, I'm finding myself pulling inward, to reassess and renew myself mentally, emotionally, and physically in preparation for the arrival of my unseen love. Wonderful for creating and growing a life and steadying myself for birthing perhaps, but not necessarily the best internal writing environment...

In addition to the new baby, I have also been navigating the waters of a new relationship these past seven months... In the past, that would have offered up lots and lots of inspiration... But with this wonderful man, for the first time in my dating life, I've found myself finally harnessing the ability to just come out and say what is on my mind in the moment, rather than bottling it up, telling it to a page later and slowly watching a fragile new connection deteriorate. I decided early on in this new journey into partnership that I didn't want drama and dysfunction, as great of fodder as it is for a writer, and I didn't want to have a deeper relationship on paper than I do in reality. And so, when those moments arrive ( as they will even in the best of relationships) when I lay awake upset by misunderstandings, insensitivities, hormonal surges, or differences in how we approach life, I summon every bit of courage I have in those moments, and I talk to the real flesh and blood human being beside of me instead of tearfully retreating to my journal or laptop. But what about the good times you ask? Ahhhh, but I've rarely been a writer in those perfect days, hours, or moments of joy that happen all throughout the day... Those moments seem so self explanatory that there seems little else to do but simply soak them in and enjoy them for whatever they are. And so I have been. I've been embracing and reveling in loving with my whole heart and being loved right back. So... Am I still a writer though I have not written in months? Yes. I know this because when those deeper existential questions arise, I still wake with sentences composing themselves in my head and an uncontrollable urge to leave my comfy bed way before any earthly force is going to make me be upright... Today was one of those mornings.

I dreamt I was sitting in meetings... I dreamt I was waiting outside an occupied bathroom for an eternity... until there was nothing left to do but shit in my own hand, and then go wash well. I dreamt of telling persons who were once considered very good friends, that I could no longer care for or about them. "If your house was on fire, I'd still grab a hose," I said. "If I passed you walking in the rain, I'd still pick you up and give you a ride home. But aside from that, I have nothing left to give. And I don't want to know you or your family anymore." I dreamt of breaking down empty boxes, venting my hurts with a friend also shaken by the same past events,  punching and flattening cardboard that had once contained dreams... I dreamt of an overwhelming need to vomit. To purge myself of the anger and frustration... humiliation of being taken as naive, and used terribly for it. The disgust at being squeezed for every last drop. I woke up thinking about generosity... about the seeds we sow, and perhaps thus, what we reap. Lay there following my breath and my thoughts in circles... about karma, and energy in the universe, and manifestation and how it's probably a bunch of bullshit we tell ourselves to feel better about our lot in life. I wondered if the kinds of people who use and use and USE other people to try and further their own lives always trip over their own feet in the process. I wondered if some people find themselves caught in cycles of being poor in profits because they have no generosity in their hearts... I wondered if I should tell my former friends that they constantly keep falling and will continue to fall because they take and take, and when those opportunities (even small ones) arise to give... to do something kind or generous, they still continue to take.

They say you shouldn't mix business and friendship... or family and money. I have done both... and I have seen and felt first hand how these things can poison and leave our relationships reeling. I still can not tell you without a doubt wether those two age old adages are true though... I've also seen small bits of generosity received in gratitude, and lives made better by breadcrumbs. I have see gifts accepted and radiated out.. onward and upward. I have always believed that if you can't shake hands with another human being, look them in the eye and let THAT be all the contract you need, that if you can't trust in another red blooded person standing before you, then you should not be doing business with them. I have found this proven to be foolish at least half of the time as of yet... I have found myself stabbed in the back and kicking myself for not taking more steps to protect my own interests repeatedly. But then I look at those who do take those steps to great lengths... at how miserable most of them are despite their prudent financial dealings and states... and I wonder still, which is the wiser route.  Should I be more shrewd. Should I give in to fear and mistrust? Am I a fool for believing the best about people, and giving them way more than just enough rope to hang themselves? I tried to map out what I would say to my old business partners, the friends who happily took bags and bags (and bags) heaping full of my generosity... Who fed their children on the meat (and beans, and peanut butter, and crackers, and...) of that generosity... and then turned around and sold my family PIG FOOD at a premium price, from the back of a truck filled by yet another's generosity. Should I have expected such? Perhaps my faith in mankind is far greater than it should be. Perhaps ANYONE, given free rein with another's resources would behave just as poorly. I'd still like to believe that this is NOT the case. I will hold out hope until my dying breath that true friendships and relationships will be equal parts give and take. I'd still like to believe that I can have trust in my own instincts and intuition. I'd still like to believe that big dreams can be manifested in cooperation with others. That not everyone is going to use the collective result of an entire community effort's as a stepping stone to further their own agendas.

Which brings me around to karma... reaping what we sow... manifestation of our own troubles in life... however you want to spin it. There was a time when I was absolutely certain that this was the way the world worked. These days many many more things are "shades of grey" (like the Billy Joel song) for me. I'd like to be sure of the ways of the world... but so much of what I thought I knew has been challenged that I'd have to be really dense to continue through life being sure that I've found the whole truth and all the answers. The yoga training, spiritual teachings, and reading that I have done... the assorted gurus, holy books, and guides that I have consulted at one time or another would all have me believe that our lives are the direct result of what we have sown. I have found this theory of manifestation very easy to swallow as a middle class white woman in America. I have the luxury of vision boards and chakra beads, $15.00 Yoga Classes, and sound healing therapy... Reiki certifications, expensive chocolate ceremonies, stacks and stacks of self help manuals, and decent paychecks to blow at whole foods. But when I apply this theory to so much of the rest of the world? It gets a little trickier. I once sat watching a film set in impoverished, rural South America, while intermittently browsing the internet at the same time. In one particularly striking scene showing Native workers nearly collapsing in exhaustion from mining, I stumbled simultaneously upon a video posted from a dear friend (a bubbly, beautiful, very well meaning white woman) touting the wonders of manifestation and painting hearts and flowers and pretty things as art therapy. Though I understand all too well her intent and position (it being nearly identical to my own many times), the contrast struck me as particularly ironic. In my real life, I have found the similar reasons to question manifestation and karma... Does that mean that the Rockefellers, Zuckerbergs, and Donald Trumps of the world have somehow sent some magical amazing energy out into the universe that has manifested as those magnificent resources and lavish lifestyles? Does that mean that the wonderful kind hearted and infinitely generous spirited people that surrounded me everywhere I went in the Philippines somehow deserve to have tin roofs over their heads and sewage flowing through their homes? Does that mean that the beautiful daughter that I've begun raising as one of my own somehow brought her life shortening genetic illness upon herself, or that her parents deserved it from some past life misdeeds? Does that mean that the beautiful hearted lady locked inside her own body at that nursing home that hugged me for a half hour somehow deserved to be trapped within herself (I can't think of many things terrible enough to earn such a fate)... Does that mean that the children born to homes devoid of any resources, or worse, devoid of love, deserve what they have been given? That they aren't "manifesting beauty" or bringing about their own abundance in life? The sales pitches of gurus and multilevel marketing strategies would have us believe that they just don't "want it" bad enough... Much of what I can come up with when I start asking these questions is that manifestation, karma, reaping what you sow, etc is a load of horse shit. Well meaning at times.... A defense mechanism at times... A subconscious wish for revenge at times... overall a means of coping with the difficulties of life... When planning out what I would want to say to former friends regarding the state of semi-crisis and struggles that they continually find themselves in, I am tempted to say that they bring it upon themselves... and yet.... perhaps they do.

Perhaps there is some other ways of explaining the interactions of energy in the world that I have not yet heard, and thus, do not understand that would explain karma, manifestation, etc, better. Perhaps all of those folks struck by various misfortune and states of material poverty that I mentioned have something else more wonderful than a body in perfect health or a roof over the heads of their family. Perhaps they have a strength of spirit and an abundance of love that Mr. Trump is sorely lacking, and THAT is what they have sown. While he has only sown greed and will choke to death on his mountains of cash. Perhaps there is something to be said for the principles of manifestation, but that because we so worship our money, we often misunderstand what abundance truly means. This is where my thoughts currently end their infinite circling through my consciousness and so this is what I'll conclude with.

If this version of reaping what we sow is indeed the case, then I am left with one final thought to leave my friends (both those that are, and those that were) with. Be careful my friends, that you do not become so relentless in your pursuit of the "good life", that you miss, misuse, or even destroy, the real bits of and bearers of goodness that do pass through your life. Beyond simply meeting our basic needs there is an abyss of unhappiness. Do not mistake wealth for a rich life, full of abundance. And be blessed.

I, on the other hand, am learning my own lessons, in particular this past year... about casting pearls before swine.

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