Hormones are intuitive. Even when they’re nicely balanced, it’s as though they speak from inside – tingling, sparking, soothing, spreading calm or unease. I can’t remember my thoughts from an hour ago, but I can remember everything I felt in the last forty years. It all comes back, like high-speed footage suddenly set free from a dark can, resurrected, ready to leap into this moment as if it belonged here.
I can’t decide for sure whether it belongs here or if I made it up in the first place.
I can’t tell what’s a story and what’s real. Perhaps everything is a story, and every story feels real.
It’s as though the moments of my life I remember (and I seem to remember the same ones over and over again, like on a loop) are guideposts I use to hang my reality on. They take on significance they may or may not rightfully possess. But why? I ask. (And why am I just now in my head, asking Why? – stuff for the next issue.)
And then I suddenly know why. Because they bring with them a feeling. It may be a yucchy feeling, a sad, dreadful feeling. Or a glorious, happy feeling. (But most often a yucchy one, because right after the glorious ones, the yucchy ones seem to follow.)
And I don’t know why, exactly, I’ve conjured up this or that particular memory with a particular feeling, except that, every time, it’s something I’ve seen before. It’s something I know, something familiar. As though dread, horribleness, sadness, loss is so familiar it’s comforting. And, I’ve noticed, when one comes I instantly tune out what’s right in front of me. I stop looking at my daughter. I stop seeing my husband. I see only the computer, the words on the page, and no heart at all, anywhere.
So that’s it. I can, if I want, create a continual stream of loss by allowing old losses to deprive me of what’s here now. And next year I can remember this moment as one that passed me by. And then, the next year, I can just pile them on, and continue forever, and never live my life at all!
I realize I don’t even know exactly what I was feeling then. My memory is colored by what happened after. I can’t always remember what happened. I remember walking through my father’s rose garden, smelling flowers, and then judging them – Miss America style – for beauty. I remember doing that, and it seems long ago and far away, but the feeling – that part feels like right now. See a rose, want to examine it to see how it measures up in comparison to….what? Another rose? And I feel that now as such a waste of time, and – I must have been lonely and I must’ve been so judgmental….and perhaps it wasn’t like that.
Perhaps I was totally in love with the contest of rose petals and blissfully, single-mindedly immersed in my occupation. Perhaps it wasn’t about judgment at all – it just looks like it from here. Perhaps it was about appreciating beauty, and deeply examining each petal in such detail I could be one. Perhaps it was my Zen experience. Zen and the Art of Examining Rose Petals.
What’s the memory, the memory of a feeling, that keeps infiltrating your mind and heart? What sends you backwards, away from wherever you are? What’s your tradition of longing – of unfinished dreams and hardly recognized wants? And how can you stop the old pictures, dressed with increasingly new interpretations, from interrupting you? Even while you’re reading this?
You can. And you don’t have to. Much of my work tells you to Stop. Stop talking, Stop thinking. Stop doing. Stopping gives you a moment to breathe, a moment to see what’s around you, a moment to feel. So let’s say you’re in the grip of something that’s wistful, that’s pleasant, or that’s plain misery-making. Instead of trying to Stop it, in order to be in the moment, try something else.
Try making it bigger.
Try just being with it, and with what’s right in front of you at the same time. We’re talking about just Being.
Let’s say you’re working on a project, and all of a sudden, your rotten last Saturday night date comes to mind, and then before you know it, you’re into the rotten date three months ago, and then you’re back to your rotten ex, and then you’re back to being a girl with no date for the prom.
The pictures (I adore a healing modality called Holodynamic Tracking…I won’t go too far with this now – but ask me) might be flooding in from other people’s lives, from your ancestors, from what you’ve seen on film, from the Big Bang. They may have absolutely no meaning for you now, except for the feeling they’re able to bring with them. Why fight them?
It’s as though those pictures and feelings and memories are stuck in a time warp. They take us back in our minds, and bring our hearts along with them. Sometimes it feels wonderful, and sometimes it feels awful.
Instead of taking yourself backward, try bringing them with you into the present! Incorporate them into who you are now. Let them grow up. Treat them with compassion, as if they are no longer you.
You can be who you want to be now, not who you think you were then. You can take yourself and all you’ve learned backwards, maturing the thoughts and pictures and feelings as you bring them forward into the life of this moment.
You can, like me, be, not judgmental and cold, but resourceful and focused. You can be, like me, not lonely and quiet, but curious and enchanted. You can be what you want. You can be what you say you are.
I am a lover of things and animals and people, of detail, of molecules, of what is. I am in my heart from the moment of my birth and before, and I get to start fresh every split second, no matter what.
You can be a child and a grownup, helpless and helpful, wicked and glorious and angelic. All at the same time. All the time. Even the time that seems like it came before. Every moment, you get to start over.