Sight Restored

Brief poetic thoughts in haiku on moving grief out of my way so I can see the future without the bias of past hurts.

Eyes slowly adjust
Dimly, a world forms ahead
See what you could have

Light floods my vision
Shield my blinded eyes so bright
Basking in wonder

I grieve the time lost
Comprehending what I’ve missed
Will darkness return?

When I blink my eyes
The world does not disappear
I can see my way

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Jumping into the Present

There will always be something in my life environment that’s incomplete, imperfect, unsettling, or in progress — providing a great excuse to procrastinate, avoid, worry about, or sabotage personal aspirations. I have a tendency to discount the present, like many of us do, thinking that the future holds my “real life” — when the important stuff will begin, when I’ll get it together, have it all figured out. I’ll move from this unpleasant “limbo” directly into my future, like gracefully stepping into a Double Dutch game already underway. As soon as I get inside the ropes, I’ll be in perfect rhythm, responding to my environment with ease and agility. In my mind, it’s an immediate transition. That’s when my life begins.

However, it doesn’t work that way. In life, it isn’t possible to stand outside the game. You have to jump all the time, responding to the ropes whether you want to or not. If you stop, you get tangled up — but the ropes start right up again. I have to accept that I am in the game at this very moment — this is my life and this is my present environment. It won’t ever magically transform into the perfect setting for Zen Cara to suddenly emerge, jumping rope while juggling. But if I pay attention to the ropes, I can at least avoid skinned knees.

Maybe someday I will breakdance while doing Double Dutch. But this fantastic feat won’t arise until I jump — a lot — within ropes that go too slow, too fast, at an uneven pace, or maybe with frayed edges that trip me up. After a while, these conditions won’t matter as much because I’ve learned how to pay attention, anticipate and prepare. It will appear like the ropes are ideally suited for my amazing gymnastics, but truly, I’ve just worked with the ropes, as they were, and practiced. Never stopping, always jumping.

Fiction, My Forgotten Friend

For the past few years, I’ve treated fiction as a luxury. Reading seemed like something I would get to — when I had time to relax. Instead, I “prioritized” my reading time, focusing on self-improvement, health, social issues, environmental concerns. I thought that by tackling these problems (both internal & external) that I could settle back, without guilt, and enjoy a good book.

Instead, I recently discovered that my reading choices had converged into a monstrous cacophony of voices telling me what to do, how to be, what’s wrong with the world, why I had a hand in it and how to deal with the guilt and stress. It was a sudden realization — like when someone hits the mute button on the TV and you realize how annoying it’s been all along.  The more I read, the more I felt I should read. I’ll get to the fiction later — there’s no time to waste in fixing these problems!

And then, I stopped reading altogether. It was too much. There’s no fixing me, much less the world.

But then I remembered something – dimly, from my past. I picked up a book, pushed past my anxiety and guilt, and fell into a story. When I lifted my head a few hours later, I knew. Fiction isn’t frivolous. It’s not simply a diversion for people who don’t care about the real world. Depending upon the skill of the author and the willingness of the reader to explore, it can be a conduit for transformation in your own life. It can have tremendous power to shift your thinking and give you strength for difficult life experiences. Empathizing with a character’s loss yields far more personal insight than reading a magazine article with, say, the top 10 ways to deal with grief.

Writing this now – it seems silly. Why did I think “experts” telling me how to live in their black/white terms would get me further on life’s journey? Fiction gives me depth, complexity – and most importantly, the ability to interpret truth and meaning on my own terms through personal experience.

But don’t take my word for it… (ha, get it, Reading Rainbow…sigh)