I feel like I’m standing still and everything is a wave around me. I can’t partake in the wave right now, but I’m affected by it. Someone told me today that my writing was engaging. Do you know how I felt? I felt jealous. Mostly because I can’t engage, or am refusing to engage, in that right now. I’m weak physically and it makes me weak mentally. You wrote:
Your description of being “very much in (your) body” and correlating the body with Aesop’s sun struck me as so different from the Western mind/body dichotomy drummed into my head…you seem to put your body at the core of empathy so that instead of equating it with impulse, desire, and relentless drive, your “feeling through” becomes a way of experiencing the other’s soul…we (the royal, societal, we rather than the Mark Twain person with a mouse in his pocket) have constructed a complex “embodied person” that emphasizes particular qualities associated with the “physical self,” making such a self so prominent that any other non-material or non-physical quality almost becomes non-essential or “surplus…”
I keep reading over this paragraph. Sometimes I feel the proverbial mouse in the pocket is actually me. And there is no me, but I stand on the edge and wait for someone or some thing or some experience to solidify a thought of myself.
And now that I’m physically weakened by this temporary sickness, my mind is either extremely on or extremely off. For the most part, it’s off undoubtedly because there’s too much mental stimulus going on that I can’t sort through it all. I tried last night and ended up with a sort of panic attack in the middle of Walgreens. Funny, how the next isle over from the one that the attack began can seem as though a shelter, or a private room. Just give me a sense of aloneness or safety. Then I’ll be able to “compose” myself.”
But even the thought of having to shut the doors and compose the self constipated me. And that’s literally a physical ailment. My mom even said while in the ER room “I think you’ll literally spent your whole life swallowing your shit.” As in holding everything in. As in denying my third and fourth chakra, if you believe in that sort of thing. Self-expression, self esteem. Maybe in her own way she was acknowledging just how much I kept other people’s pain inside as well.
Let me put it this way, Mike. You’re looking for spiritual experience. And we talk about the body and the mind and the linear and the non-linear. Masks that we make and wear and unveil. Personas, even. Societal roles. And we must talk it through and we must understand and educate and speculate and go round in circles and share our stories.
But the body, yes, is the ultimate vehicle. Even the earth, atmosphere, where we make and break ourselves, is a body. The inner dialogues we have and create with our peers, and ourselves is a body. Logos, the word, is a body. The poem, the page, the space we leave ourselves and this life. The handshake. The break up. The coming back together. The sequences in and out of time. All bodies.
And what I mean is I can’t stop anymore. I can’t stop speaking or exploring. I can’t continue lying to myself or to you or my cat. I need to let whatever plant is there, grow. We carry trowels. We dig and hurt and replant something else in its place. I think there’s something in these acts that reflect why we get cut off from the spirit. Or from the sense of connection.
You talk of societies emphasis on physicality. And reference Million Dollar Baby. Maybe Maggie is the stand-in for society. She can no longer live if the idea behind her physicality is threatened. Aren’t we all very much a part of her fear, in touch with it? Death anxiety. What drives us, for good (toward good) or bad? Tell me more
about your thoughts on Death Anxiety.
Yes, we become personas. Maybe they are a sort of replacement for physicality. And we become them so well that we can’t shed them. Or, the opposite, we create so many different personas that we don’t know what’s real. Either extreme in either direction has the same result.
I think that’s a root, the main root, to the Big Problem. And I don’t mean consciousness. I mean spirit. Where is it. How and when do we feel it. What is truth, real, inner and pervasive? It’s as though we get confused and distracted and lost.
When I say I can’t keep going on like this, I know what I really mean is that I will but at least now I’m picking up on the patterns quicker. And hopefully, as I get older, I’ll learn to take less bullshit from myself and the world. I’ll prioritize. I’ll move closer to
spirit, my bliss, as Joseph Campbell says.
What do you want? I mean, really, at the end of it all, what do you want? Where are you going?
I feel like I walk around and look people in the eye (sometimes literally, sometimes metaphorically) and ask “What do you want?” And often I get no response. Of course, the one I need to turn that question on the most is myself.
It’s lonely, being here. I know that. But what I think I’m coming to realize is that the walls and barriers and insecurities and fears (mostly of the self) start coming down when we are true to what’s inside. Or at least ask it every once in a while. As though we have our little child-version inside of us who is actually more wise than
we are and simply needs us to converse with it every once in a while.
I work for money. But I work for money so that I can pay off debt for a dream. And I work for money so I can keep on track to have freedom to do and see and accomplish more dreams. This is the world we live in. It is hard for me. But also good. If I didn’t have to work, I’d get bored with even my most beautiful dream. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe I need to “take the long way home.” But I do think the universe knows what we need and when.
Universe, yes. If I was a physicist I’d have a more scientific explanation for what I mean by that. As a poet-mystic I do not. But even poet-mystics love the ground and the seen and the explainable. In fact, hidden within the latter is what we all long for.
I am not making sense. My body aches. I don’t let on how much pain I’m in because I have always been the martyr. Swallowing my shit, so to speak.
Funny how someone like me can also openly write the words that maybe,
just maybe, pull on people’s inner hearts and ears.
Help me. I just want to write the next poem. In this way, all I do is ignore the body. Or maybe it is more my body because it speaks for me when the rest of me can’t.
Do I mean enough?