Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Time keeps on ticking

The mailman at my postbox. The sound of a garbage truck passing, or Budweiser truck stalling illegally, running for fifteen minutes now across the street, outside my newly opened window. The pain in my foot from where I dropped a corner of a table on the crux between ankle and tendon after class this morning. The pain in different parts of my heart.

I am trying to pay attention. Not run away. Not grasp one over the other. When I am sad the first thing that I want to know is "Why," followed quickly by "How can I Fix It?" or "What Can I Do to Make It Go Away?" How about just staying with it? Squirming under my own microscope. I want to go buy books for the next session of Taos retreat with Natalie. Plunge myself into an escapist book and not even really enjoy it. Go watch an afternoon of Buffy.

Anything but cry. Anything but go for a walk, call a friend, write more and again about how I don't know why, I don't know when it will "go away," (if at all) or if there is indeed anything to fix (doubtful, of course).

When did it start? With true sadness. Two of my favorite students who are also friends are leaving their classes as of today, after a long time attending. One is just taking a session off, but the other is moving far away. Sure, she'll probably join the online forum. And sure I never really got all the drinks with her I meant to. It's not like I am losing her, really. And yet here comes that impermanence (I wanted to write STUPID, my inner crankster says) rearing its head again. I almost cried in class, since others did, and boy was I feeling the love. But there's nothing like feeling the love when love is moving on to love others. Not a personal loss, not even a loss, just a movement, like all of life is.

Today, a message in my Facebook message box. Don't check it real often, til I discovered sometimes people are contacting me - or trying to - quite urgently there. So today I made a point to check it. Turns out a former co-worker from the Overture, and a woman I thought of as a friend, though we were little more than queer compatriots with similar senses of humor and art, died. I only found out because the woman I was trying to get her email address from (the woman who died has recently been "downsized" from the Overture and I wanted to make sure she was doing okay) emailed me back to say there's no her to send it to. She had medical issues, was in a wheelchair, but an infection hit her fast and hard and she left this world on Sunday.

I took it as evidence: see! No wonder I am sad! Muckiness is afoot in the universe! But the fact is that everyday feels this way one way or another. Miriam Greenspan calls it a healthy dose of despair - the truth of the world, how it is impermanent and problematic, how things and people break and die and go away on a whim. I just need to keep reminding myself (I laugh at the word "just" as if this is a small task) that this is normal, that, as one of those students who is leaving wrote today in her final piece "the vulnerability we have which is often seen as sharp and dark is in fact normal and accepted in this space." I can do that. I can take sad. I've done it before.

Phew. Nothing like feeling blue then getting bad news. I'll limp around to take a "walk" and go get my hair cut as scheduled. Read a book but also write. Make sure there is chocolate in there somewhere. And light a candle for Rae. My apologies, my dear, I did not get to you in time.


  1. It's a touching story, and so well-written. I am sorry for your foot, the people who move away and those who died. But yes, it's life. And who are we to want to make it go away.

  2. Thanks, Gabi. "And who are we to make to want to make it go away" indeed.

  3. i've been feeling impermanence lately. i don't know why- maybe it's the structure of this first year of school, rotating through labs to try to find a fit. maybe it's talking to aaron about finding a way to make "us" work when we can't seem to figure out (logistically) how to be in the same place. anyway, i hear you. i'm glad this week is over, and i'm going to bake some cakes.

  4. Abigail. Yep. All that and a bag of chips. Those things definitely sound like impermanence quizzes to me!