It’s late April, I feel the pull of many things in need of my attention, but I’m lethargic. Or maybe I want to be lethargic? Most likely I’m recovering from pneumonia and have become accustomed to lounging in bed. This is a perplexing predicament ~ comfortable, safe, isolated ~ distancing me from not only my responsibilities but the many distractions of life. I wonder if illnesses are a symptom of a languishing interior life or the result? Spending time ruminating on the origins of affliction has been an illuminating process. All I know is this bed is a form of addiction and I might need a program.
“Being so long accustomed to the oppression (of the intellect), the mental inertia becomes hard to remove. In fact it has gone down deep into the roots of our own being, and the whole structure of personality is to be overturned…it is no pastime but the most serious task in life; no idlers will ever dare attempt.” Suzuki
I have a view of the garden from my bed which is good thing if I keep my focus upward. See the wisteria is in bloom, dangling from the arbor, as if a bouquet miraculously suspended from the sky. It’s stunning. Below the bouquet is a complete mess, despairing is more descriptive, half dead plants barely clinging to life, piles of debris, and the vessels I set with neurotic precision around the patio are begging for color. How metaphoric is this scenario?
By this time of year I’ve usually purchased a flat of impatients, several containers of alyssum, geraniums, fresh succulents, various forms of colorful foliage, and ivy for fill. It’s miraculous what water, sun, and miracle grow can accomplish in a few short weeks. The yard literally comes back to life.
“We are all finite, we cannot live out of time and space, inasmuch as we are earth-centered, there is no way to grasp the infinite, how can we deliver ourselves from the limitations of existence?” Suzuki
Isn’t that what we all want? To come back to life? Suzuki argues the finite is the infinite, and vice versa. These are not two separate things, though we are compelled to conceive them so, intellectually. If this is true maybe I need to worry less about schedules and deadlines and more about my ultimate goal? Liberation from self-limiting beliefs, undergoing interior reconstruction, and maybe a little distancing from unhealthy influences. This is part of our unalienable rights ~ life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!
Hum…water, sun, miracle grow are life giving properties. That might be the program I’ve been looking for? Water, sun, and Mai Tai’s! Maybe I should book a trip to Hawaii?
The doctor at Urgent Care had me back in yesterday for a follow up and she decided to extend my treatment for three more days. Apparently my left lung is a total slacker. Whereas the right lung is ready for normal activity. She advised me to start exercising again (yes, I was appalled), slowly, at my own pace. I sort of thought getting up and using the restroom was sufficient exercise. I also have to walk all the way to the kitchen for water so there’s that.
Larry on the other hand is ready for me to be back in full service and has decided to become my personal trainer. How lucky am I? A few nights ago he challenged me to walk to downtown Campbell (way farther than my bathroom), stop at El Guapo’s for nachos (the hook), and walk home.
“Freedom is the capacity to pause in the face of stimuli from many directions at once and, in this pause, to throw one’s weight toward this response rather than that one. ” Rollo May
Sometimes you only have seconds to decide and this can change your entire life (a little dramatic but true in some situations). The ambiguous pause brings your freedom boldly into focus. Rollo May says in the pause we wonder, reflect, sense awe, and conceive of eternity. This is my kind of guy. Here’s where our freedom and destiny come into play, where your personal power lies, and futures are constructed one decision at a time.
So I conceded to the journey, Shaggy joined us, and we headed west towards downtown. My slow pace may have been slightly annoying to Larry but he didn’t let on. In the crosswalk at the edge of the commercial district someone honked at us. This is not unusual, Campbell is a small town respectively, and we’ve been here for decades. So we went about identifying the honker. I notice the driver was a blond, Larry notices the car was a Mercedes, and it was definitely white. It must be Melissa!
My trainer, pleased with my lumbering efforts, offered to carry me the last few blocks as I was wheezing for air, but I have my dignity, and we can’t have his back go out while I’m ailing. Who would freshen the dog’s water? And truthfully, no one has the strength to carry us, if we are to progress, it must be on our own accord.
We score some proper real estate at El Guapo’s and fifteen minutes later Melissa and Mike join us on the crowded patio. It’s a beautiful night, comfortable with just a light sweatshirt, you can actually smell the aroma of spring lingering in the air.
As the evening slips away, so do the glasses of wine, gabbing with M & M (Of the infamous M & M photography ~ okay I admit this is a shameless plug ~ I happen to be prominently featured on the website) is always entertaining, and we make it our goal to finish all the nachos. Melissa and I dive into our favorite topic, collaborating on a book, she does the photography, I write the stories. It’s our little pipe dream (maybe this summer?).
“By making us drink right from the fountain of life, it liberates us from all the yokes under which we finite beings are usually suffering in this world.” Suzuki
I woke up the next morning staring at the same view of the thriving and diminishing garden. Reminded me of my lungs, one working, the other ailing but functioning in the same body. Suzuki says no amount of wordy explanations will ever lead us into the nature of our own selves. The more you explain, the further it runs away from you. It is like trying to get hold of your own shadow.
I close my eyes and visualize what the garden could be, making a mental note of the necessary supplies, plants that will flourish in the sun, and ones that prefer the shade. Working in the garden is an act of humility and love (reminds me of my friend Cat). Enabling life is always more satisfying than watching it decay? I’m learning that before I can offer my humble love to the world I must offer it first to myself.
Angel Kyodo Williams says for us to be transformed as individuals, we have to allow for the incompleteness of any of our truths and a real forgiveness for the complexity of human beings. Looking at the languishing yard and knowing what it could become gives me hope that I too can look towards a more lush and developed future self.
“Always decide to use humble love. If you resolve on that once and for all, you may subdue the whole world. Loving humility is marvelously strong, the strongest of all things and there is nothing else like it.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky
I’m Living in the Gap, most likely in bed, visualizing a lush future.