Monday, September 27, 2010

moving to center

at the core of every idea, emotion and sentient being is truth.

if you can get to it.

most often, it seems, the truth at the core hides or is trapped inside a maze of shifting walls and and funhouse mirrors.

the funny thing is, we build the labrynth ourselves. to prop up and defend the version of reality we desperately need, so we can continue to be the people we present to the world. the people we say we are.

that narrative, of course, is maybe one part real to every four parts fabrication, depending on how complicated we've made ourselves. how many masks we wear beneath the hats we put on in the course of a given day.

say, just for fun, that today, to get through the day, you need to be a boss and a colleague and an underling and a spouse and a parent and a friend. and, come to think of it, you're gonna need to be an administrator, too. and an accountant. and a public speaker. and a referee. and a counselor. and a creative problem-solver. a grammarian and a spell checker and a critic.

and a diplomat. and an advocate. a strategist and a tactician, simultaneously. andandand...

we'll say that's what's required today (even though there's probably more), and we'll stipulate for the record, your honor, that it's a fair representation of a typical day in the life.

say, just for laughs (because it really is funny), that this (or a variation of it) is the person you've constructed over the years. so obviously this is who you are required to be today (a different person likely will be required tomorrow, so be ready).

is it not expected that you will be good at being all of these things? is that not what you expect of yourself and what others expect of you? that all these moving pieces and interlocking components will transition one into the other and back again without a glitch? that this finely woven fabric will stretch seamlessly across the day and into the evening and right up to the point where you fall asleep and dream the weird-but-all-too-lifelike dreams?

of course it is.

random rhetorical question: how likely is it that we can actually be good at all these things, all the time, all at the same time? that the expectation and the reality are in synch and humming along on all cylinders as often as we tell ourselves they are?

we are all of us complicated people in a convoluted world. and each day adds another layer to the coats of paint we slap on to keep the whole edifice looking like new (or a reasonable facsimile thereof). meanwhile, the quiet truths of what we believe, what we feel, and who we are at our core tend to get drowned out by the roar of our own machinations, and those of everyone else we deal with.

so we madly cobble together the maze du jour and the requisite sort-of-truths as best we can, always accompanied by a vague unease that we can't put our finger on but which might be the gap between what we typically do and what we know, at our core, is what we should be doing. if you follow the winding thread.

which leads to an inevitable logical corrolary: don't believe everything you think. i mean, obviously. it's just good common sense, and it keeps you humble.

look at this...a huge pile of words about complication and convolution, all leading to what?

i don't know. i forgot my memory foam pillow, so i'm less sanguine than usual about drawing hasty conclusions...

oh! it's this. simplify.

amputate the clutter. pull the plug on the noise. keep the walls from shifting long enough to locate the core, then run frantically to get there.

make it unnecessary to be all of those people, all at once, but if you must, don't insist that you be good at all of them, because you can't. and even if you could, what's the point?

more importantly, are you being good at the right things? the things you know, at your core, are the ones that matter? one day you will have a moment of clarity, that moment when you shed the many layers and say, wow, did i ever screw that up. if only i had focused more on thisandthisandthis, and less on THAT. everything could've been different.

that moment will come. wouldn't it be nice if it were sooner than later?

of course it would. and for those of you who already know this and are staying close to your quiet center and can actually hear yourselves think...i'm envious.

envy, of course, is another shifting wall clattering around my personal maze.

but i see you there, sitting in your zone of serenity, and i want to be there too, metaphorically and metaphysically speaking. which is to say, to be more like myself. i'm in here, somewhere. i'm pretty sure.

so, i'm looking.

Sent from my iPad

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