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Archive for May, 2010

I was going through my journal this morning as I sometimes do – looking for words or phrases I write down and quickly forget, which is why I write them down in the first place – and I came across a quote from the poet Muriel Rukeyser. She said “the journey is my home.”

It stopped me again this morning, just as it stopped me the first moment I read it. For so long I’ve been trying to find what I call a “home” in myself. A place I can take with me wherever I go. I’ve looked inward, often times analyzing myself until I’m ragged and fraying like an old sweater. I’ve looked at how I react to the world and how the world reacts to me. I’ve looked at my problems, my emotions, my joys and my insecurities. I have moments of pure bliss and moments of terrible angst. I’m, in so many words, human.

What I found interesting about this quote, however, was it made me stop and think that maybe I’m going about this home business the wrong way. I’ve been on a journey to find a home, that much is true. But I’ve been hoping for some end result, for some “aha” moment where I can remain in some enlightened sort of state. I don’t want to depress all of you (maybe you know this already), but things don’t work that way. There’s always something; something to learn, something to hate, something to love, something that will break your heart. It’s easier to look back on of course, not so easy to live through it.

The world is in constant change. Minutes are as fleeting as seasons; laughter here one day and gone the next only to come back again. Water evaporates and then falls. I am a part of this world just as a much as a corn sprout in a dirt field. Only our problem as conscious beings is that we are able to analyze what kind of dirt we’re in, how green our sprouts are compared to the guy next to us and how much water we’re not getting.

But do I think that because I am a conscious being that I’m exempt from these same natural laws? Do I think that just because I’m stuck in one single shell of a body my entire life that I will never have to change or evolve within that shell? Maybe at one point I did. I thought we got to a certain age and we just stopped changing. We were finally whole and centered and at peace. But it doesn’t. I’m still terribly insecure at times, walking around like a little girl lost in a big mall. There are days when I want to escape my skin and my mind; be a door knob so I don’t have to think about anything. Open close open close. But as a human, I can’t just ditch my shell (my home) like a hermit crab whenever I get cramped. The only thing I can do is evolve with what I’ve got.

Our bodies are homes for our hearts and our minds and just like a home, paint starts to peel, foundations crack, weeds pop in where the flowers used to be. But I have a hammer and a few nails hidden away in my heart’s garage somewhere and I’m the only one who can make the necessary repairs. I don’t have to remain stagnant within myself. If there’s something I don’t like, who says I can’t change it?

Months ago my Grandfather wrote in a letter that we all have figurative circles surrounding us. We all start as a point in the middle of that circle. When we move, the circle moves. Like a snowball coming down a mountain, when we grow and change, our circles grow. If we choose, however, not to grown and remain stagnant  our circles remain the same size as they always were. Who wouldn’t want a bigger circle full of more people, experiences, laughter and yes, even pain. Growth is a choice. It’s a choice and a willingness to be open to life.

Which brings me back Muriel Rukeyser. “The journey is my home,” she said. It’s the constant change, the act of being on a journey that makes her feel home. Her home is in constant motion. Her circle always moving and growing larger. I wanted to be home, but I think I was and have been afraid of the journey – how it might change me, my relationships with people, my way of thinking. But Muriel is right – we have to look at the act of moving itself as our one consistency; change is our constant. First, we find a home within ourselves and I’m getting to that – I think I’m pretty close, but my next step is to find a home within the journey, within my world.

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The Susquahanna River, Jim Thorpe and digging for worms

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Here goes …

I’m not sure why I’m nervous. It’s not like anyone can see me, but somehow the thought of putting myself out there always makes me a little anxious. I suppose in a way, writing anything is a little nerve-wracking. I have heard that most writers are terrified when they sit down every morning in front of their computers – if not terror, then it’s some sort of uneasiness. I would have to agree with this. Writing is scary – where it can take you emotionally, where it can’t take you emotionally. It’s not a cure-all, a therapist, but it can reveal parts of oneself they are afraid to peek into and writing can reveal these things suddenly and without warning. It’s unchartered waters and explorations into thickly weeded worlds no one can know the expanse of – my mind and my heart.

When I sit down in the morning with my cup of coffee, that I hardly ever finish, I get scared that like that warm drink before me, I’ll never be done. Somehow, I’ll get hit by a truck walking to work; fall down the back stairs carrying a bag of groceries and break my neck; slip in our white porcelain tub and crack my head open. These are morbid and overly dramatic thoughts, I realize, but I think them nonetheless. I suppose I worry that all my wanderings on paper, all my half-written stories, my unfinished poems, my second-draft of a memoir that’s just sitting on my desk, will never be finished. And maybe they never will, but I suppose what’s important is that I’m getting up every morning before work, no matter how tired I am, to write and to keep going. Despite how scary writing can be, in the end it’s like breathing a deep, full, fresh breath. It fills my lungs and my heart and without it I don’t think I would know how to make sense of the world. It’s a honest guide, one that warns me that “hey, there may be dangerous things in there, but I’ll always be here as a light, as your way out. I’ll always show you the way.”

I guess in the end I should be proud of myself – how many people can say they face a fear every day and push through it?

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