Letting Lonliness Slice Me into One

I was going to write about jury duty… I still might.  But I must start where I am.  It is a familiar place, though one that I try to avoid.  Fear and loneliness have seeped into me like wet, cold wind that sneaks right through winter clothes.  Three thirty in the afternoon and the sky is gray and unforgiving.  The air blowing through my open window chases me deeper under the covers of my bed.  I feel so lonely.  I was released from the courthouse by eleven am… and then my yoga student canceled our appointment for this evening.  So my whole day has become one long whisper of unstructured time and space.

Part of me wants to scramble and reach out to *some*one and make a plan.  My mind desperately tries to structure the rest of my waking day.  It is terrifying to be here, devoured by the most starkly ordinary moments, wrought with silence.  Silence!  The very thing that I have been yearning for.  Yes, the thirst for silence has been tickling my palate, pressing relentlessly against the bottom of my mind for some time now.  Then I read one of Souldipper’s most recent blogs, which exalted the virtuousness of silence, adding weighty validation to the increasingly amplified inner beckoning to submit to sacred quietude.  I have become hyper sensitive to words shared between myself and others and honestly, most of them are on par with light beer.

So here I am.  Silent.  And terrified.  Terrified by the threat of meaninglessness, aloneness, emptiness (The “nasty nesses”… Grin.).  Yearning to be diverted, yet digging my heals in and refusing to move.  I must face this.  I thought about taking myself on a date to the movies.  But I’m too stubborn.  I feel challenged by this state of panic. Seduced right to my edge.  I don’t want to be a typical American, stuffing in MORE of anything that I can get my smarmy mitts on…  I don’t want to reach in desperation for a hollow something to shove into this intimidating chasm.  I want to claim liberation.  I want to lean on God.  But God is so blessed quiet and that frightens me.  What if I spend the whole rest of the day trying to feel God’s presence… and I fail?  Then the joke’s on me, because here I was, reaching all of my hands out to this God character and all I wind up with are infinite fistfuls of Nothing.  (Wink.)

Does all of this sound crazy?  Ridiculous?  I’m just sharing my experience with you, because it is what is true right now.  I feel vulnerable, very vulnerable inviting you in to this weird crevice of my existence.  It doesn’t seem very normal.  I think most people would just go to the damn movies, or call up a friend, or put on some music and clean out their closet or paint a water color rendition of their orchid colony.  But not Athena… She’s got something to work out in this echoing realm of solitude.  I feel better putting words around it, transforming the experience from gaping infinite to defined, articulated, translated.

This unresolved relationship to aloneness as articulated by time and space is something I have used my intimate relationships to avoid facing.  I have cast my boyfriends as my saviors, my entertainers, my continuous distractions.  I am curious and excited to navigate the world alone for a while and heal this wounded neighborhood of my soul.  (Are Mykael and I breaking up?  Dunno… but we are certainly separating for a while.  I am going to spend some months in Kauai and he will go stay with his parents while he passes his nursing exams and finds a job.  I will be Athena’s Athena.  I will be All Pervading Love’s Athena.  That is as far as I can see right now.)

Yesterday, Sir John of the Land of Unicorn Milk and Frivolously Spilling Coins (Reno) drove our chariot back to foggy, dismal Oakland.  We drove on highway fifty, through South Lake Tahoe and we were both engulfed by silence for almost the entire drive.  Are there ANY words that can transport you into the sea of awe that I splashed in as we wound along those mountain roads?  Clunky-assed words…  I am digging.

Lucid.  Imagine massive mountainsides composed of gray stone, interspersed with magestic, towering pine trees.  Imagine the vibrant play of lucid, tremulous blue, screaming green, entire intricate worlds of brown and this almost silvery, immovable sea of stone.  Imagine all of this set to the sweet scented music of hot mountain air rushing at your face through an open window.  Enchanted.  Mystical.  I would not have been at all surprised to see gnomes out gathering mushrooms and medicinal barks at twilight, or unicorns frolicking in the occasional waterfall that tumbled down the long, hard, timeless faces of the breath giving rocks.  Rocks.  I was taken by their mostly smoothed contour and definition.  In some places, the mountain peaks appeared to be composed of precariously stacked boulders.  In other places, the same face of stone would stretch unbroken for long spells.  And how do trees grow so virile from ancient, impenetrable stone?

Shrug.  I did my best.  But the wonders of this world are not to be clumsily told.  They are made exactly to fit into the wide-open chasms of peace that reside at the center of each one of us, as lock incites penetration by key.

That epic scenery is a tough act to follow in the way of conversation… so even as we descended into the relentless heat of the sprawling suburbs of unsavory Sacramento, we kept quiet, each nursing the mysterious nectar of our own private world.  Then I got a text from Mykael updating me on his plans upon moving out of our home at the end of August.  In that moment, the curtain of serenity tumbled up and fear, loneliness and alienation swept down in me.  Suddenly I was looking change in right in the cold, reptilian eyes and all my heart could do was stammer and squeeze in on its self.  I felt inundated by cold and shadows.  As if receiving his cue from the All Pervading Cinematic Director, Sir John popped his CD of Coleman Barks reciting Rumi poems into the player.  My paralyzed heart shuddered with a strange cocktail of heavy relief and boundless woe.  The poems were set to delicate, evocative music.  I released myself into the hidden worlds that spilled from them.  Every single poem spoke to my heart.  Or spoke FROM my heart… My eyes became the mouths of raging rivers.  I clung to this sane and sacred poetry like one lost in a violent sea, clinging to a benevolent, bleached piece of driftwood.

Poem upon poem, lavish with timeless truth, ageless wisdom, transcendent beauty and I let each one break my heart wider.  Soft, silent sobs.  I let my soul feed and release.  Outside, Sacramento streamed by in a series of perplexingly meaningless images and sweltering heat.  A couple of times I noticed Sir John wipe tears from his own face and I knew that he too was allowing his heart to be forever changed by this slicing strand of moments.  It was poetry at it’s finest, living through us.  It hurt.  This Love so big trying to squeeze its way through two ordinary humans in a big, silver diesel pick-up truck, speeding through a mundane, baking afternoon in Sacramento.

God, keep all these worldly distractions, I want them not.  I choose this awkward aloneness.  Help me dive in and be quenched in the oasis of Peace that is always here to nourish me in this dream of thirst.  Amen.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. dan
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 14:17:40

    …Breathe into my hands, As if a glass to drink from.

    I see you sitting there, with your head in your hands. Such tormented thoughts that plague your mind, How i wish i can untwine. My soul carries a heavy burden, I don’t like to see the final curtain.
    I want to wash your hands in holy oil, look at you as it slips through thy fingers, as to wash away the crazy sins of the world, to calm and re-nourish you. I rub them as our fingers glide against one another, I feel your soul yearning for release. Your slow breathing makes me unwind.

    …Breathe into my hands, …As if a glass to drink from…

    let Me be the nourishment to your soul.

    are you still breathing?
    look at me.
    …APL_ATI…
    YOUR GOD!!

    Reply

  2. Lew Sterling
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 17:43:45

    I wandered lonely as a cloud
    That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
    When all at once I saw a crowd,
    A host, of golden daffodils;
    Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
    Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

    Continuous as the stars that shine
    And twinkle on the milky way,
    They stretched in never-ending line
    Along the margin of a bay:
    Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
    Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

    The waves beside them danced; but they
    Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
    A poet could not but be gay,
    In such a jocund company:
    I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
    What wealth the show to me had brought:

    For oft, when on my couch I lie
    In vacant or in pensive mood,
    They flash upon that inward eye
    Which is the bliss of solitude;
    And then my heart with pleasure fills,
    And dances with the daffodils.

    –William Wordsworth

    Reply

  3. souldipper
    Jul 22, 2010 @ 21:00:02

    Cocooned in the Creator’s Love, the soul struggles its way to courage and magnificence.

    Love, Amy

    Reply

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