Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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Watch Redux (A writing exercise)

Tonight I'm playing with a different writing exercise. With the kind permission of skygoodwill, I took one of her posts, pasted it entirely into this post, and now am going to use every word in the post as part of a broader canvas which will be my own, rather different post. To paraphrase the 60s warhorse, I'll turn her revolt into my style.

Remember Chance the Gardener? "I like to watch".

Did you ever see a desert willow, on some rolling dry hillside? The wind wafts through it as naturally as pieces of a jigsaw fit, as if the wind was supposed to
roll through it. Not everything works that smoothly. Voices of discordant things, all around. Broken elm branch swaying in the wind. The sound of a car thrown accidentally into reverse when one is seeking second. The still, subtle sound of an electronic gadget that no longer gadges.

I wonder sometimes about these feelings I call "flow" and "process", in bleak acknowledgement of theories of theology and business systems about which I know little more than the buzzwords. I like to imagine that I'm in the midst of a conversation happening all around me, watching and sometimes tossing in a catchprhase--"cheap grace", "erudite epiphany", or "I could only find this monkey wrench, hope it will do". It's all so confusing--this socialization. Standing in a communal kitchen hoping for rescue. A painting opens into a journey inside. Pain and suffering denounces willing love. The crosswalk guide in uniform, whistles and holds the sign to go. I'm lost in a sea of images and daydreams, while others are having ordinary chats.

I remember a time when watchfulness meant looking for clues, for the child-like liberation of the one true answer on how to live day to day. A teacher in reading corner, holding a book, showing the young students an illustration. In third grade, I loved to read very quickly, to show that I could staccato-roll the words out like banging a snare drum, breathlessly hoping to get each word read faster than the prior word. In my mind, that eight year old staccato beat still pounds out.

So many times it seems as though words are the only defense against the eptitude of others. Everyone around seems to have a gift, a seed of life. A gentleman with an outstretched hand, holds an apple that fans open into prefect sections. A witch spirit flies into the sky from a workshop window; escape. A hand gently glides over the silken hair of his intended. I evade the sun under a canopy of shady words. I find myself rarely at a loss for words, except when words might possibly do any real good.

It's the old stories, of course. Miscommunication lends itself to grief at a dinner meeting. I become a form of what I term "human furniture", part of the ambience of the situations, but not really perceived as living and breathing. A living room corner, inert and yet travelling through time without movement.

Of course, I don't entirely trust some forms of social interaction. Patronage paid in full to the highest bidder. 'Meditate!' a word shouted to the mind. I find that mindfulness so often seems to involve a lot of chattering and shouting at oneself, when fewer verbs might do the trick more nicely. Watch the way you go, towards the aim of ego. I've never been entirely comfortable with this construct of "ego", whether construct is Freudian, Jungian, or any of a thousand notions of maya and illusion. I lack the vocabulary to say exactly what I mean, but I think I mean something along the lines of "perhaps in order to truly relate to people you have to take your eye off the ball of your own worries and onto the ball of human reality hurtling towards you at 98.6 miles an hour". But I wonder if baseball metaphors are not a bit strained.

It's so easy to imagine just being relaxed with people, sometimes. The peace within ascends, staying free of frustration. Floating in a sargasso sea, instead of a wary watching, a rolling float of just watching and being and not worrying. I find this very elusive. It's like some mantra I can't recite. "Come forth hoping dreams into form, letting go". I don't know what all the words mean, but I hear them in whispers in my inner ear. Thank goodness I hear no voices, as my thoughts are companions enough.

I guess part of getting the hang of it is like that odd book about playing tennis as if it were a zen meditation. The ball comes over the net, in the form of basic conversation, and you hit the ball back instead of worrying what the ball means or just what is the score. Fully present whatever be the test or trial, celebration or joy. Tragedy is being half-awake, in a slumber on this glorious adventure. A blink of an eye. That's the point, really. To hit the ball across the net, merely because it is a ball there for hitting. To really talk to someone, without agonizing about what impression one is making. Be free, alive.

I find the image of the crucifix so desperately and essentially powerful. But we are not all called upon to be martyrs in each conversation. Sometimes a communion of saints can occur in what we usually dismiss as mundane. A crown in air presented to one walking through thorns; bleeding not permitted.

Sometimes I notice the way that some folks live with a kind of resonance. Singing to hearts content. Songs that need be expressed by a voice and yours alone. Walk. Sit. Let out your sound. Reveal your crown. I love to sing, but my voice is a bit like the catfood can on my can-jo. It serves as some kind of musical resonator, but I'm not sure the voice is pristine.

So I remain at watch. An ensign of the floating guard. Listening for that crackle of human life invading. Broken sound. Standing allowed. A competition. Pain there.
The ego. Let go.

Sometimes I don't know when to grasp tightly, and when to let go. I'm forever keeping watch.

Thanks for skygoodwill for permission to play with her post.
It's fun! Feel free to try it at home, with one of your LJ friends' permission.

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