Yesterday was a really extraordinary day. It started out good and just got better and better. It was also my father’s birthday!
My father has kind of been a spirit guide for me in my life. Ever since I was a child, we would have long conversations about living out a life of meaning. I had a lot of questions about the golden rule, the nature of boredom, where dreams and fictional stories come from, and aging and reflecting. It was my father who encouraged me to start keeping a journal at age 7 because I might forget those moments as I got older, and he who backed up the hard drive with all of my early novel attempts.
As a child, my biggest puzzle was finding a best friend after my neighbor and childhood best friend Lauren moved away in the 5th grade. Since then I have realized that I have this deep passion and near-obsession for empathic connection and sharing experiences. When discussing what I had been seeking after losing touch with my most recent lover, I found myself using the phrase “sharing experiences” over ten dozen times. I have always felt slightly overwhelmed by my own activity and my own self. My friends tease that I think at warp speed! My mind literally almost never stops, and even my dreams are lush with psychically intense and spiritually explosive images for my introspective impulses. I do not intend for this to sound self-absorbed, though I must confess that I have a hard time not being absorbed in it because there is so much there. But in the end I just love so much because people catch me on my whims and show me new ways of dancing with the self.
I fall in love every few months or so, in the sense of finding a really deep, meaningful, expansive connection with another person. I would probably fall in love more but it is not always appropriate. I think I am falling in love with a few people right now, but I have learned to feel it in a more collected way and just appreciate it. How lovely is my life, how beautiful to have it composed of such genuine and encouraging characters!
My point is that I have realized that the moment when I feel the highest calm, the most freedom, and the most present in contemplative joy is that moment when I really look at someone and listen with my whole being, open and unburdened by my own embodied state, thoughts, and emotions. I really love caring for others because suddenly it is as though my existence which can so wholly seem all about me…just isn’t, anymore. That is a simple way of saying it. Anyhow, I think that this is very important, but in some ways also a limitation. After all, there IS something more. As much as I love and can love others and build space through this connection, I can also find peace within myself without the other and beyond him or her.
Yesterday when I got off the train, I saw a homeless man with a sign that said “homeless and lonely”. It was the “and lonely” part that really got me. He was a young man, probably only a few years older than me, and he was reading the newspaper. I did not have any money to give, so I felt around in my purse. Without even thinking, I asked, “Would you like a book?” When I kneeled down next to him, I saw that he was doing the cross-word. He looked at me and said, “Sure.” I pulled out the book in my purse, which was Love in the Days of Rage by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Erick and I had bought out the entire Ferlinghetti collection at the Portland Powells after stumbling upon Time of Useful Consciousness in the “Rare Book” room. “It’s Ferlinghetti”, I said, “It’s poetic writing on love.” I was not sure what else to say, so I just finished with, “It’s good.” (Though, I had only flipped through the opening pages of Love in the Days of Rage). The man gave me this big smile. I think he was missing a couple teeth towards the back. He thanked me. I had never thought about giving a book to a homeless man before, it just seemed appropriate for someone who was lonely. Then I stood up and went onward.
I was running late for an interview yesterday for an internship for creative marketing content writing with small-business start-ups and non-profit organizations. I called and let them know ahead of time, and with the extenuating circumstances I think it was okay. Because it was an internship and the job posting had been for a specific project already filled rather than the company in general, I felt a little skeptical coming into the interview. However, my conversation with the owner of the company felt entirely natural and inspiring. I really felt like we were thinking on the same page. I left feeling like I would genuinely enjoy the work, even if it was initially only offered as unpaid. And I still believe that it is a great opportunity to practice and develop my skills, bounce around ideas with other intelligent and creative thinkers, and create successful content for small businesses and NPOs with mission statements that align with my values.
I feel that it is worth noting that yesterday I was wearing a vintage watch necklace that I had found with my friend Angelina at a little shop northwest from the city after horseback riding. It was an item that I wore almost daily after purchasing, until one day it stopped working. I had always loved the sound of the tick on the tiny clock, so I was upset when it stopped. I remember this moment vividly because I was sitting at my little cubicle coffin in the deathly chill, silent room while working as a Research Specialist for Casting Hub. No one ever talked to me there and my work was so simple that I would often get horribly bored. I would get headaches and nausea from sitting at a computer screen for 9 hours a day (10am-7pm were my hours, with an hour lunch break). Ironically, this was during the time that I had started my yoga teacher training. I had started teaching a workplace yoga but no one could ever remember to bring their mat or yoga clothes and it became “too disruptive” so my manager had offered that people could either take 30 minutes out of their lunch break to do yoga or do a full hour lunch break. Of course, working 9-hour days, no one ever wanted to give up any time on their one chunk of freedom. Even I was hesitant to do so. Sitting at my desk during that job, I felt like time might as well have not existed. My watch was something that kept me reminded, and the little window that I could see to the outside from when I stood up from my cubicle. I remember that it snowed a lot that year and I remember watching it from my one little perch.
Increasingly recently while wearing the watch, I noticed that its tick became regular again and that it had stopped falling out of tempo and then quitting altogether as it had before. Yesterday I wound it to the proper time at 8:15am and continued to wind it throughout the day. It now works again. I just picked it up to check, and after leaving it overnight it now still displays the proper time of 11:35am. And I can hear its little ticking, so charming. It has a red face with flowers around the front, a gold chain and a hand-painted rose on the back. Underneath on the back, in tiny neat letters, it says “handpainted” as one word arching upwards.