I am lucky. I am loved. I am also, at this time, isolated, sad and about as much fun to spend time with as one of those beat-up, awful sofas you might find in the basement of a frat house– you know what I’m talking about– 70’s plaid synthetic fabric slapped together with cheap wood veneer, a couch that is neither comely nor comfy– a sofa that should never have been born, basically. (And we’re not even going to talk about how it smells after years of spilled beer and god knows what else in between its scratchy, horrible cushions).
I have in this apartment all my most favorite things. I have heat, fresh water, clean laundry and twinkle lights. I have also, at this time, a complete lack of mojo, volition, or any of that magical lightness of being that prompts one to crank the tunes, dance about barefoot and dive into the wild beginnings of a new project with a heart that believes anything is possible.
The good news is– none of the heaviness is in my head, i.e. this is not depression, at all. My mind is clear and rather annoying in its calm observance of my struggle. The pain is very much a sensation of physical and emotional substance. Sometimes it’s nearly impossible for me to tell which is which– but overall I can say with some clarity– oh, these are feelings. A new thing for me, to be sure, to be so aware of feelings.
Feelings suck, by the way– I’m sure most of you are way ahead of the game on this, but for anyone pulling up the rear here with me– man, whose crazy idea was this to load us up with feelings? No wonder I spent half my life burying them underground.
I wouldn’t mind so much if I there were some purpose to them, but really, it seems all they plan to do is sit on my chest like a couple of wet sandbags. Piles of fun.
I want everything to have meaning. I want everything to be a piece of something so much bigger than me or this world and or anything we can wrap our minds around– and so it’s hard for me not to struggle against this kind of lassitude and feel like I am wasting time, that I need to get through it already and be back in the joyful, vibrant, creative flow. But I have long since given over to trust and know that even though I don’t know WHY I cannot seem to shake loose this intractable sluggishness, I trust that I am here and something is moving through me (or I am moving through something, take your pick) and that it’s all part of the journey, whether or not I understand it.
And for the record, I don’t.
But lucky for me, there’s someone who can lay it out in a way I can live with, for now anyway.
” . . . all progress must come from deep within and cannot be pressed or hurried by anything. Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each impression and each germ of a feeling come to completion, wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one’s own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth-hour of a new clarity: that alone is living the artist’s life: in understanding as in creating. There is here no measuring with time, no year matters, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means, not reckoning and counting, but ripening like the tree which does not force its sap and stands confident in the storms of spring without the fear that after them may come no summer. It does come. But it comes only to the patient, who are there as though eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly still and wide. I learn it daily, learn it with pain to which I am grateful: patience is everything.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke