Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Path of Expectation


Thanks to them, from whom the painful blessings flow, we are waking up.
Rob Brezsny

As anyone who knows me or reads this blog may infer, I do a good deal of reflection, especially of the philosophical kind. The last weeks since I returned from Michigan have been no exception. After a difficult experience there I had to retrench and look at how I was approaching the process of my mother's terminal illness. And I realized something, I was on the path of expectation that every day was her last. As a result I was living life closed down and numbed out.

This morning I read a passage from Anne Dillard's, "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" and it provoked even more thinking. Here is the passage:

"...We wake, if we ever wake at all, to mystery...beauty...."Seems like we're just set down here," a woman said to me recently, "and don't nobody know why."

There are morning pictures you dream as the final wave heaves you up on the sand to the bright light and drying air. You remember pressure and a curved sleep you rested against, soft, like a scallop in its shell. But the air hardens your skin; you stand; you leave the lighted shore to explore some dim headland, and soon you're lost in the leafy interior, intent, remembering nothing.

I still think of that...mornings when I wake. Things are tamer now, I sleep with the windows shut....my life is changed, but the memory remains of something powerful playing over me."

I'm returning to the task of waking up. Not to live the tame life, but to live the dreams I've had, to not let every day life numb me out, harden my skin and return me to a state of somnolent functioning.

In some very practical terms it means planning some time to connect to others and push my skills further. So I'm hoping to take a workshop in early June at Tassajara on Photography as Zen practice. Further I'm working on a road trip in September with my best friend that will lead us up the Northern California Coast to Oregon and perhaps as far as Seattle/Vancouver.

As I told a friend last night. I have to stop living in the furl of my mother's death and live in the unfurling of my life. It doesn't mean I'm not going to be denying the process, I'm just going to handle it differently.

So this has been a painful lesson to be learned, but as a result I am waking up even more.

David Bowie and The Arcade Fire, "Wake Up":


1 comment:

susanna said...

This post resonated with me, Lisa-Marie. About a month after my father died, I was called into my mother's doctor's office and was told that she had three months to live and would most likely die the same way as my father. I was already in shock over my father's sudden death and this new prediction caused me to have nightmares and emotions that swung from sudden crying to feeling numbed out, as you described. I lived months not knowing if I should continue with my plans to move out of her house or to stay. The thought of being there when she died was horrifying. The thought of not being there when she died was worse. As it turns out, there was an error in the doctor's assessment.
All I can say to you is that yes, you need to continue your life. I'm sure your mother would want you to. And be gentle and kind with yourself along the way.

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