August 29, 1999
I have just gotten back from church and my laundry is in the works. I am completely out and must do this before I go to work tonight.
I received an email from my sister last week where she told of a plan of my fathers. It seems that he wants all of the kids to be together. We should all plan upon taking a weeks vacation and we are all going to go up to the mountains in eastern Tennessee where we shall reside in a country chateau. We are to provide our own means of transportation and our own food, as well as any activities or trinkets that we will want to buy. The image that returns to my mind over and over again is that of my habitual early morning stroll and meditation. The picture goes as thus:
I awake while the morning is still very young. The rest of the household is half asleep or getting the morning shower in. I’ve taken a small cup of herbal tea, a poetry book, and I set off into the wooded hillside to greet the day. It is foremost in my mind that this is an incredible opportunity for me to have a week off and free in such a pristine environment as this. I walk among the trees and feel the coolness of the morning. I soak up the experience as much as I can for I know that it is limited. I find a quiet spot overlooking a small valley and I gather myself into a morning meditation.
On one such morning my nephew ask to go with me and I consent, happy to have his youthful energy with me. He asks me a few questions and I answer as wisely as I can. My aim with him is not to tell him the right answers, but to teach him how to ask the right questions. My time with him is very short, I am able to see him but for maybe once or twice a year. Not very long to make a lasting impression… or is it.
This entire week finds me living the fullest idea of what it is I wish to live. I have with me a few chosen books to read. I have a journal that I am constantly scribbling in. I’ve also brought my paints and I continue the hapless mixture of various pigments upon my pristine white paper. During this week of close confines with eight other adults and just as many children, my outlook on life and my lifestyle are all brought into direct contrast with the others. Having all lived together, for the most part, for the past ten years and especially within very similar social systems, my attitude and behavior will be somewhat different. However I am as the water… flexible and yet forceful. My goal is not to change anyone but merely to fully live my own experience. I cannot help but think that this may indeed cause some change within some, most important of which are the children. It is important for them to see someone who has reached a sense of who he is and how much more powerful that is than the desire to be accepted.
Right now a gentle summer rain has come upon us. I have turned off my “Enigma” CD and enjoy the sound of the wind and the rain against my window. Outside my window the sparse trees in the parking lot move as if in a slow waltz to the wind. Rain and tree are partners in the tempo created by the wind. I sit here and look out my window for a little while, relishing this feeling… as I am as moved by the wind as is the rain. I feel peace and contentment and a joy for this life, where I am, and what beautiful opportunities await in the future. As I sit here, I wonder… does my father ever sit beside a window and commune with God in such manner as this? In his world, things are black and white. Mine is more akin to Neitzsche’s in that life itself is without any quality but it is always in the process of being valued (either for poor or bad). It is the mind of the observer that instills a quality to life. I wonder, what does he hold in his mind as he sits in a boat in the bayou while the sun begins to make his ascent into the heavens.
The image that I have in my mind for next year, when we are all together, is a younger version of the “old man” image that I have for years to come. I haven’t really set out to become this person, but as I look around me and take stock of my various books and things that I’ve done… I see that I’ve followed suit. I have paintings on my walls, both others and mine. I buy books with philosophical currents in them, whether they speak of science, time management, or theology, I also have poetry books and I have written on occasion. I’ve filled my apartment with flower arrangements and I cook meals from scratch from time to time. I do all manner of things.
As I was walking up the flight of stairs to my room I was reflecting upon the idiom “Carpe Diem” and I wondered about this “Seize the Day”. Seize what? People try to get things done… to fully use a day… is this seize the day? I wondered if instead it would be better to “Direct a Day”, that is to instill a purpose within each day. Of this I refer not to matters such as cleaning day, or bills day, or even homework day. While all have their place in our world… I refer to something deeper. The report of people spending extravagant amounts of money on the year 2000 celebration strikes a note. The year 2000 in its perceived importance has empowered people to live something, to work a dream, to experience something they always wanted. I expect that for many these will only mirror their usual, everyday life, an exercise in expense. But for some it is a trip to a remote location to give time to their soul. They are living with purpose in this short window of their lives. They are not living to work or to pay the bills, but are living to experience a deeper mystery and to deepen their souls. When we Live Life, we then truly “Seize the Day”.
This is the spirit of the image that I have for the weeks vacation next June. In this image I am living each life with a steady purpose to actually “live a life” and with that I seize the day. I cannot remember the source, but the effect is this: “people always talk about how they would like to have immortality, yet they haven’t figured out how to life the life they’ve got.”
Today’s meditation in a wonderful book that I have “Sacred Living: A Daily Guide” is on letting go. “Today I let go of my plan and trust the flow of life”. This requires faith. The idea of planning… of at least knowing where I am going in life has been such a big part of my paradigm, that this at first seems difficult. Yet upon inspection of my life, I see that I’ve placed a great deal of faith in the flow of life. Not so much in the idea of reckless behavior, but that if I seek to do good my life will have meaning. This is a stretch of faith in itself. If you think not, find a greedy skeptic and try to convince him otherwise. You’ve got a battle of logic on your hands.
I have a lot of dreams for the future, things I would like to change. Today is the day I begin.