A close friend of mine recently paid me the oddest compliment. Well, it seemed odd to me.
I recounted the highlights of my recent excursion to New Jersey and the awesome event that was Tied Down. I told her about the classes and my scene with Gray. I then explained how I didn’t allow any of the feelings I had spoil my time at the event. I waited until after to let it all out. She admired how I could be fully present for it all when an ocean of whirling emotions laid just around the bend.
It never occurred to me that this was some skill or gift. It is just something I do, something I thought everyone did. She explained it was what she tried to do.
When I’m in a scene, or focused on someone, I’m there and only there. I push the rest out, to the side, for another day. I lock off that corner of my thoughts, that place in my heart, promising to visit it later.
In truth, I have to visit it later. The emotions are not present in the moment; I make sure to tuck them far below. But they start building again from the moment my interaction ends, and, if not acknowledged and processed, find their way out in quite inconvenient ways (shortened temper, easily annoyed, crying fits over nothing).
I don’t know why I’m able to do this. DeepEnd compared my skill to one who’s dealing with the passing of an ailing loved one. The way you cherish the time you have because soon there will be no more moments.
I don’t like the analogy, but there is truth to it. Those are the very thoughts that float through my mind in the middle of it all. I have to be here. I have to be present. Because, soon, this moment will pass and I will have lost my time if I don’t seize it fully, now.
I have dealt with the passing of a close loved one, but I don’t think that is why I am able to do this. I was a wreck for most of that, when I wasn’t searing with anger at my family. Instead, I think my being present is more a matter of training and patience.
Patience was ground into me through my youth. I lived in a single parent household and often had to wait for my mother to get off work before we could go home. Each day, for hours, I found things to fill my time: homework, my Walkman, writing. But, inevitably, it would boil down to me sitting by the school door, waiting for her car to approach. Just sitting and waiting.
I learned discipline to keep myself from raging in anger or despairing in helplessness. I learned patience, knowing relief and release was close at hand. I learned to temper my wants, trained myself to be there without flashing my insides out. I learned to just be, in a sort of cross between acceptance and mediation.
Because it didn’t matter if I raged, or cried, or hated. She could get there no faster and I couldn’t make time do my biding. Therefore, why be a big ball of madness or a seeping selfish child?
The same holds true for scenes. I can’t change my world in that moment, can’t change what will happen the next day or even later that evening. But I can appreciate what I do have in those breaths. Why not just be and leave those emotions elsewhere?
So, now, I can just be. I can just enjoy. I can just submit to how my life is in that moment, push my rushing emotions aside, and delight in each second for what it is: special and fleeting.
Categorised as: Wisdom
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