I’ve spent a whole lot of time being diagnosed with nebulous miseries that really only served to exacerbate whatever I was trying to alleviate. I saw my differences as shameful problems that played as the background music while I did the awkward dance of both trying to hide them and “fix” them at the same time. The more labels I had, the more I felt I had an identity, and it didn’t matter to me what I softly felt it truly was. I let others who were more aggressive paint that picture for me and then I tried to live in it, no matter how much it felt like it didn’t match. My life was like a bad Photoshop job.
I thought trying to label my inner anguish was an honest labor that would buy me peace. Instead it caused a great crevasse right through my core. On one side were the things I just always innately knew as truth. When I was buried within myself, this side was home. This was where I felt comfortable. This was where all things made sense. It was as if I had been born with some deeply embedded code or manual for my own self that made no sense when viewed through the lenses of others, and so for that reason I distrusted it. It wasn’t until much later that I got over the anxiety of that and began to follow the magnetic pull of that compass I had always sensed in the background. The opposite of what I expected happened; that comfortable inner space actually began to build itself before my eyes in my external life. On the other side of the great divide were the diagnoses, labels, opinions and theories of others. I lived on this side for way too long, simply because I thought I was being responsible. It didn’t matter how bleak and barren it was, or how strongly I felt the call to come home, to cross the divide deep within my soul and live in the colorful gardens of chaos that only made sense to me.
There should be a word for a person who is placed in your life through random situation that you will not get to know beyond these brief moments, who mentions something seemingly of no consequence, something totally unrelated to you, and of no interest to you directly, yet the impact of this tiny data packet causes time to suddenly stretch out in slow motion like gooey caramel between the contact surfaces of one moment to the next, and suddenly you realize whatever they just said has explained something within yourself that you didn’t previously have language for, or has unlocked a doorway in the meandering halls of your existence so that you may climb up slightly higher, gaining a slightly broader understanding of the structure that contains you, structure which you can only narrowly call your Life, because there is no other term for the journey you take on this strange planet along with all of the lessons you learn, and wisdom you acquire, the arc of feelings that are carved into you, and the experiences and memories you collect.
It is these people, whom there is no word for, have been the greatest teachers, healers, therapists of my life. These people and these collisions have had more effect on me than anyone I have ever paid for their expertise.
Lately this effect has been amplified, in the sense that it is much more frequent and these people are coming into my life in a sequence that I can only explain as threaded together by a mysterious twine of magic. Maybe it is because I have stopped searching for answers. Stopped looking for meaning in everything and everyone like a neurotic squirrel frantically digging for acorns. That used to be a very anxious place, where the moment gets lost in its entirety, trying to find meaning and squeeze value out of every circumstance. Now it’s more like I lay back and float and enjoy the warm water, watching the puffy clouds and if one happens to takes shape into something that makes my heart smile, then so be it.
And so I think because of this shift, that the speed at which I have been overcoming my personalized set of soul obstacles has increased (the things that cause me great suffering- the things I just somewhere know I was meant to free myself from in this lifetime with such certainty that at times its all I secretly really care about). By loosening my grip, not trying to direct or control anything at all besides my focus on each passing moment. By not exhaustively trying to move forward, which at many times merely translated to fighting currents, instead submitting to the flow of life.
I recently spent 5 hours sitting next to a man on a plane just talking about nothing, not caring if I advanced myself in anyway, just enjoying the meandering conversation, the little peek through a window of someone else’s life. Giggling internally at the difference in myself between the old me, frantic squirrel digging for nuts and feeling hated by the universe when I came up with empty shells, to now- breathing, simply enjoying the clouds go by no agenda… Not desperate to be saved by some golden bit of wisdom. He told me about the mantis shrimp and how it possesses a blunt club which gives it the ability to smash clam shells to smithereens despite the pressure of the deep ocean. He told me how much radiation is in a banana, which is about half as much as sleeping next to someone. He said I a word I didn’t know… And so instead of my old self- nodding and labeling it irrelevant and letting him go on without me really being there, I asked what it meant. Capacitive… The ability to collect and hold a charge. He had said it in the context of the iPhone screen vs the outdated technology in the touch screen in the backs of our Delta seats. And in that moment time slowed down almost to a halt as I felt it stretch out like that gooey caramel. Some people are capacitive, I realized. More importantly, I am capacitive. Everything that happens, every person I pass, every single thing I experience, no matter how insignificant generates electricity which I feel and hold internally until I somehow manage to internally dissolve it. It is often tremendous tension. It is sometimes falling into an abyss of horrors and sadness; it is sometimes a tremendous wave of joy. It is feeling the true impact of precious moment in all its true colors, dark and light.
More importantly, up until that very moment- it was always fighting and fearing this because I had only been given language for the dark side.