Choices

Sometimes I am struggling to get the lid on the food storage containers and not so successful. Maybe it’s the incorrect lid for this bottom; maybe it’s the correct one and I’m trying desperately to jam it on there upside-down.

And I think back to how my high school aptitude testing results said I should be an airplane mechanic. Professionally speaking, I have been: a mall elf. a study skills instructor. a children’s theater performer. a tour guide. a button store cashier. an IT call center rep. an instructional designer. a piano teacher.

But I have not been: an airplane mechanic. Determinedly trying to jam those lids on, I think, perhaps, that following that suggested career path might not have ended well for any us.

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Releasing it

“Should we bring it to the park near the river up here?”

“Yeah. I gotta pee soon.”

We have a live vole in an Amazon box in the car. A vole or a mole. Which is which? I can never remember.

Gotta drive it at least a mile from your house, they say. Otherwise it finds its way back, they say.

When I tire of seeing beautiful trees and green hills out the window, I review my hands.

In that acting class in college my classmates often criticized how I use my arms onstage. The complaints came in two flavors: 1) you swing your arms around like an ape; 2) you clench your arms at your sides, like logs.

Tonight, in my lap, I have one of each: a log and an ape arm. They just never felt like mine, is all. I only paid attention to the words, the words coming out. Halfway through an acting scene I’d remember I had arms and would try to make them do something normal but gave up when it got too distracting.

I think about how today I realized there are two words – synonyms – with the same ending but their beginnings are opposites. PROfess. CONfess.

 

“Do you want me to release it? Or do you want to?”

“Whichever.”

He takes the box. I watch him walk with it a little ways into the woodsy part. Opens the lid, tips out the mole. I watch him watch it scurry away.

I think: it would be kind of funny if I left him off a mile from home, like the vole. I could slide over, start the car and head off. Funny. For me.

Why have I thought this? Is it for things he has done, or hasn’t done? Is it because I’m tired of feeling smaller and meaner lately when I’m with him? Or is it just to see how his face would look as I drive away? I bet many things are secretly done in this life just to see what someone’s face will look like.

 

We

The questions we ask mostly boil down to:

Why am I suffering?
Am I suffering?
Why

am

I?

“We ask.” Pfft. Why do I speak as we?

“I” ask.

 

It’s hard to know when to stop peeling back the layers.

Protection

A secret, she said, is this:

If you are about to ask a question, and you realize that all of the responses will be wretched, just do not ask it.

Get up and walk away. Even if you are in a small boat: find a way to go.

It will always have been better not to know. Vague dread will not wake you in the night like a pointy inevitability. Choke the Oracle and free yourself.

Daunt

Always they show the bedraggled hero continue to fight, long past logic, though the odds of success are so small. She may sound her war whoop and run toward danger, or she may have a twinkle in her eye as her fingers fly, decoding the seemingly un-decodable. Her spirit is undaunted.

“No!” I will shout, looking about for something to thump. “That’s not how it is!”

They won’t show her turning away, overshadowed by fear and reeking of doubt. Falling to her knees then listing impossibly slowly until she is on her side, motionless. She lies pinned to the curb like another forgotten specimen stabbed through the thorax.

This is the show I never see. Maybe they can’t make that show. Maybe we cannot watch it.

 

“…And no one talks about when one might stop and need to rest
Or how long you sit alone before you stop looking back 
It’s like you’re waiting for Godot 
And then you pick your sorry ass up off the street and go . . .
And what the hell is this? Who made this bloody mess? 
And someone always answers like a martyr 
Is it something you should know, did you never do your best 
Would you be saved if you were brave and just tried harder?”

 

If I Were Brave, by Shawn Colvin

The Priestess

A few nights ago, I had a very intense, vivid dream that I believe contains a message to be uncovered.

In the dream I was older, in my 60’s perhaps, and was teaching a series of cooking classes (a laugh, since I rarely cook). It was the evening of the final class and the students and I were cooking a meal together in my home.

A young woman was there and I walked by her, then stopped in my tracks.

“I see in you The Priestess,” I told her.

I felt it was very important that she know this. She laughed it off, sort of snorted.

Very earnestly, I took her arm and said,

“My seeing is not just of the past and the future. It is also the seeing of what is inside the heart.”

She pondered this and decided it must mean that her true nature aligns with what The Priestess symbolizes, and acknowledged that she felt it is true.

It was very striking and the dream conversation kept leaking into my mind during the following days. I’d like to do some research on the symbology of The Priestess (although, given that this all came up during a dream, it’s possible that the lesson or meaning of it can only come from my own experiences or looking within).

From what I’ve read online a bit so far, The Priestess (especially the High Priestess, of Tarot decks) is associated with wisdom, spiritual enlightenment, and intuition. She uses her knowledge of the Universe to teach rather than in trying to control others.

My daughter and best friend both believe that in the dream, an older version of me was trying to convey a message to a younger version of me (my daughter favors a time travel theory). If so, what does the message mean? Who/what is The Priestess in my life? Is it related to my new pursuit of learning and receiving Reiki (more on that in another post…)

Capture2

The High Priestess

Heroes

The Grinch.
The Prodigal Son.
Scrooge.

What do these fellows have in common? For one thing, these central characters all behave in a way that goes against what their peers consider socially acceptable.

“At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge, … it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.” – A Christmas Carol

 

“Santie Claus, why? Why are you taking our Christmas tree? Why?” – How the Grinch Stole Christmas

They may not be considered out-and-out villains, but they’re seen as misbehavers at the very least. Then, they all have dramatic transformations of their core personalities and perspectives, and afterward are enthusiastically welcomed into the fold.

Those I was always more curious about in these stories are people like the gentler Whos in Whoville around the table at the big feast. They perhaps never experienced an extreme change, but certainly many have tried all their lives to do the right thing. They’ve had quiet struggles – because anyone trying to do the right thing will sometimes struggle with it – and they’ve mostly succeeded. What of their stories? I think most of us are like these folks in the background – no showy celebrations for our small wins. Who’s our character to rally behind?

I understand the need for a big redemption in order to add interest and drama to a plot. The endings of these three fellows’ stories are quite satisfying, if you don’t overthink like I do. Maybe the main takeaway is that us quieter, small-win folks can see that, if seemingly wretched folks like those dudes can soften their hearts and choose a better path, well, so can we.

We may all have latent heroes quiet or otherwise inside of us; but a villain waits there too.

What is a hero, really, but a villain that struggled and succeeded?