Friday, October 28, 2011

Me a “writer,” who after releasing words to “the public,” often has writer’s remorse. The more vulnerable the sharing, the more transparent, the greater the “What have I done?!” feelings that are likely to arise. Will this always be?

I recognize the roots of this in my childhood when I was shamed and ridiculed in school for being me, so different from the rest: the non-native English speaker of immigrant parents. The Yiddish words for things were always hovering over the English ones and often when I most needed a word, it wasn’t there in either language.

Then there were the feelings—especially the impermissible ones like anger at the teacher and my parents—that were swallowed before they could be clothed, let alone expressed, in words.

Now, I write about feelings a lot, if not predominantly. There is no obviously menacing outer authority dominating my life. But there is an inner patrol threatening me with shame for speaking up, especially in a self-revealing manner. The guards at the gate of my throat want to slurp the words back that have been carelessly released, i.e., let go as if without a care.

I have so many words lining up all the time ready to march or dance or stumble into the world. No gatekeepers manage to restrain them. But, once the words (vessels carrying my thoughts and feelings) have made their public appearance, the fear-inflated inner authorities indict the fool I have made of myself.

A nobody special blog tucked away, with zero search engine optimization and few visitors adventuring here from cyberspace, makes speaking freely like I am this moment less consequential. Hence, more fun. I still may encounter criticism (my own) of what I am writing. But in this venue (potentially public but rarely so), the inner patrol is less likely to overpower the release of my take into the world. In relative obscurity, there is a sweet spaciousness and relaxing of the guard.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Exquisite Solitude

Three nights back, I drove a half hour to an unfamiliar destination to attend a religious service. I had gotten dressed quickly, acting spontaneously on the urge to be in community rather than pray on my own.

I got lost—despite my printed, map-quest download and two locals giving me directions, which proved wrong. (When I said synagogue, they looked like they had never heard the word.) Using the street name did not help that much either.  I found the right street finally and then what appeared to be the building housing the congregants, whose cars lined all the surrounding streets.  I hunted a space to park.

Then another urge took me: the urge to keep on driving.

I told myself as I drove back the way I had come that I had chosen not to remain because of my diminishing night vision:  if it was that challenging to see in the dark at six-thirty, how would it be in two more hours?  But I knew this was not all that pulled me.

I had come that close to being social—and the moment passed.

When I got home—even before entering my sweet abode, just turning off the motor in my gravel driveway—I experienced the simple pleasure of hearing the night creatures so delightfully audible in the quiet, serene location of my farmhouse. I lingered outside awhile staring up at the moon, drinking in the deliciousness of the air, savoring the crisp, unique clarity of autumn.

I was so happy to be home.

Go figure... It’s not like I am away from here that much.  I work at home. I rarely participate in recreational and other local events, or travel, largely because of my necessarily frugal lifestyle at this time. (Although frugality is not the only reason, just like darkness was not the only reason to not park my car and join the congregation).

Why, I wondered, was I so contented to turn the key and step across the threshold?  I already knew, but it continually surprises me how true it is...

My modest farmhouse has become a sanctuary.

When I started this post, I was actually prompted by a single thought that arose the night of my escapade to the synagogue:  There are those who sip fine wines, tasting subtleties. I savor exquisite solitude. 

I relish solitude's varied fragrances, the bouquets, the aftertaste—and every aspect that comprises a unique night’s solitude. I sip, lick my lips, feel humbly grateful.

As the days and years unroll themselves, more and more I choose to live them in solitude. This surprises me and doesn’t. Occasionally, I wonder if I should question my preference.

Tonight I am on my screened porch. It is one of the last nights that it will be comfortable and not too cold to hang out on the oversized sofa that never made it through the narrow farmhouse door, and has become my summer bed.

The crickets are a considerably thinner blanket of sound than they have been throughout the lush summer. Several nights recently with the temperature dipping toward the 30’s there were no creature sounds. The call and response tonight is noticeably less populated or—what would be the right word: cricket-elated? Each night this summer, except those nights when heavy rains were louder, I have fallen asleep wrapped in boundless delight, absorbed in the crickets' chorus.

Connoisseurs of elegant wines savor each sip as it touches the palate, (I imagine, knowing nothing really about wine). I am, however, a connoisseur of exquisite solitude.  I am sipping tonight.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” - Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Address

Thank you, Steve Jobs.  You walked the talk.