Ok, I am done with my rant. Thank you for letting me share. I feel better.
What ranting yesterday gave me was an outlet and also a link to something that I think has been floating just beneath the surface of my awareness. I think I have been feeling...a little off.
Off, like just a few degrees. Everything is the same, yet nothing is the same. The kids are going back to school as usual except that nothing is usual. Work is still moving forward, people are getting divorced and there are still trials but none of it is usual. It is all the same and completely different at the same time.
It is hot. Finally and completely hot as hell. I don’t like it.
So everything is the same but now altered. Off, a few degrees but still off. If a boat or a plane is a few degrees off course, they land in a completely different place, so with us. We land in this new place of familiarly different or differently same. It is weird. It is off-putting and it is hard on this level that lies just below the collective consciousness of us all.
Everything is different yet similar enough to how it was before that it all feels some how ok but not.
There is this duality. It is not new, it has been there all the time. For sure. But now we are all seeing it. Feeling it. Experiencing it in new yet familiar ways. We are doing the same things but with new parameters and new eyes...it is all new and different yet it is all the same.
In truth, it has always been like this. This same differentness. Life is this amazing boring routine of amazing events that can put us to sleep or wake us up. Whether we notice that every breath is the same AND different is totally and completely up to us. Every breath has the same components: air going in, air going out. But if we are not healthy, have the virus or are fighting a cold, our effort to get that breath in and out is completely different. If we are healthy and free of illness, the breath slips in and out without our notice...unless we intentionally pay attention to it.
This different sameness is ok with me. I can see that it was this way before the entire world changed, but I just didn’t see it as often. Or at least I was not able to share my experience of it with so many people because often I found that when I tried to talk about it, no one really seemed to hear me or understand what I was talking about...that is not everyone for sure but there were many times I had a conversation (or tried to) with a person who just stared at me blankly while I attempted to explain to them how much I could see the coming together and falling apart of everything all the time. I could see that every minute was the same and different...now we all know.
To me this is overall a good thing. We all now have a platform to discuss the inherent duality of existence with each other. We all have one common experience that has leveled the playing field so that we all can speak to each other about this different sameness that is no longer a backdrop thing, it is front and center in our lives every day. We can talk about it and how living with it in the spotlight, affects us and helps us and hurts us and confuses us and leaves us all feeling just a little off.
I think it is fair to say that we are all going to end up in some different place. We are all off course. And for some of us, that has been a very hard course. For others, this new trajectory has been wonderful and full of amazing things that were not possible a few months ago. I guess what I am trying to say is that we are all on this journey together and we all take our turn in the shade and the sun...just like before. We just have all arrived on the same platform at the same time and so we have a new shared experience to be able to discuss it all.
For the most part, I like the different sameness. I see it and know that there is really very little I can do to change it. And like before, I need to make sure that I am taking care of myself because anything new, even if it is overall positive, causes me to be stressed and challenged in new ways.
I need to realize that what I have really lost, what we all have lost is the comfort of delusion. We all now are suffering from the pain of clear seeing...or clearer seeing. Before the pandemic, we were all kind of lulling ourselves into this idea that life was predictable. It wasn’t, never has been. But we all got pretty good at believing that delusion. We shared it and participated in it together. But life has never been predictable except perhaps in its unpredictability. Every day we wake and we think we know what is going to happen...every day we are right and wrong. But we get it right often enough that we can come to believe that we know what will happen. Thus the shared delusion that life is tidy, predictable and known.
But life is never that way. We get up every day...well some do, some don’t. Some of us don’t make it through the night. There are car accidents, murders, ends of long protracted illnesses...there are many of us that go to bed and never wake again. Then there are those of us, lucky enough to meets the sun that will never again see the darkness. Something or someone will remove our ability to make it to the end of this day. And none of us knows who that is going to be. Oh, we gather facts and information and weave that into a storyline that is totally believable so that we THINK that we know how the day is going to unfold...we THINK we know what our lives are going to give us in this new day. But in truth, the inescapable and terrifying truth, is that not one of us knows and we never have and we never will.
For me, this can be a terrifying thought, especially for a control freak like me. But I find myself having to make a choice: either to continue to flail about trying to control the uncontrollable, or to just allow life to come at me in whatever form it takes. I can resist and fight and make up stories to try to alter the course of my life and yours but in the end I lack true power to really accomplish anything at all...when my time is up, it is up and there isn’t anything I can do about it. And neither can you.
This can be the worst possible reality for us all but the pandemic has taught me in a new way that it is also the best. Because it has reduced my life to the moment. This one right here. This is all I truly have. I can tell stories about it, make up stuff to make me feel better and safer but in the end, I am just here in this moment, typing these words onto my screen and I have absolutely no fucking idea what is going to happen next. My first reaction to that is terror, but when I breathe into the terror, just on the otherside of it, I find immense freedom. It matters not what I do today at 3 pm. It matters not if I make it to see the sunset. It matters what I do right now with all my different sameness. This is the only thing that has ever really mattered, I just got it wrong for a very long time.
So my wish for us all today is that we be able to, for just a moment, to embrace the difference sameness of just one moment. It all starts and ends right there with the now. The now is always differently same and that is how it will always be. I am going to go embrace what comes next and try to just allow the differentness of my sameness to enhance rather than undercut my sanity. Namaste.