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For One Thing Leads to Another...

Minute by minute, hour after hour, a seamless stretch and expanse of time, each moment latched onto the next, a delicate chain of life...lived in increments so tiny, we barely notice. Breaths. Lungs, beautiful baskets of life, stretched in and out, over and over, connecting the fibrous sinews of life and death, woven together, landing, eventually, very eventually if you are lucky, into a life well lived.


But we don’t, live a life well lived. Each of us, many regrets, things unsaid or said too vehemently, or too often. The things we did and wish we did. The stuff that we failed to notice, the people who were worth our time and attention that we failed to meet with an appropriate level of tenacity and heart.


There are the moments betwixt one thing and the other. Time in between, it is just a moment, a tiny faltering of breath, barely detectable. Beneath the notice of someone busy with too much life, while failing to notice there is not really ever enough. Time that is glossed over, connections too brief to land squarely and with soul. Opportunities, missed, or glanced off.


If there is one thing that I have failed, repeatedly to notice is the filament of the breath that stretches between me and God and you. Always you. The older I get the more acutely aware I am the the tendrils that connect me to God, grow stronger, while my need and wish for closeness to you becomes more and more foreign. It isn’t that I don’t need you, I do. But my ability to connect and make that lasting, seemingly interrupted by my incessant need to talk to God. And then to listen for reply. It doesn’t come quickly or really ever in the manner that I might hope for. Always missing or rather misinterpreting love for something else altogether. Misguided in my quest and lost on the shores of the traumas survived. Wanting to be different yet the same, struggling to find my way.


A relationship that just began is ending, or perhaps just changing, a daily familiar person has now become an absent ghost, how easy it is to miss the signs, to fail to notice the slippage, because you just don’t want to see it. It isn’t surprising or even shocking, in fact, I have been waiting for it. For my part, born out of frustrated loneliness and too much solitude has hardened into a selfishness that defies inventory at times. I see only what is present, and that what I want and need so close, that it feels mine for the taking. It was not.

I do not know if there will ever be a time when I do no succumb to the selfishness of being wanted or desired. Will I be dead then? Will I wish to be? So many tangled failures, that seem to add up to a strong argument to just stop trying. But I can’t. I need the connection, much like I need air. The people in my life so worth the effort of my stretching myself towards growth, and change, and light. Willingness to bear the uncomfortability of my own insistence, impatience and fear.

I did it wrong again. I have injured another inadvertently but from the same source as many others. Always willing to give, but always hoping to receive also. Never really ever getting that balance right.


Cast toward the periphery again, unsure, stable, ok with the hard shove but confused and not at the very same time.


Adoration shrinks in fear’s ugly shadow, it cannot live there. It runs like a frightened child towards the safe harbor of a comforting skirt, a loving embrace, a distraction that seems, at least first blush, innocuous.


I am grappling with my part. I see it, and it is not attractive. I do not like it, but it seems yet again, I was powerless to do it differently. So I begin again, renewed in my conviction that I shall do it differently next time, but feeling the twinge of panic that is contained, barely.


One thing always leads to another...


What I have stubbornly refused to see is that I am never in charge of what comes next. Oh, I can make shit happen, to be clear. But those are perhaps not the somethings that are right and true. They are not governed by principle and logic, not those, instead born out of grotesque need and want and desire and instincts unmet and unbridled.


I sit by the ocean, allowing the ebb and flow of the timeless waves to take away my doubt and fear and bring me a new reminder that all that glitters is so rarely gold. And I wonder if I shall ever really believe that truth.

It is windy and the reeds at my feet vibrate in the strong head wind. Dancing for me, showing me that roots are good things to tether you in place, should that be what you so desire. But unlike the reeds, I have a choice in where I am planted, where I take up residence. And also very un-reed like, I wonder why I always choose a path that is so fraught with challenge, and obstacle, and pain.


I watch the seabirds fly above the waves, soaring out over the open ocean, gliding across the wind in effortless grace and style. I watch the errant whitecap threaten the tranquility of their passage. And I see that they are indeed one thing leading to another.


I am grappling with myself again which is where I always seem to be, new stuff, old stuff, stuff stuff. Watching myself attempt with renewed resolve to do this differently. To adore and love, first myself then others, giving until the giving feels like receiving.


I cannot blame the other person. I have done what they have done, likely for the same reasons. And I hold no ill will or grudge. I have only love and kindness and feelings that I do not know what to do with. So I bring them to the ocean’s edge, allowing them the sea air, a breeze to carry them from me and take them where they might be spared the harrowing existence that resides within my head.


I watch my shirt flap in the breeze, blowing to remind me of my own presence, the wind not strong enough to carry me away, but not so weak that I forget that it could.


Surrounded by the power of things, one thing leading to another. Feeling caught, restrained within the moment in-between what comes next and what is right now. I am oddly not afraid. I wipe the tear away, this time there is only one, a solitary salty droplet that seems to need to find its way back to the mother sea. I know not who I shed it for, perhaps for me, perhaps the other, perhaps all of the others, perhaps the couple hugging on the beach who is likely currently reprieved from such hard relating.


I know that I am fine. I am here. Loving and living this life. In my best manner which is often quite below even my own standards. Afraid of the judgment of others, but more brought up short by my own condemnation for all that I am, all that I could have been and all that I, despite years of effort, am not.


Time marches on. Waves crash or lap the shore. Birds ride the tidal winds, completely immersed in their one thing leading to another.


As am I. I feel it in my skin, in the pit of my stomach where all my fear resides. And I tilt my head back, raise my face to the sun and agree to a compromise of spirit. I will continue to adore, regardless of reason or reciprocity, but solely because I believe we each deserve something better from me than fear based machinations that serve only to disconnect us both from this current, this wavelength of life that is the incessant, unrelenting one thing leading to another. We must not be waylaid, not now, not yet. Adoration’s costs, come with growth and pain. Moving me onto the next thing, the one thing that always and forever leads to something else.


"For one thing leads to another.

Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot

Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in."

Mary Oliver




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