So in the afternoon light of December, through the grace of the endings and death that permeate the cool air and dangle on skeletal limbs, forgive yourself. Make your peace.
On Saturday night, before I had read this beautiful poem, yet unabashedly and in veracity nonetheless, I let my body break open like a bottle thrown against concrete with the weight of years in it. In my car a simple song about love came on, nothing incredibly profound. The red and white lights of cars on the freeway in the darkness of our winter 6pm and while singing with every part of my being I just sobbed like I was drinking water after walking in the hot dry sun for days. I’ve never felt such a torrent of anger, sadness, frustration, and emotion flood from my body before and had it feel so good. In every corner of my body I felt energy swirling and flowing. What a rush of sound and sense. Today was two days later and I still felt the after effects of the crying, the hollow-full-sound of windchimes in my torso, and a physical sense of space. Things cleared away, breathe returning to all those neglected spaces where I hid pains I didn’t know how to express, or even how to feel.
I came home the next afternoon from a hike in Tilden and my new neighbors were staining some pine boards for a dining room table with a mixture of wine and coffee. In the rain, which seemed entirely normal to me. We drank mimosa’s out of mugs at 3:47 pm Sunday and wiped the wood with beeswax and old t-shirts. Then we made dinner together and laughed our heads off for hours, and laughed more fully, with more of my entirety, than I have in awhile. I loved it.
In the crying was a joy, in the laughing was a sadness. I feel like that makes each sound restrained or conflicted, but that just wasn’t what it felt like for me. The only way I can describe it is to say that each felt thoroughly like coming home, or landing home as though dropped from the sky, ravenous for simply of encountering life.
The wild and free part is how completely I’ve let go of how this impacts others. I think I may have freaked my mom out a little when I called her that night, she seemed to steady herself when she heard the pitch of my voice. It’s hard for people to deal with intense uncontrolled emotion, but it seems to me that the barrier we construct to protect others from our emotions ends up damaging us. We package it in words and tones that will assure others that we aren’t losing it. But what if you need to loose it for a minute or an hour or a day? What do those wild things do inside of us when we store them for convenience or the comfort of others; accumulate, rot and stiffen, tear around, freeze and numb. Those torrents of feeling are windows into pure soul, they are experiences of humanity in a raw state that seems so rare these days, they can be moments of unmasked living. I don’t know if it is possible to live like this all the time, but for me in embracing myself and following these emotional flows without hesitation I felt really free and alive.
What does it mean? I don’t know. In truth nothing has been as I thought it would be recently. People who I thought were long gone in my life have reappeared, with love in their hearts, open and ready to move forward with me into stronger and more complex relationships that reflect our shared history, the struggle to do what’s right and keep the connections that matter to us. These experiences have permeated my life with grace. Other people who I thought I knew well acted in ways that momentarily confounded me. This week the play of both these types of interactions caught my attention. But there is no conclusion except that as I grow older I see that more and more endings that seem complete can be temporary, love can die back and grow anew, and the only crime perhaps truly unforgiveable is to not leave room in your heart for interplay, shift and impermanence in regards to human emotion. And when I say unforgiveable, I suppose I mean it for our own hearts, not in the eyes of others. It’s when we stop living with veracity and love, when we shut off the possibility of change, transcendance, growth, and forgiveness, that our hearts truly harden and we stop noticing the opening shifts of heart that subtly take place as we move away from past hurts towards the healing that our psyches will orchestrate if we only leave the space for the change.
I’m living my life in a slow yet heated pursuit of freedom.