[There is no doubt about it – this one meanders a bit. I do have hopes that some day I shall emerge from this malaise of the heart. Until such time I shall continue to, as Natalie Goldberg once said to me, “write the story that is inside your heart.”]
You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.
What is meaningful to you right now?
I am borrowing this writing prompt from Jamie Ridler who posed the question in her BtS (Behind The Scenes) video this morning on Facebook and it is in fact a very pertinent question.
I find that I am still struggling with the loss of Laureen. This feeling seems to come and go in waves and right now it is coming on rather strong although to outward appearances it might not be so obvious. As I was driving home last night I could hear her words ringing in my ears – “Who will worry about you when you are driving home from work at night? Who will be there to greet you as you walk in the door?”
The answer is, “No one”. It’s really that simple.
It is no wonder that I run around doing all the things that I do. Better that then to face the bleak desolation that my life has become. Outwardly, I smile. Inwardly, I am empty. I don’t know if I stuffed the pain down so deep that even I can’t find it anymore. Or maybe it’s one of those “parts” things that Dorie is trying to teach us about? I can’t say. I can only say that every now and then, for as well as people are fond of telling me I’m doing, I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m not doing nearly so well as I’ve led people, including myself, to believe.
It happened again to me today. I went to the dentist at noon for an appointment to have my teeth cleaned. And I’m sitting in the chair and I am thinking back to how Laureen had decided, many years ago, that the dentist she had liked for so long was no longer on the path of light. And that’s really the best way to describe it. With Laureen, there weren’t too many shades of grey. You were either on the path of light, or you weren’t. And she decided that her dentist had flipped over to the other side. Honestly, we both understood why. I think our dentist had caught her husband cheating. A divorce followed. But she swallowed her anger and beyond that, she probably also buried the idea that she was not good enough – that her husband had cheated on her because she was too old, not pretty, name your scenario. . . or just lump them all together. So, what happens when you swallow that stuff? Well, you may think that you are still the same person, but you aren’t. And sooner or later it starts to ooze out and you start doing things that you would never have done before.
And so we saw it in the way she ran her practice. Now I always felt that Laureen was a hyper-sensitive – the proverbial canary in the cave. She simply could not be around that kind of energy. It would diminish her own energy to the point of making her physically ill. So she simply stopped going to that dentist. Meanwhile, I continued to go because there was nowhere else to go.
Well, a few years later Laureen finally found a new dentist for us. She didn’t announce this to me right away. But when I developed the need (an immediate one at that) for a root canal, she directed me to our new dentist. I guess I was to be the test subject to see how our new dentist performed under pressure. Well, she performed excellently and then Laureen knew that it was safe for herself to see this dentist too.
And so all of this passed through my mind in a matter of 20 seconds or so today as I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, practicing a gentle meditation while the hygienist picked at my teeth with sharp metal objects. This was the dentist that Laureen had handpicked for the both of us. And it was not lost on me that I am in this particular chair at this particular moment because this is what Laureen set in motion for us. Even though she has been gone a year and a half, she still reaches out and touches my life.
And none of this is answering the question that I opened this journal entry with – What is meaningful to you (me) right now?
A part of me wants to say, “nothing”. My life has lost all meaning and I am just floating along, waiting for things to conclude. . .
And just now, just as I was ramping up to go really deep into my forlornness, someone came into my office and asked me to sign a few checks. An interesting coincidence – I don’t think that this particular person has ever been in my office before – not in the ten years that I’ve been here. But she plays the flute. And she saw the half dozen or so native American flutes that I have scattered around my office and we started to talk about that. It turns out she is part native – Abenaki. One of my old flute-making friends was also Abenaki. I think about him from time to time.
Anyhow, we talked about the flutes and her heritage for a while. And so, from wanting to say nothing, or go deep into my misery, I realize that there are things that are important to me. So did Laureen send a little messenger to me just as I was about to dive deep into my tortured soul, so that she might remind me of the passions that I do have in my life? I see you, my love. . . all around me, tweaking things by just the tiniest bit so that you might make yourself known to me. You matter to me. You are meaningful to me. You gave my life meaning. I realize that this is not what the spiritualists want us to believe. They would say that our lives are inherently and intrinsically meaningful in and of themselves. But it is only through other people that our lives take on a perspective, are given context. So then, let us agree to say that you gave my life focus and purpose and I had never been so focused in all of my life as I was when I was with you.
Is it any wonder then that my life feels devoid of purpose now?