“When my friends began to have babies and I came to comprehend the heroic labor it takes to keep one alive, the constant exhausting tending of a being who can do nothing and demands everything, I realized that my mother had done all of these things for me before I remembered. I was fed; I was washed; I was clothed; I was taught to speak and given a thousand other things, over and over again, hourly, daily, for years. She gave me everything before she gave me nothing.”
― Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
Definition from the cover of:
n. 1. A state of unselfconscious engagement with our surroundings 2. An exalted zone of transcendence over time 3. A state of optimal creative capacity
Diane Ackerman is one of my favorite authors — if you’ve never read her book A Natural History of the Senses, then I suggest you skedaddle to the nearest library and check it out. It is exquisite, particularly when she writes about our sense of smell and our sense of touch, how/why certain customs and words evolved and so on.
The Zookeeper’s Wife is another good one. The latest I’m reading is Deep Play, and so much of it resonates with me on so many levels. My sense of place, my self-definition and the themes I encounter in my daily life — it’s like all of us on this planet really are pulsating to the same rhythm, at different times and sometimes the same time. One breath, one voice, one consciousness. Blows me away. I believe it’s a vibration we’re unconsciously aware of on a subliminal level when we engage in deep play,alone and in community. And the deeper we go in our play, the more in tune with others we seem to become.
More intuitive and sensitive to the subtle nuances and layers of meaning in our everyday language, geography, and encounters, more in touch with our essential spirits — that spirit that transcends time, space and our bodies. It can be scary and exhilarating simultaneously.
A state of heightened attention because we are so in the zone. Riding that Big Kahuna.
This morning was the first I woke up to in a long time and remembered to say “rabbit, rabbit” before anything else…Wrote in my journal that I love October, it’s the month of my firstborn’s birthday — then my daughter text messaged me before 8 am with…”Rabbit Rabbit!” Those are the moments that make life sweet.
I know I have to move on with my life as my children move on with theirs but it is a slow process for me. I can only do it in my own time. I had my children young and tend to gravitate towards women with children still.
I delight when I find someone who’s childless by choice, or who has older children though. It gives me hope that there is life beyond motherhood. I know that, but still I think some of us women so loved our children, their childhoods, the magic, the wonder, the luck at getting to experience childhood all over again through our child’s eyes (because how many of us truly remember the giddiness of our first tumbling steps?), that it’s very hard to let go.
So the trick for me is continuing to capture that wonder through my own eyes, hope that my children will never lose the capacity to experience it in their eyes, and continue sharing the wonder with whomever understands what it is I’m talking about.
Sometimes if you want a relationship with someone badly enough, perhaps you have to settle for it on their terms, so long as it doesn’t mean allowing yourself to get beat up. This is how it is with my mother. I can’t totally shut her out of my life and yet her toxicity has had a huge affect on my life. I don’t want to blame, but I do want to break free and live a life of joy and wonder. But how do I find that life? I am still searching. In the meantime, I think I do not want to have regrets when my mother is gone — regrets that I could have done more, visited her more, called her more. I’ve tried at one time or another, and I have had some good memories with my mom, but there is also a lingering melancholy that persists and sometimes it drowns me. I want joy and wonder. I am not sure where to look for it. But this is how I feel today. Tomorrow I meet my childhood girlfriend and the sun is supposed to shine. And that is one place I will find that joy.