The sun is shining and I am well-rested and I come to this quote.
I embrace emerging experience. I participate in discovery. I am a butterfly. I am not a butterfly collector.
- William Stafford
On this visit, I saw her integration of little girl and adult, her in between. She is exploring new roles and ways to be and I felt like I was in a cocoon of my own as we traveled and explored. It was as though we were both in that process of dissolution that gives the caterpillar wings.
I think I thought there would be an end to growth, and I continue to see there isn't. We all learned about metamorphosis as children, the stages of egg, larva, pupa, adult, and I am reading a book, Nature and the Human Soul, Cultivating Wholeness and Community in a Fragmented World by Bill Plotkin, that explores eight stages of development for the conscious human soul.
I kept feeling I was looking in a mirror and thinking back and knowing myself better through the process. No wonder I was so tired. It was an intense inner stirring and though we ate mightily while she was here, I seem now too full to eat as I digest the walls of my cocoon and form another new way of being, or perhaps it is just an accommodation of a little more. I can be little girl and adult, responsible and carefree, all at the same time. I continue to reach for fluidity even as there is a part of me that stands in some rigidity I want to kick aside.
I had more time in nature this week and also more exposure to technology. We live in a world of both and I think the following article is a fascinating look at the subject of technology as it is unfolding within each household. My friend Jane was in New Mexico this week, exploring historical, spiritual places where buildings of the past line up to acknowledge the movement of the sun, equinox and solstice. I know we are influenced by those tides and yet here we are so connected and continuing to evolve to assimilate and absorb. How do I daily and nightly honor both, all? I feel like a two year old looking around in awe.
Solitude as act: the reason no one understands solitude, or bothers to try to understand it, is that it appears to be nothing but a condition. Something one elects to undergo, like standing under a cold shower. Actually, solitude is a realization, an actualization, even a kind of creation, as well as a liberation of active forces within us, forces that are more than our own, and yet more ours that what appears to be "ours". As a mere condition, solitude can be passive, inert and basically unreal: a kind of permanent coma. One has to work at it to keep out of this condition. One has to work actively at solitude, not by putting fences around oneself but by destroying all the fences and throwing away all the disguises and getting down to the naked root of one's inmost desire, which is the desire of liberty-reality. To be free from the illusion that reality creates when one is out of right relation to it, and to be real in the freedom which reality gives when one is rightly related to it.
Thomas Merton. Learning to Love, Journals Volume 6, Christine M. Bochen, editor (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997): 320-321.
Having spent a week where it was really helpful to have cell phones and texting, I wonder how we got along before, and yet, a piece of me longs for what appears in memory more peaceful and tranquil times. Perhaps because I am not as evolved technically as my family members, I do sometimes feel I am living in two worlds.
I’ve Got Mail
I wish my memory worked differently. I’d like to be able to conjure up an accurate image of my consciousness from, say, 25 years ago. You know what 25 years means: No cellphones, no e-mail, no Internet, no social networking (except with an actual drink in hand), and only the most primitive of personal computers. What I want to answer is a single question: Was I as addicted to the future then as I seem to be now?
I ask this because I really enjoy a new update to my operating system, like the one I downloaded from Apple earlier this week. I find it surprisingly pleasing when one of my iPhone apps requests an update too. Every day I await, with anticipation, a long list of e-mail messages that could arrive at any second, and there are several people I’m really eager to get a text from. Those, too, could come at any time. Soon — even now — I could find my feed-list in Google Reader delightfully stuffed with newness. I am not a Twitterer. But I know the dismay the Twitter world must have felt during its service disruption last week.
When I think back 25 years, there just wasn’t that much to be waiting for. The phone might ring — and if you left home, you had to leave without it. The mail would come, and so might UPS or Federal Express. Someone might stop by on the spur of the moment. A fax perhaps? And that was about it.
I’ve always looked forward to the mail coming. I don’t know why. And now I live in a world where the mail comes constantly, ceaselessly, a world where I find myself dismayed by the slowdown in blog feeds over the weekend. I consider myself a moderate user of personal electronics. I almost never wear earbuds. And yet this constant foretaste of the future, this hunger for the next electronic blip, feels to me like a full-blown addiction.Which is why I’d like a clearer picture of my old self. Was I a little more serene 25 years ago? Was there a little more silence inside my head? A little less expectation? Or was I leaning headlong into the future even then?
This morning felt like the first day of summer heat so I set up a bed on the deck figuring the next few nights were perfect for outdoor sleeping and viewing the meteor showers. Then, the fog blew back in, so unless it clears, no meteors this year.
I see that the author of the book I bought on Sunday is speaking at our local bookstore this Wednesday night at seven. A group to which I belong, a group for those who have had or have cancer, are invited to come at six and share some extra time with her so that will be fun. It feels synchronous that I just bought the book and now she is here.