Thursday, January 14, 2010

At the Firey Core

Yesterday, I awoke late at seven, after falling asleep early, stumbled to the couch and fell asleep again. In the afternoon, trying to write, sleep over took my scribbles again. This morning, a phone call woke me close to ten.

Anyone who knows me well knows this is not me. My thoughts are scattered, simple words difficult to retrieve, sentences cut short, wandering to a dead end. My last essay took three days, followed by a week of silence. I am only playing music with the band, not at home.

Looking around my apartment, I am dismayed by the clutter, dishes days old in the sink, groceries still in plastic on the table, clothes dropped in motion, couch-side coffee table littered with books, pads, papers, tools and debris. Hospital supplies dangle off the bathroom shelves. The fung shui could certainly contribute to my lethargy, but energy is so precious to me right now, I choose to spend it on production and collapse to regenerate.

Hours pass and it is hard to say what has been accomplished. At the end of the day, I compulsively add up plusses and minuses compared to my list of duties and give myself a poor grade. I am so trained to be accountable, this healing time is sick with disorientation.

People suggest this is an important rest before a great leap forward and I have noticed in this past year, a long day of particular frustration, restlessness and irascibility might be followed by the rush of a new song, fairly complete in a few hours. Despite so much encouragement and wishes, however, my own judgments are harsh and damaging. I find it so difficult to sit patiently and contentedly in my little dark and cluttered space, comfortable with the idea my time has come to rest and rejuvenate. Like the Jets in “West Side Story”, I want to BUST, I want to GO, but have to stay cool.

A particular friend reminds me that the first Chakra, the core, is all about security, family, stability, the confidence that we can provide for ourselves and others. It is no surprise, in that context, to recognize I should be so wounded there. After so many years of struggle in a marriage and business, the time had come to let go, accepting what could not be changed or salvaged. I came away bruised and in shock, questioning the fundamental standards of my existence and deciding I might have it all wrong.

I worked so hard to gain and keep the love of my beloved, twisting and turning, compromising my own principles, living beyond my means to win her affection and approval in order to validate my own self-worth. If I could get her to love me, I believed, I would be okay. Similarly and simultaneously, my business failures mounted to such a degree any sane man would have quit and worked for someone else, but I persevered, holding on to all those predictions by so many long ago that I would succeed at whatever I chose, determined to turn the business around and around…and around again until there were no edges left and it simply rolled out of reach.

In the two years since, I have flirted with more creative pursuits, but weary of poverty, have kept returning to construction as an income, the known quantity, recognizing now that, full of optimism, I approach with still less than half a heart. Likewise, I have fallen for a woman who loves me in return, but as a brother, and all the time we spend together is sweet with affection, companionship, creative inspiration and mutual support, all the while teaching me to stand on my own and find the love within myslef to fill my hollow and aching core.

So, out of balance and stepping tentatively, of course the scaffold collapsed beneath me, rupturing the most basic functions, an injury to the very center of my being and these confused beliefs about my place in the world. The searing reality of daily pain to be healed can be no better metaphor for the disruption necessary to re-align my life on a more productive and loving path.

That I sit here so long, day after day, taking little steps and collapsing should also be no surprise. I flew too long in the face of peril to earn my lesson any less dramatically. Today, with every word scribbled on this pad and every thought arising in fits and spurts in my weary brain, my groin pulses with pinches of acknowledgement and recognition, the Chakra re-aligning to produce a healthier, happier man.

At the same time, with both feet squarely in this world, I must get off the couch to reach the stars, while making my way and earning my keep. It begins with a stretch towards the ceiling, straightening my spine and opening my chest which has been so long compressed, filling my lungs with fresh air and my heart with vital new blood.

It is a painful process, both emotionally and physically. My soul resists. My body rebels. To make significant change, I have to go deep inside, looking past the accident, beyond the business and the marriages, the young man with a diploma and the world at his feet, back to a little boy with a watering can and his simple self-chosen task, perhaps even farther back to a young man and woman, captains of the football team and cheerleaders as a war brewed around them.

One day at a time, one dirty sock off the floor, hospital supplies sorted and waste baskets emptied, order slowly gets restored. All week I gather the energy to play with my little Skatter Monkeys and make music in the evenings. Each day I try to spend a few hours around town. If this takes months of little steps and big collapses back onto the couch to ponder the tube in my belly, so be it. I will not succumb, but am determined to live a better life.

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Anonymous said...

Kip go to see you are writing. Keep at it you are so good. I wouldn't worry about the sleep, it's your body's way to heal. I'm sure you'll find as time goes on you'll need less and less of it.

All the best to you and your family.


Anonymous said...

Allow yourself the time to heal Kip, even if it means plenty of sleep. Clutter is just a minor detail and can be easily dealt with when your health is 100% again. As you say, one step at a time, one day at a time.