24 September 2010

So What Are You Gonna Do?

After 3 and a half days in bed as a vigorous cold made it's way through my system, I am recovered enough to wander as far as the front porch for a cigarette. A little while ago, blowing smoke rings and watching the moon rise and stars blink on, I noticed a numb tingling in my left foot.

"I'm done!" I said aloud to the listening night. "I quit." I knew without a moment's consideration that the tingling was one more firm but gentle entreaty from my body to give up cigarettes.

A major psychological turning has been underway in my life since completing the Landmark Forum and attending the NonViolent Communication Diversity Retreat. Until the cold struck on Monday, I had enjoyed almost two months of exceptional mental, spiritual and physical vitality. Dreaming and motivated to take steps to bring dreams into reality. New piano music compositions, designing a brochure, initiating process to launch a website, into the studio to make a demo recording, facilitating workshops and presenting/performing for Sunday morning UU gatherings.

The fresh energy of this time is notable for the freedom I feel in it. I'm busy but not for the money or to "look busy"; everything I'm doing is motivated by inner curiosity, inspiration, gratitude or recognition of the incomplete places in the world, places where the world is waiting for me.

At last, life feels possible. I appreciate the simple miracle and unfettered potential of my existence -- not as a caption on a card from a Daily Affirmations deck that I chant with morning coffee and hope that it sticks. More like a fundamental, essential awareness that my life is a paradox, its unfolding shaped as much by mysteries beyond my control as by the choices I make. It's amazing. And also, it just is. I cannot predict tomorrow AND I create tomorrow.

I don't need an Affirmation card to remind me. I can't forget it now. It's in my bones. In my dreams.

Last night I dreamed I was seated in some kind of auditorium with the seats spaced in a comfortable if unorthodox arrangement. I was there with other people; no one I recognized. I was happy. My smile was a warm, bright glow. My mouth was open. Suddenly and very quickly, the entire space became a vacuum and it felt like my lungs, veins and arteries, ear canals, intestinal tract, and every cell of my body was sucked clean.

The uptake lasted perhaps 3 seconds but even before it ended my mind was singing: "The smoke is gone!"

Something out of my control could happen to interrupt my smoking habit. Life is mystery and surprise. In the part of my life that I control, I could choose to stop smoking before Mystery stops me. In the future that I am envisioning and creating, I am not tethered to an oxygen machine or bound to a wheelchair with one leg amputated.

I "get it" more clearly than ever now that I am really here, in a fragile, nonrefundable, nonrenewable body; that what I put in this body, what I subject it to is governed by cause and effect.

I get to make choices and I get to experience the effects of the causes I create.

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