23 August 2014

Returning to Myself


I woke up with these words in my head and on my lips:

So now I am returning to myself, these things that you and I suppressed...

Somewhat surprised to discover I have somehow failed to include the full lyrics and recording of the song that includes that line -- "Hejira" from Joni's 1976 album of the same name -- on this blog previously. It is a big song for me; extremely high personal resonance with the sentiments and ideas expressed in the lyric. One of those songs that knocked me off my feet when I first heard it because of the specific way it fit my life at the time.

Almost 40 years later, it still fits like custom-made gloves.

There's comfort in melancholy
When there's no need to explain
It's just as natural as the weather
I see something of myself in everyone...
You know it never has been easy
Whether you do or you do not resign
Whether you travel the breadth of extremities
Or stick to some straighter line

I seem to turn the same corners over and over again in my life. The same realizations dawn with blinding brilliance repeatedly. Over and over, I learn that my life is mine...that nothing is permanent...that life is short. I forget, then remember, that breath and death are the only remotely non-negotiable aspects of existence.

Those of us who were brought up properly bear the weight of responsibility and obligation like a ship's anchor. I forget, then remember, that anchors must be pulled up when it is time to move forward. I stand at the bow of my life ship today, facing the horizon and ready to sail. It is time to weigh anchor. While the anchor rests on the sea floor, assessment of here and now is possible. "Ah, here I am. Here's what I have...here's what's been lost. This sustains me and this can be tossed overboard -- don't need it any more."

 Sometimes it seems safest to remain anchored, to stay in a place -- metaphorically or literally -- that we know well. There is a kind of comfort in familiarity. We might even delude ourselves and believe that we have control while we are in a place whose contours and colors and cycles have become predictable and old-hat for us. "I'm safe now. Nothing can get me here. I know this place."

But it is an illusion. It is impossible to be both in the ever-changing World and protected from change
at the same time.

I am hoisting the anchor to "return to myself." I embrace two readings of the phrase:  coming back to myself after wandering far afield AND reclaiming abandoned or sacrificed essentials.

Revitalizing Holly Springs MS is not my mission. I relinquish all attachment to that goal now and return to myself.

Joining the community of warriors against racism and injustice is not my mission. I relinquish all attachment to that goal now and return to myself.

My mission is the nurturing and advancement of the evolution of consciousness -- my own and others. I return.

I am not committed to building a personal and professional network of human resources to facilitate the blossoming of my "career." This will doubtless happen, peripheral to pursuit of the aforementioned mission but it is not a central intention.

I care about my blood family and wish them always the best that Life has to offer. And, though I have walked and talked as though I accept a responsibility to actively promote this, in truth, I do not believe I have a responsibility to promote their well-being at the expense of abandoning the path toward "awakening," to which I am unconditionally committed.

I care about my friends and wish them always the best that Life has to offer. And, though my ego has been flattered often enough by the dreams that they dream for me, in truth, it is impossible and unnatural to attempt to lend my life to the fulfillment of someone else's dream. "I am not your dream of me..." (from "Getting to Know You," my first SpotLife performance, February 2011).

Admitting to myself that I believe in prayer (sorta) the other day ("Thinking It Matters") felt like "coming out." I'm having a similar experience with the present "returning to myself" post.

It is both daunting and invigorating contemplating next steps, lifting my foot -- and eyes and heart -- to take up the journey from here. Beginning again....