Conversations, Reflections, Visions

Conversations With… a Stuffed Elephant…?

So, I’m sitting here, in my fevered sickbed haze, minding my own business, mulling over the revelations I’ve had today…  When suddenly I discover I’m having a “conversation.”  Not with the usual participants, mind you; no, this time it’s a small, but adorable, stuffed elephant speaking to me.

Why?  I have no idea!  I don’t even own a stuffed elephant, though I think I would want this one if I did; soft, cuddly, and pale yellow, with a lovely light floral print inside his floppy ears, and along his chest and belly…  He is sitting in a white rocking chair that is several sizes too large for him, all seriousness and sincerity.  I cannot help but laugh at the absurdity of this encounter!  (To which he takes offense, of course!)

Elephant:  You find this amusing, do you?!  Why?  Do I not fit your preconceived notions of sage wisdom?

Me:  Ummm…  Actually…  Well, of course not, you adorable creature!  But that doesn’t mean I won’t talk to you!  In fact, I’m really looking forward to it now…

Elephant:  [trying to hide a grin beneath his oversized trunk…]  And why is that?  Are you willing to take me seriously, or are you merely looking ahead to the many potential opportunities to make fun of me?

Me:  [laughing aloud…]  I don’t need to wait for such opportunities, my friend, as they are abundant and clear from the get-go!  But to answer your other questions, of course I’m willing to take you seriously, and I am grateful to have you here.  My anticipation stems from the unexpectedness of the visit, as well as the form you’ve taken; my experience tells me that such randomness, or blatant distortion of expectation, often leads to “breakthrough” moments, and that is what excites me…

Elephant:  [adjusting the round spectacles he is now wearing more comfortably across a trunk too thick to hold them…]  Well, then.  Let’s get to it, shall we?

[I can only nod, eagerly…]

Your last post had to do with the “axis of power.”  You discussed the Figure-8 Cross in terms of two intersecting paths…

[I nod, somewhat baffled by his desire to bring that up here…]

Yet the picture you later added has three (!) intersecting paths.  Was that a mistake on your part?  Or did you intend to muddy the waters that way?

Me:  Umm…  Neither, actually.  The picture was posted as an attempt to illustrate the discussion.  It just happens to be a more recent model I built (within the last decade) to help me explore the topic.  At the time I was trying to visualize how more figure-8’s (planes of activity) could be incorporated into the model, and I was having trouble doing so.  This physical model forced me to actually make the connections, but I could only physically create the three before it became a hot mess.  Still, it allowed me a little more room to expand my thought process…

Elephant:  And what did your mental model look like when all was said and done?

Me:  It becomes a sphere in the end, created of intersecting figure-8’s that each bisect the Whole.  The outer loops are what give the Sphere its curved shape…

But…  Why is this important?

Elephant:  Hmm… ? [looking up, distractedly, from the notes he has been taking…  Removing his spectacles, he taps them rhythmically against his trunk…]  A sphere, you say?  Now, that’s interesting!

Me:  [confused…]  Ok…  Why?

Elephant:  Now…  Talk to me about those trees!

Me:  The trees?!  What do they have to do with all this?

Elephant:  Well… [shifting in his seat, somewhat annoyed with me]  Indeed what?!…

Do they not possess both vertical and horizontal axis to be explored?  Do they not present a curved canopy to the outside world (more or less anyway, as their trunks hold up their tops, while their roots spread out beneath)?  Have they not been seeking to express themselves in the world in which you live?  Have they not accepted an offer of partnership in moving forward through that world?!

Hmmph!  [Shaking his head, annoyed…]

Sometimes!  I swear!…

[I can only stare at him; I have no coherent response as yet…)

Me:  So… [thoughtfully…]  Is this the point (notice I don’t use “time” here), that we acknowledge the elephant standing in the middle of the room…?

Elephant:  If you insist, of course.  Personally, I never forgot it!

[And winking at me, his image fades…]

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Essay, Reflections

A Question of Competence… or is it Commitment?

I notice these days that there are a lot of people out there “selling” belief.  I get inundated every day with emails and ads, suggestions for how to improve every aspect of my life through holistic healing, energy work, prayer, divination, spirit guidance, contemplation practices and fitness regimes.  Everyone has an angle that they guarantee will work for me.

But I’m not sure I agree…  Why?

Why can’t I embrace any of these techniques?  Why can’t I even bring myself to try them out?  Clearly my life needs healing in so many ways, and I’ve always been open to both mainstream and alternative means.  Non-judgmental.  Yep, that’s me…

Or is it?  Because I find myself discounting these believers and teachers without even attempting to test their theories.  I find myself hitting “delete” without even listening to their spiel.  Is it just a question of competency?

To be sure, times have definitely changed.  I remember, not so long ago, when “experts” in any field were judged by the length of time they had invested in an area of study, as well as by the efficacy of their results.  Anyone new to a particular field had to “earn” their stripes, so to speak.

But in this digital era of instant gratification, and You Tube, everyone becomes an “expert” by saying they are, and by earning a “following.”  An interested party does an internet search on their topic, then chooses what site(s) to visit, or what videos to watch, not so much by researching qualifications, but by the number of “hits” or “followers” that “teacher” has.  “Mob rules” defined and practiced…

But I’ve never really been a follower type, preferring to take someone’s idea or theory and research it on my own.  Always looking for flaws in reasoning or data, critical in my assessments, judging what part(s) appear to work, or not, for me.  Self-defined reality…

And I can’t honestly state which path is “better” or makes more sense in the end, because both ways have their pros and cons.  Self-definition provides flexibility and adaptability to any path or belief system, but it also prevents any commitment or benefits of dedicated practice; you basically believe or do what you want, while discarding the rest, and that rarely leads to deep knowledge or wisdom.  But mob rule, while clearly directing your practice and belief, without requiring deep contemplation, also requires you to accept a whole lot of stuff you might not normally agree with; much harm has been perpetrated by those following a path too strictly, without regard for how it may affect the lives of others…

Hmm…

I know that in these tumultuous times people are desperate for something hopeful to believe in.  I know everyone wants to feel empowered, capable and competent.  We no longer believe in the “system” to provide for our needs consistently and competently, and we are correct in questioning it; the society we knew and trusted is collapsing around us.  So spirituality has become big business, and gurus are hawking every corner.  And many are providing (and feeling) some relief.  That’s good, right?

Too bad it doesn’t feel that way.  At least to me…

I have been asked twice in the last week or so, to offer my advice/guidance in a public setting; to “teach” on topics I used to be well versed in and confident to teach.  I have refused both opportunities, claiming “incompetence” as my excuse.  I no longer feel “qualified” to offer advice, even on those topics in which I was formerly an “expert,” recognized by both “time in” and “results of.”  And I find the whole situation rather amusing; but then, I’ve always had a twisted perception of reality, and a great appreciation for irony.

The bottom line for me today is that I no longer know what is “real” or not, or what is worthy of believing anymore.  My daily life is so overrun with time inconsistencies, and “bleed-through” from other realities, that I feel like it’s one continuous, unsubstantial, channel surfing adventure.  It’s like being on one of those rides at Disney World, where you sit in a little car that takes you through different scenes, changing rapidly, each trying to capture your imagination and “feel” real, while a part of you remains focused on the hard plastic seat you’re sitting on, and the wealth of darkness framing every scene.  You want to throw yourself into it, to wholly embrace the vision before you, but that seat is so uncomfortable, and the people behind you won’t stop talking, and your stomach is growling (oh, did I forget to eat again today?), and…  well, you get the drift.

I had a dream recently…

In the dream I was one of a half dozen people or so invited to attend a special retreat.  At that retreat we were to be trained on how to “pray” for others, and to teach them how to pray for themselves.  In this case, though, “prayer” referred to the actual practice of miracles; in other words, we would be taught how to manifest real change in the world, and how to pass that skill to others.

At first, I was excited, but then the doubt set in.  I knew that these prayers (this technique) came from a tradition I was familiar with, but not a follower of.  I began questioning whether I had a “right” to attend, coming as I was from curiosity rather than belief.  I found myself speaking about my concerns to a friend I know in real life.  We do not “believe” the same, but we share a mutual respect for each other that often allows us to discuss ethical or moral concerns, and actually learn from each others’ perspective.  When I finished explaining the situation to him (in the dream), he grew very stern, pointed his finger at me accusingly, and said, quite seriously, “you better make damn sure you can commit to this, Lisa, before you go; otherwise, don’t go!”  His whole demeanor spoke of dire warning, as though this were not some trifling matter, which is very unlike him in real life.  I woke, telling myself I’d better test my commitment to this path before attending the retreat…

When I shared this dream with him in real life, he pointed out my use of present tense in the waking world (as in “I’d better be sure before attending…”).  I started to say that it was just a grammar/language error, then stopped myself.  He laughed, quick to catch that, as we both know how careful I am with words in the real world.  I believe our language affects our reality, so I am meticulous about saying what I mean, and meaning what I say.  So there is no room for such a “slip of the tongue” in my world, especially when speaking to him; he will call me on any bullshit he hears…

So…

It’s not really a question of competency plaguing me, I think, but one of commitment.  I know I could learn these “techniques,” whatever they are; I’m basically intelligent, well studied, and own a long tradition of learning and practicing competently.  I am a born teacher.  But I am hesitating, even knowing that such “techniques” may bring actual relief…  Why?

Because I am reluctant to commit to any particular path these days.  I am thoroughly enjoying the free flowing nature of my reality these days.  Because I do not want to be restricted by rules or expectations if something new and more appealing reveals itself to me.  Because I do not want to accept responsibility…

Ahh…  That’s it, then, isn’t it?

Commitment comes with responsibility, and I do not want that in my life.  I do not want to be responsible for others, to be held accountable for what they do with any knowledge (complete or not) they may gain from our interaction.  And that’s what’s missing in the wealth of big business based spirituality, too.  No one wants to be responsible.  No one wants to be held accountable for the “wrongs” committed by their beliefs and believers.  And while I have always believed that people should be held accountable for their own actions, rather than blaming their past or their preacher/teacher, I recognize that there is a line marking where such independence becomes hypocrisy. Because some people truly do influence others who want to be influenced, and we do become at least partially responsible for anything they do “in our name”…

Could I actually learn to change the world?  Could I make it a better place? Could I then competently teach others to do the same?

Can I wholeheartedly commit to finding out?

That is the question, isn’t it?

 

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Conversations, Reflections, Stories..., Visions

“A Lesson on the Evolution of Rocks… and things.”

The Teacher led us to a rocky ledge, basking in the early morning sun, and bade us sit and make ourselves comfortable.  “Steady your breathing and claim your space,” she instructed us.

After some time had passed, she sighed deeply, and began to speak…

This stone I’m sitting upon is warming beneath me…,” she said.  “It’s almost as if it’s absorbing my own heat energy and reflecting it back to me.  Why do you suppose that is?”

No one responded…

Hmm…,” she mused aloud.  “Rocks evolve in a crucible of heat and pressure.  When the proper levels of each are achieved, they transform themselves into entirely different form.  Same matter, maybe (?), but a totally different expression of it, with different qualities, different strengths, different weaknesses…  The same, but different…”

She paused a moment, seemingly lost in thought.  Silence reigned upon the rocky knoll…

So the question then becomes, for me anyway… [a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth] … are the rocks then feeding me (by warming me), or are they feeding off me (by draining off my heat energy in the first place)?  Is the growing heat beneath me reflective of my healing or my weakening?”

Silence held the listeners’ tongues…  Laughing, she turned to look at each of us in turn…

Did you all follow me up here to listen to me talk to myself?”

One seeker spoke up, hesitating and awkward…  “I feel only good coming from the rock I’m with.  The experience is pleasant, comforting, blissful…  I feel more grounded, more centered, more… whole somehow…  I think the rock is helping, rather than hurting me,” he concluded quietly.

Ok, then,” the Teacher responded.  “From your perspective the rock is serving you…  Beautiful!  Wonderful!  How empowering and validating it must be to be loved in this manner!…”  She turned and looked sharply at the speaker.  “But why do you suppose the rock should choose to serve you this way?  Does it gain nothing from its interaction with you?”

Another seeker spoke up…  “Perhaps the good feelings are merely a side effect of the draining of energy…?  Some predators drug their victims so they don’t realize they’re in danger until they are too weak to respond,” she suggested.

Ahhh…,” responded the Teacher.  “In which case, the very rocks upon this Earth may be our enemies, draining us, enslaving us to fuel their evolution…?”

The student did not respond…

Seems curious to me,” mused the Teacher, “that we have so many ‘stone masters’ in our collective human history, if we are indeed their slaves.  Perhaps that is part of the shared delusion the stones create to bend us to their will…?”

Silence settled once more upon the small group.  The sun warmed as it rose higher in the morning sky.  The humans warmed,  absorbing its heat and light.  The rocks warmed, creating a haven of peace and serenity, soothing city souls…

“It seems to me,” a third seeker began, “that everything in the Universe, in Nature, revolves around the principle of exchange…  From the grossest planetary matter, to the tiniest sub-atomic particles, all forms freely exchange energy.  Each expression of matter may use that energy differently, but we are all using the same energy…  Why, then, would this be any different?  Why cast it as an either/or question?”

He looked directly at the Teacher…  And continued.

“Can we not suppose, perhaps, that the exchange of heat energy between us and the rocks is of mutual benefit somehow?”

Interesting question,” the Teacher responded.  “Perhaps we could explore that a bit…?”

When no objections were voiced, she began to speculate aloud…

So, the rock absorbs my heat energy to use for some internal process, and then returns that heat energy to me, making me feel good…?”

No one in the small gathering responded…

But is there then a purpose to this exchange, beyond the mere cycling, or recycling, of energy…?”  Chuckling softly, she continued, mostly to herself.  “Talk about the proverbial waste of time…”

“Unless…,” the third seeker began.  “Unless the rocks transform my heat energy in some manner before returning it to me…?  In which case, it’s not precisely the same energy…?”

Smiling broadly, the Teacher looked directly at the third seeker…  “From which we might conclude that we also transform such energy before passing it back to the stones…?  Or other beings we might encounter along our way?”

“Like bees!,” another seeker exclaimed.  “We, as humans, have mobility that the stones do not innately possess.  I mean, they move, of course, but not nearly as easily as we do.  Perhaps our mutual exchange allows us to carry the stone-transformed energy elsewhere, while leaving some residue of our travels behind!  Such an exchange would benefit both parties, empowering, informing, even directing the evolution of all matter…”

Another seeker jumped in, excitedly… “Gently pushing us all in the same general direction…”

And yet another seeker found her voice…  “Both pushing us forward while reigning us in, so no one form alters too dramatically in a single step!”

All eyes focused on the Teacher…

She sighed deeply, drawing in the early summer morning, then lay back upon her warmed rock.  The seekers waited, expectantly, though none could voice their need.

The same… but different,” she murmured softly.

Soon the Teacher’s gentle snoring became part of the ambient summer soundscape…

 

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Dreams, Reflections, Visions

“If you want to lead…”

Interesting dreams and experiences this week, summed up by my dreams last night.  I don’t remember details so much, but the message was clear…

“If you want to lead… lead.

If you want to teach… teach.

If you want to heal… heal.

If you want to speak… speak.”

***

For months now, the messages I’ve gotten have been consistently about stepping back and allowing Others the space they need to decide their own course of development.  I’ve actually become quite proficient at minding my own business.  Not perfect, by any means, as there are always times and situations that create a compelling urge to react, but much better than I previously did.

And now that energy has shifted.  Now, I’m told, we may begin act-ing again, though perhaps not in the traditional sense.  For example, if we envisioned our selves as leaders in this “new” world we wish to co-create, we will not achieve that end by handing down orders or controlling others, as leaders did in the old world; rather, we shall lead by example only.  Get your hands dirty, or get out of the garden!

Likewise, if we fancied our selves as teachers, then we must live our truths rather than preach them.  Words mean nothing today without action.

If we imagined our selves as healers, then the work must begin within.  It is not enough to use words like “should” and “ought to” to describe the path to wholeness.  We must become whole ourselves, and guide others by those actions…

And if we have something to say, we must take responsibility for both the words and the tone of our messages.  Communication is a two-way street, and while we cannot take responsibility for how another interprets our words, we must endeavor at all times to say what we mean, and mean what we say.  Freedom of speech is not a free-for-all arena anymore, by which anyone can justify and legitimize whatever stray thoughts may leak out; consequences will occur…

That being said, I feel lighter and more energized than I have in months.  Obviously, these have always been goals, but now they are imperatives.  And with that comfort of certainty, that awareness that rightful action can once again lead to just outcomes, I feel relief as well as a tightening of the reins of self-discipline.

We are, as always, who we choose to be, and we are free now to reclaim the power of becoming who we’ve always wanted to be.  Be brave.  Be wise.  Be responsible, my friends.  And be free!

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Reflections

The Room… Revisited

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Someone recently told me, “you’re not really schizophrenic, Lisa.  You know that.  Right?”

Yeah, I know that.  Or I did, anyway.  At some time.  Before…

She added, “those voices you hear, those experiences you have… they’re real.  They’re actually happening.  To you… around you… you know that, right…?”

Yeah… right.  And those cigarettes really are on the table, after all…

Allow me to explain…

Back in the early 90’s, in one of my unpublished books, there were a series of chapters collectively referred to as “Voices from the Edge…”  They were my first attempt to capture, in process, the experiences I actually had.  To explain them to a non-existent readership what it felt like to be me.  They were based upon the premise that anyone could learn to be crazy like me, if they so chose, by following a few simple steps down some twisted thought roads, to a place where reality was entirely voluntary, self-created and self-owned.  And this journey began in a room…

It was a large room, large enough to contain the many Others I would encounter in my life, and its primary feature was a large table, dead center, with many objects on it.  That room was a metaphor for the Universe I inhabit, the table represented “reality” with its many observable facets (things)…

The room itself was divided into a light half and a dark half, with the line running right through the center of the table.  The light side was densely populated, noisy, with its most prominent feature being a large sofa flanking the table we called reality.  I postulated that the light side of the room represented the “sane” of society, interacting with each other, sitting on the couch to discuss the nature, laws and experiences to be learned from the table and its objects…

The shadowed half of the room was more sparsely populated, with ill-defined forms (defined by “ill-ness,” perhaps?), keeping away from both the light and the table it illuminated.  These were the lost souls, and lost causes, hiding in the refuge of their own minds, choosing not to interact at all with the “norms” of society.  Occasionally one might wander up to glance at the table, muttering something unintelligible, but they would quickly retreat to the comforting shadows…

My chair sat right on the line between light and dark, facing the table.  The light side, with its many people lay to my left; the shadows reached for me from the right.  I chose to acknowledge the table before me, and all the objects upon it, including a picture frame that faced the couch.  Which meant that I could easily discuss that reality with those on the couch, agreeing almost completely with what they saw and experienced…

But suppose that from my perspective, I could see that there was a pack of cigarettes hidden behind that picture frame on the table.  Those on the couch honestly could not see it, being obscured as it was by the picture in front of it, but I clearly could.  I insisted it was there, and so our views of “reality” now conflicted.  But there were many on the couch, and I was only one…

If I went to sit on the couch, as I was strongly “encouraged” to do, I would no longer see those cigarettes on the table, though perhaps I might then be able to see what picture the frame contained; my angle overlooking the table would have prevented me from seeing it before.  But had the couch-sitters told me about the picture I would not have likely argued with them about its contents, since I could clearly see the frame, and had no reason to assume they would lie to me about it.  Ultimately, it was all about perspective, or so I believed.  The couch-sitters I encountered, though, preferred to call it truth.  And so we disagreed…

Was I now to assume, given my change in perspective, that the cigarettes no longer existed?  Or, even more disturbing to my “fragile” psyche, that they never existed at all?

When I returned to my chair, I noticed immediately that the cigarettes remained, exactly as they had been before…

What this analogy taught me, at the time, was that I could not fully embrace a consensus-based reality.  I was too aware of my skewed perspective on reality, and in order to honor my self, I must also honor my own experiences, real or not, true or false.  Judgment was not required, but acceptance was!  I was way too uncomfortable sitting on that couch, trying to deny what I had already seen.  Had I never seen behind the picture frame, I would never have had the conflict; but I had seen behind it, and I would not deny it…

So I learned…  I learned to focus my interaction with others on the objects we could both see.  And I only mentioned the cigarettes when speaking to someone I believed was open-minded enough to consider their existence a possibility.  For the most part, it worked for me, allowing me to “fit in” quite comfortably with the couch-sitters, albeit with the title of “eccentric.”  I could live with that, even revel in that, retaining my unique perspective while still engaging society as a whole and individually…

The only real problems I had came down to that picture frame, when couch-sitters insisted that the picture within it was Truth absolute, with no room for perspective.  Having seen the frame, I knew it was a very thin barrier indeed between those certainties and the shadows they covered up.  So, for me anyway, absolutes of any kind were to be avoided; religion, politics, academic proofs, etc., were but a thin veneer covering a much bigger background picture, and I refused to accept them as Truth…

These days it seems like the shadows are beginning to creep across the room, stealing into the corners and high places first, while threatening the light-needers’ very foundations.  One by one, the electric lights are dimming or blowing out, forcing the couch-sitters to cram together a little tighter, just to remain safely illuminated.  But such close quarters breed conflict, and fear drives them to act out, pushing and shoving, and forcefully evicting some from the perceived safety of the couch and its certainties.

Those evicted tend to close their eyes quickly against whatever their new perspective on the table reveals, but perhaps not quickly enough to avoid seeing things differently, however briefly.  I understand that particular internal battle, as you actively try to deny what you’ve seen, only to have the image return again and again, unbidden, to haunt you both in waking states and dreams.  Things truly are not what they seemed, and those certainties that brought such comfort before have become mere curtains, blowing in a breeze, threatening to open up and expose what lies behind them…

Soon the shadows may rule the room, the darkness may become complete.  And all those objects on the table will cease having any meaning or value at all.  And you who revel in the light today may be forced to acknowledge your shadow as well…

I choose not to fear that day, if only because I know exactly where those cigarettes lie on the table before me.  So many years I’ve focused on them, that I could find them in my sleep.  And I know, being a smoker myself, that no serious smoker keeps cigarettes without a lighter nearby.

Hmm…

Kinda gives a whole new perspective on the old adage, “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

The darkness need not be complete, after all…

 

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Dreams, Reflections

“Listen… And Learn.”

(This post is a follow up to one I wrote on another site.  It stands alone.  But if you wanted to know what prompted it, that answer can be found here… maybe):

http://bayart.org/shhh/

***

So, my dreams were very clear this morning, the message precise and to the point: Don’t waste time looking for causes or assigning blame these days; just deal with the consequences and move on

* ceremoniously donning my cloak of hypocrisy *

So I wake up on this glorious Easter morn with this message running through my mind, and the first thing I hear is an adult exclaiming loudly “what a ripoff!”

Three times I hear the message repeat, as it slowly dawns on me that they are referring to a commercially prepared “gift.”

Finally a child speaks up.  “I am so disappointed,” he admits…

“Are you going to complain about it?,” the adult asks.

“Yes,” he responds, hesitantly.  Then with more certainty, “yes I am!”

And suddenly I see myself, sitting with a group of adults, discussing the state of the world.  And we are complaining about how ungrateful and materialistic the youth of today seem to be.  We share stories about how “kids today” do not appreciate the act of giving, focusing solely upon the perceived value of what is given.  We shake our heads sadly as we lament the deplorable state of society today…

* shifting my shoulders under the uncomfortable weight of my hypocritic cloak *

Yeah…  Been there.  Done that.

Sigh…

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!

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Dreams, Reflections, Visions

The Trouble with Time Travel…

We are standing on the banks of a river, wide and slow in some places, narrow and quick in others.  He says to me, “a good time traveler skips across the river of time like a leaf…”

“A leaf?,” I think to myself, and immediately translate it to mean “stone”.

“So, like a stone, I would touch down only briefly, moving quickly along, and allowing momentum to carry me forth.  That way I could move forward or backward in time, but maintain a linear progression in whichever direction I choose to travel…?”

He looked at me blandly before adding, “or laterally.”

“Laterally?,” I asked, momentarily confused.  

“Ohhh… of course!,” I added.  “I could skip across the river of time, rather than following its flow!…  But that would allow me to be in multiple places at one time, wouldn’t it?”

He just looked at me and said nothing…

“Oh, right,” I responded when I figured it out.  “If I’m skipping across time, then I’m only touching down briefly in each place.  Therefore I can’t actually be in two places at once.”

He turned back to stare at the river…

“But wait!,” I finally began again.  “You originally said ‘leaf.’  But leaves don’t skip across the surface of a river; they float.”

He looked at me, but said nothing…

“So you’re telling me not to get too involved, perhaps?  As in float across the surface, rather than sinking down in, to any particular time?”

His return to staring at the river told me I’d gotten it partially right, at least, so I decided to continue playing with the metaphor…

“The leaf has no anchor holding it in place, so it’s entirely dependent upon the currents…”

As we watched, a leaf manifested on the surface of the river, gliding slowly with the current, spinning gently…

“Allowing me to view each moment from a variety of angles as I spin slowly on the surface of time…”

The current picked up, drawing the leaf into a vortex where it whirled in a circular current while still spinning itself…  Faster and faster it spun, while circling around the whirlpool…

“Well… that could be disorienting,” I pointed out, already feeling just a tad bit nauseous watching it.

A long, silent look told me he was not amused…

“Ok, then,” I continued, admitting to myself I was just a tad bit annoyed at his lack of humor today…  “So… being a leaf on the surface of time allows me to revisit a moment over and over again, while also viewing it from multiple angles…”

“(Assuming I can actually view anything through the haze of nausea drowning me…  Or keep track of anything I have viewed, while it’s all spinning out of control!”), I muttered to myself…

Suddenly a gust of wind blew by, as if irritated with me, picking up the leaf and dumping it unceremoniously somewhere else on the river.  That was followed by a cross wind, which snagged a corner of the leaf and lifted it away, leaving it to flutter randomly back to the surface…

I turned to stare at him, standing calmly beside me, unmoved by the wind or the dancing display of the leaf…

“A leaf skipping across the river of time, indeed!  Powered by the winds of change, I presume?”  I must admit I was unable to erase the sarcasm entirely from my tone…

He simply smiled, smug and snug in his version of the truth.

“But how the hell would I keep track of where or when I am?!,” I demanded.  “The movement is completely random and nonsensical!”

He turned to look at me fully, a truly amused smile on his face, and finally spoke once more to me.  “Be light.  Be flexible.  Be free.”

Then clasping his hands lightly behind his back, he sauntered off, walking along the bank of the river whistling a happy tune.  And leaving me behind to experiment, extrapolate and learn…

***

Which I have been attempting to do these past… ???  days.  And it has proven every bit as nauseating and disorienting as I feared it might be.  Until today…  When it became somewhat disturbing as well.

It began with a dream in which I was travelling with my oldest friend (whom I haven’t actually seen in a while).  We wound up in a situation very similar to those we used to get into as kids (or I did anyway).  And like it often happened in our youth, she went into another room while I stayed to see what trouble I could cause for myself…

My instincts told me to leave; that I had no business being there, that I would be disappointed with myself again (!) if I stayed.  The third party in the room with me was a stranger.  Until he wasn’t anymore, morphing disturbingly into another friend who has shown a propensity of late to repeat destructive patterns of behavior.  I said, “oh hell, no!  I am not doing this again!”

I got up and walked away, heading over to the next room to collect my other friend before leaving…  And simultaneously waking myself up.

I was relieved upon awakening that I had chosen not to fall back into that trap, but still disturbed by how easily I walked into it.  Like nothing had ever changed.  Like I had never changed.  I knew at once that there was something from my past still haunting me, though I could not name it now.  Having completely forgotten it once, I thought it was over…  But the dream warns me it is not…

I put it away, and went to work.  When I came home, I checked in with Facebook to find not one, but three separate messages (from three unconnected individuals) waiting for me, all telling me exactly the same thing: there is something from my past reaching for me, and I need to let go of it immediately; it is “dragging” or “weighing” me down, depending upon the source of the message…

In addition to those was a message from my long time friend in the dream, making and confirming plans to meet tomorrow…  Or today?…  No coincidence there, I think.

So…  the problem with time travel as I see it today, right now, from right here, is that it’s impossible to keep track of where, and when you are.  And it is far too easy to stumble into something you’d thought you left behind, and would prefer not to encounter again.  And being light and flexible and free has only allowed me to touch the surface of this thing; without depth, how do I exorcise it completely?

***

Tapping my foot impatiently, I wait for him to return to explain these things to me.  Knowing full well, already, that he may not be inclined to do so.  And there is nothing… absolutely nothing… I can do about that today.  I may be strong and stubborn, but I cannot push a river where it does not choose to go.

“The trouble with time travel…” I shout out defiantly…

Then I turn and run for the woods.  I think I may actually be sick this time…

 

 

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