Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Reflections on The Move

I'm wrapping up the last few bundles, the last few boxes, striping that tape, clean and squeaky, across nearly the last cardboard flaps.  I'm moving.  I've done it before, so many times, and each time, there are   elements that are familiar, similar, to every move, and equally so, there are elements that are completely new.  This move especially is dancing in the borders of foreign places because for the first time, really, I'm moving away from my home.

Moving brings up so many memories and emotions.  The boxes of unnecessary things we keep hidden under beds, in closets, deep in the basement, those things that have no purpose except for the reminder they offer for a time when they did have purpose.  The things that remind us of significant moments in our lives, past, but that come to life so incredibly vividly in the taut, heavy days of a move.  As if watching a movie of one's own life, the many markers are there--cards, toys, photos, awards--stirring up within us rememberances of the many roads we have walked.  Moving is the experience of a lifetime's kaleidoscope of emotions condensed, distilled into the sleepwalk haze of a move's several days.

In the midst of a move, you vow to eradicate all the excess from your life, streamline, shed, slough off, until you are lithe and agile, not weighed down by the heaviness of unnecessary things.  But so much seems unnecessary when it must be moved, and so much becomes necessary in order to make a new place feel like home.  In one hand I pass things along, in the other, I hold on to them tightly.

More than anything, a move is the opportunity to evaluate, to re-calibrate.  By necessity you filter through your things, through the movie of your life and cast off what no longer feeds your future or anchors your past.  At the same time, you grow more closely to the things you must keep, the things which will create for you yet another home, which remind you of where you've been and where you imagine you one day will be.  In this move I let go of furniture, clothing, childhood dolls and books that no longer fit the shape my life has taken.  I marveled over things I'd bought, written or collected, in some ways shocked by the person I used to be that I no longer recognized.  But the things which remain are those which weave the thread from past to future, the dolls I loved that I hope to give to a daughter some day, the table Micael and I made out of maple wood in a rustic Gig Harbor work shed, the photo albums, meticulously crafted, that will remind me of past friends and of unfortunate wardrobes and that I will visit to remind me of where and who I've been.

In the end, a move is much like life itself, yet concentrated, condensed into a few heavy breaths.  We are in a constant process of growth, assessment, self-editing and transformation.  Usually this process happens so gradually we don't feel or see the changes, but a move amplifies and accelerates them, challenging us to place ourselves firmly on the map, literally and figuratively.  I'm on the map.  A bit further South.  And I carry everything with me for shaping a new life.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Soul's Humming

It's difficult for me to write when I'm not in love.  Writing, like any creative process I think, is the crescendo (if you can call it that) of the soul's gentle humming.  Nothing makes the soul hum like love.  I have to explain what I mean by love.  Of course there is the drunken love of new romance, there is the steady--sometimes exasperated--love for our close friends and families, and then there is the love that comes with discovery, with growth.  This last love is essentially a love of self, a love for all that one can become, for all that one can create, for all that one can connect to and become part of.  There are other ways to speak of love, to name love, but for here and now, this is enough.  I want to speak of love for those close to me and love of the self.

Love causes us to expand.  Our possibilities, our generosities, our forgivingness shimmer like sunlight around us.  It is possible for one to create, in this case to write, without love.  It is possible to do anything without love.  But work done with love is evident.  It has an essence.  It is the feeling of coming home.

I haven't been writing for several months.  The reasons for this are many and complicated and still very unclear even to me.  But tonight I felt words pushing through me.  I felt myself coming home.  I fell in love again tonight with Micael because in the midst of another day of our struggle to carve out a life that feels right, I realized that it is precisely the hardships that manifest my love for him.  The daily battles and humiliations life delivers can be manageable or they can be defeating depending on severity, depending on how well equipped you are to face them.  Sometimes life pitches so quickly you can't learn fast enough how to swing.  Today was another curveball; some bad news from work, another 'situation' to deal with that made us question why we bother trying.  And we try so damn hard.  To be good, to be fair, to be honest and responsible.  Most days we ask, for what?  Who notices?  In the midst of this, watching my husband deflated and disillusioned, I realized how much I love him.  Because he tries even when no one seems to care, because he keeps trying even when no one hears him.  And the curveballs raining down on us have shown me his character in a way that honeymoon love never could.  Maybe the struggles he has gone through these last months have turned him into a person I love even more.

There are a lot of things I've grown weary of, idealisms I've lost even just as I come to the end of my 29th year.  I look back on things I believed and things I wanted to do, things I wanted to save, and I smirk at my naivete.  But I have to admit, my optimism is still there, and it's for that reason that I'm still defeated by so many things--because I believe that things, people, life should be fundamentally good.  Not happy, or easy or desirable, but good and true.  I'm growing into a quiet awareness that goodness is complicated.  Even the things and people that do not strive for goodness can still help create it.  What a paradox.  However, though I don't believe in the goodness of everything anymore, I can believe in the goodness of one tender thing and it is enough.  The goodness of my husband, of my love for my husband is enough to inspire in me love for other things as well.  It is enough to let possibility begin to shimmer, to let generosity grow.  My love for him stirs in me a need to go beyond myself, to find the place where my words can stir that same soft belief in something true.  I don't know where my words land or what cause they have, but it is the urge to create them that is most meaningful.  They are my gentle hum.