Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Know Only a Little

Rain is falling in thick sheets, plummeting the roof and sliding down windows. It’s been raining for 48 hours without stopping. The streets in town are overflowing and even here, outside of town on my perch the water is gushing out of drain pipes and washing away red earth.

In my quiet afternoon I began a sorting and sifting of files on my computer and ran across something I’d written three years ago. I thought I’d post it here.

March 2008
I’ve been searching my heart in a sincere attempt to get clear on what is real for me, what I want, and considering re-writing my own personal bucket list. Maybe it's because I woke at 3 am and couldn't get back to sleep, or maybe it is because spring is coming, or because the red-tail hawks will be up in an hour, or because tangerines are on sale at Safeway. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling sentimental and warm.

I realize I know only a little, and even that is subject to change. I'm convinced that the Buddha is right when he says that suffering comes from desire and aversion. Running for something, having to have it – and running away from something in an oh-my-god-don't-let-that-happen-to-me way. Of course both are natural occurrences in our minds, so they aren't evil or bad, per se. Nor can we eliminate them entirely. Even if my desire is to have no desires - isn't that a desire as well? The key, in my humble opinion, is not to get attached to either. Of course I want x thing in my life, and of course I would rather not have xy thing! But to think that my well-being is dependent on having or not having them in my life will bring all kinds of continual dis-ease.

Ok, that's my set-up – and here are the things I want in my life.

Ready? Set. Go!

I want an open heart--open to exploring all of those things that I've spent so long either (rather) mindlessly accepting or prejudicially rejecting or oblivious to, to begin with. Open to the truth that I feel I've kept at bay by being so damn sure of myself about "the way things are,” because as things turned out, they weren’t! I want my heart to be open to people, to everyone. To those closest to me – the easiest – but also to those whom I find unsavory for some reason. An open heart leads to…

Peace. To really get it, deep down, that there is pain and there is pleasure and that my center, my core is not affected by whitecaps on the surface of the sea. Both the calm and the storms are inevitable and they will pass, and then they will come again, and pass, ad infinitum – ad morte. Deep, lasting, abiding peace that is unshaken, but not untouched by, what life brings. Which leads to…

Happiness. Joy de vivre! To laugh, to love, to play, to dance, to live! I want to revel in the sunshine of a spring morning, to drink in the profound mystery of a life seen through the eyes of a child, everyday… to smile 'til my face hurts, to laugh until I lay on the ground holding my stomach while tears roll down my cheeks. I want to be the life of my own party! And all of these lead to…

Love. I want to be a lover. I want my children to know the depths that I love them, that I love them not in some maudlin way, but that I'm there for them at every turn in the road to support them... To know that they are loved deeply, intensely, fully – and that this will never change. Ever. I want my friends to know they can count on me. I want my lover to know that he is cherished, treasured, supported, and honored… and seen with twinkling eyes that see only him – and no other.

I want a home on a little land in the foothills and maybe another in Milan, or a flat in the city, or an island in the middle of nowhere. A place all the kids and grandkids will come home to on holidays—laughing and telling stories on the porch while the children climb trees, a fat cat sunning on a summer afternoon, a warm kitchen with inviting smells where the coffee is on and friends stop in for a visit (and maybe a bit of gossip) on a summer Sunday morning. I want the swing set in the yard to have been built by my own hands, waiting for when the grandkids come to play in the sun.

I want to travel and experience new places, people, and things. I want a life that fulfills, enriches, and helps. I want enough money to be comfortable, and not so much that I get too comfortable! I want to write another book, maybe ten… and a movie or two. I want to be so healthy I glow 'til I'm 90 – maybe 95! And I want to make love to my sweetheart, until the moment I die.

I want to feel the sunrise, to experience the rain, to hear the river, to know the earth. I want to learn, to read, to listen, to know, to never complete my education. I want a good book on the porch at sunset, warm breezes and bird-songs and red-tail hawk’s cry as my companions; but not my only ones.

I want a companion, a life partner. To have that special and enigmatic bond that unites two people in a relationship that fulfills, strengthens, thrills. I want to adore, and to be adored. I want to know him and to be known by him. I want my heart to skip a beat when I see him enter a room. I want to bring him coffee in bed, to make love 'til we sweat, to hold each other 'til we sleep, and to wake up knowing it isn't a dream. I want to experience life with him and to never stop growing individually, and together. I want to dance in the kitchen and lay in bed at night, skin-to-skin, watching a lightening storm together. I want to be able to count on him and him to be able to count on me, to know the depth of his stability, his loyalty, his love… and to rest in that.

Some of these are a part of my life now. Others I'm moving towards, and still others seem a distant dream. And now I've opened myself in a way that challenges my fear of being vulnerable. So I should add…I want to be vulnerable without fear. That one may take awhile!
And finally…I want to know more about the people in my life, my community. I'd like to know about their dreams, desires, fantasies, goals, more about the things that are important to them. I’d like to know what keeps them awake at night and what wakes them in the morning. I’d like to know what they think of when they don’t have to think and what secrets they don’t want to tell. I want to experience them, fully.

That is, if they don’t mind.

© Cynthia Stewart

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