Saturday, August 8, 2009

I Needed to Breathe Today.

Time Out, I'm convinced, was created by a grown up who just needed to go to a quiet place and think for a moment about life, how things develop, his or herself, and those around us. Then some parent saw this person doing it, and decided to make their children do it when, in fact, the adult is the one in need of the breather.

I took my moment.

Wrapped in a friendly blanket, hot, apple cider steaming up from my reindeer cup in hand. I curled myself up in the chair that I stained, and built, next to the seeds I dropped into pots some months earlier who've sent up their ever ambitious sprouts who continue to reach for the sky on this misty morning so palpable you could see and feel the moisture in the air as if walking through your very own cloud. Watching lazy leaves cut trails through my cloud on their way to the cool grass below while the whole world slept ... I was a million miles away.

Part of me was, anyway. The rest of me couldn't have been more here. My senses felt more alive than they have in weeks. I felt a part of everything around me, for a brief moment I was seamless with everything in existence ... or, you know, the stuff in my immediate environment, at least.

As I sat, and observed I thought about all the things we do to one another to disrupt this sense of connectedness we all share. We do this in many ways, but the one that seems to discourage me the most is how we choose to communicate with each other ... not necessarily the words we use, but how about the words we don't use?

If time is relative, and not something we're constantly chasing, or running out of, losing, or gaining, then how is it so many of us don't have enough of it to devote to actively communicating to those around us? What is keeping us from meaningful exchanges if this "time" business is an illusion? Are we really that self-centered? Do we just not care? Are our egos intoxicated by the idea of making other people feel as though we see them as somehow less important than ourselves?

In this moment on my patio I found myself thinking about a class I was in my last semester at college. It was all about communicating, public speaking, how powerful our words are, and lack thereof, how to use them effectively, how to work closely with other people, and how to create a respectful environment, among other things. It was more than just a "do a silly speech about how to make jam on toast until you no longer fear speaking in front of peers" kind of class. It broke down who you thought you were, and showed us that in essence we are all the same; our fears were shared, we all had things to overcome. They may have been different, but we all had them even if at different saturation levels. It taught us that communicating is more than just chicken scratch on paper, or noise we're just spitting out at other people. There's a reason why we do it, in fact probably several at any given moment. But the underlying reason every time would arguably be that the person trying to express something thinks it is important to do so. When we ignore it, or listen to just the parts we like, or respond to just the things we're interested in, what are these actions saying about us as individuals? I am more important than you.

It's not a very attractive way to present ourselves to the world, not in the superficial sense, but more that it's not an effective way to attract people into your life, or keep them there for that matter. It's no wonder that the very people who live in this way are often disgusted by the fact that they are not listened to or given what they feel is appropriate face time. If like, does indeed, attract like then it is no surprise that people who neither wish to treat others in this manner, nor wish for themselves to be treated as such, don't stick around. I know I find myself retreating when it's apparent . It would make sense then to heed the call of those before us who grace us with their notions that being the change you wish to see, will indefinitely bring about change, before we're all just a bunch of squawking noisemakers with nothing of any value whatsoever to say.

Which wouldn't matter anyway, because none of us would be listening...

And with that, I finished the last swig of cider, and padded my slipper-ed feet back inside.