When you really think about it, life is almost always a front. How often are we not hiding, shielding, shadowing, skewing, or shading the reality we face, the reality we project, and the reality we live in? How rare and beautiful an occurrence it is when we can actually let go of our vulnerabilities, our insecurities and come clean to anyone, to ourselves, about the struggles and triumphs of our hidden lives. How often do we share something real, raw and boring? How often is what we share curated to be the most likeable, the least threatening? Can we handle the reality of our own mediocrity? Does the chaos of the world at large have an effect on the self image we promote? Media’s influence is powerful, subtle, invasive and widespread, I’m taking a moment to dive in and see how it settles, or more accurately, to dive out.
I’d like to think I’ve never been one for manufactured resolve, but I think the truth is, I just don’t want to be told what to do.
The dial turns, a New Year begins, and we’re made to believe that we’ve got a new chance, a fresh start. But isn’t this the truth every day? Don’t we begin anew each morning with a blank slate, a fresh start? In fact, every moment is an opportunity to let go, to relent, to acknowledge we’ve drifted off course, to realign, reaffirm, and start again.
How hard it is to say we’ve been wrong. We can become so entrenched, so stuck that we find ourselves forced to argue a point we no longer believe in. Life opens a door, gives you an opportunity to relent, but so often our pride prohibits us from moving forward. The New Year is like a get out of jail free card. An opportunity to find resolve without focusing on the lack, on the void that we’re hoping to fill. It’s pure optimism, looking ahead, looking up, looking within.
In reality, I’m all about resolve. I’m an Aries, I love to start. I have a head full of steam, inspiration strikes and I want to set out in search of it. But the New Year always seems like such a poor time to capitalize on this momentum. Winter is a time of reflection, of rumination and hibernation. Ideas gestate and creativity simmers like a mulled wine.
I want to play along. I want to find resolve, to be resolute, to take action in a new direction, but that’s just not the energy I feel. I feel like it’s time to listen. Time to be still and absorb. Time to do what you’re told and wait patiently. To compile your resolutions as they crystallize, to write them down, fold them up and stick them in your pocket. To wait till the time is right to take action.
But there’s something to be said for rising to the challenge, to answering the call. You can put off your resolutions till you’re ready but that day might never come. The time is now, what are you going to do?
Look hard at the things that make you squirm – what’s making you uncomfortable has something to teach you.
Embrace what makes you feel good – don’t be afraid of giving yourself up to love and laughter, life is short.
Happy New Year,
Time is fluid, cyclical, and relentless. It’s everywhere and unstoppable, yet we work so hard to compartmentalize it. Days, weeks, hours, minutes, we work to break time into fragments that we can cope with. Unaware and unaffected, time moves on. Perhaps there is no other way, maybe our minds are just not suited to flow with time in its ever expanding and contracting nature. We want time to move in one direction, we want ourselves to move in only one direction with it. Growth, ascension, forward movement. If time is not bringing us somewhere better we easily lose touch with our own direction. We wish to command time and bend it to our will, to believe we are capitalizing one this one element in a way that will deliver us to our goals, our hopes and dreams.
But I’ve come to believe that time has its own will. That we are as much a product of time’s fate as any other. Today’s political climate proves this to a degree, that time has its own weight, its own momentum, a pressure that sometimes binds, folds, and back up upon itself, slowing and stopping until so much weight accumulates that it bursts forth in a flood, rushing past us or carrying us along. But even this fits into the narrative of a flow of time, one that has direction, current, and inevitability.
Regardless of our view of time, and our place in it, it does seem advantageous to break it into pieces we can more easily digest, pieces of time we can hold and weigh and use to plan for our own future. A life, after all, is only one small piece of time, an amalgamation of moments we stitch together into a narrative. Simpler times have come and gone, and today’s time often seems complex, confusing, challenging and even cruel. There’s work to be done, within and without. We’re encouraged to find ourselves, to become our best selves and contribute to the solution, to the repair and replacement of flawed systems. At the same time, we’re groping for meaning, purpose, connection and love. These are the metrics we use to judge time, and our passage through it.
I can see it, just faintly, and far off ahead. It started off as a ripple, just a wave in the smooth unbroken line, but something caught my eye. Maybe it was the light, there was a short time early in the morning when the rising sun would illuminate a few jagged peaks, a curious fold in the landscape. It drew me in.
There is no lack of direction. No lack of obstacles. No lack of words.
What there is a lack of is courage, of belief and faith. I made this space for me. To expel and expand, to share, to communicate and hopefully, to understand.
But then it turned into a statement, and today there might not be anything more dangerous. As soon as you speak, as soon as you open your mouth you are wrong. There are no absolutes, no certainties. But that doesn’t’ stop us from trying to pin them down, about us, about the world.
I feel like there’s something caught in my throat. There is a confusing mix of ideas and emotions that I so badly want to let out and put into order. But even if I manage that task that seems so big, I still know it will be misunderstood, that my words will be mixed up, twisted, and magnified. The fear of the inevitable holds me back.
There is more, there is an excuse, a reasoning, a logic. It’s part of the story, but sometimes even I can’t remember it. I’m afraid I won’t be able to get enough of it out to convince you, to bridge the gap between us, I’m afraid you won’t understand, or worse, you won’t agree.
Life shoves you ahead. You fall, you get up. No. It’s the controlled fall. You’re bumping into things along the way and they set your trajectory. Maybe sometimes you can slow down before you fall on your face, but more often than not it’s those glancing blows that cause the most damage.
We’re stumbling. Sometimes it’s graceful and we’re running ahead, leaping over obstacles, other times we get caught up in the push and trip over our own feet. Along the way I’m trying to find you, to hold your hand and share my story, to remind and encourage each of us that were not alone. Because when I’m silent, I feel like I’m alone, running in the dark.
You’re going to need a tool. Something sharp, something you trust, something you believe in. This could be an object, but it should be something you’ve known for a while, something handmade, maybe even passed down. It could be a concept, but it can’t be an idea, it’s got to be a belief, something you’ve learned, tried, experienced, applied. Something you know is real and true.
You’re going to want to get comfortable, you need to get as close to the bubble as you can. You can be sitting or standing, even lying down, but just know it’s going to take a little time, so you don’t want to cramp up or sneeze or move too quickly. Find the edge of the bubble and get so close to it you can smell it’s slightly burning, chemical odor. It’s not easy to find the edge of the bubble, a lot of times it’s hidden or built right into your surroundings. The trick is to create, it doesn’t matter what or how, just that you make something new, that you feel the spark, bring something to life in your mind and then in the world. This is how you come to see the edges of the bubble, the one you’ve been living in, the ones trapping others.
Get as close as you can, but be careful of your breath or bushing the side of the bubble, we want to break it, but if we go too quick it won’t have the desired effect. It’s fragile and illusive, we want to go slow so we can see it stretch and bend, so we can see how it’s formed so we can recognize other, thinner bubbles in the future, so we can warn people of their own and avoid making our own again. Take your tool, your weapon, and wet it’s sharp end in your mouth, this will allow it to penetrate the bubble before breaking it. Hold it right up to your eye and gently touch your weapon to it’s surface, ever so lightly. Watch the surface of the bubble take in the weapon and see how part of it is passed through the other side. See how easy it is to penetrate but how difficult to know when you’re through, how the thin film encompasses any shape if you match it’s texture.
Gently push and pull on your tool and see the surrounding film bulge and flex, how the reflections are distorted, this is how we see the illusion of reality the bubble offers. Slowly spin your object and see the surrounding film pulled with the force of your centrifuge.
Soak this in, look closely and learn as much as you can, for when the bubble pops it is gone in an instant, and you’re left to your memory to recreate it. Push gently until the edge of the bubble approaches the dry area of your weapon, go very slowly now.
Keep your eyes open. Really this is impossible, because the breaking of the bubble, no matter how slow or prepared, is always enexpected and somehow terrifying. Push the weapon through so slowly you can’t even tell if it’s moving, watch as closely as you can.
There it was, the snap, did it tear like a balloon? It splashed you in a mocking way. You can feel it on your face and hand, like it’s tried to shrink wrap you but you feel more like you’ve been born. Look around, you’re free, open, you’re out. Take a moment to remember the bubble, what it looked like from within, it’s color and smell, that special sheen because, again, you want to recognize when you might pass through the bubbles of others, of our own. Welcome to life outside the bubble, things will be different but you’ll quickly learn to adapt, find your footing, and create in new ways.
Keep your eyes open for new bubbles and especially those of others, of stepping inside and seeing what they see, of feeling what they feel. So many of us are trapped in bubbles, we can’t see and need help getting out. But this is harder yet, not because it’s any different but because the tools are often hidden or difficult to make, but that’s exactly what you’ve got to do. Think hard and see the right tool before it exists, focus your mind, imagine it in your hand, slowly pearcing the thin film… Now get to work.
A postcard is a small picture with a letter on the back. Short, about a place, personal, but not hidden. My postcards are a little longer, I tend to ramble, I use my own pictures, and they’re usually a little sad cause I’m feeling lonely or lost.
These are my Postcards from Punakaiki