Going Deeper

Just realized I can go deeper into the moment if I let go of intentions.

In a way, all we have to do is step back, and everything can work out. Because, otherwise we can let an over-active need to control everything around us get in the way. Stepping back, letting go of conscious intentions— even for a moment — may allow a bigger picture to come in.

if I could stop trying so hard to make things happen then maybe they would…

Such as taking a trip to Paris with my daughter that we first talked about eight years ago. What allows a miracle like that to take place? How can one step back, get out of the way, when we’re all scrambling to keep up with each other? Stepping back lets a deeper part of us take over, a mostly unconscious part more in touch with the world around us, that has less need to keep up, because it’s already where it needs to be. The shallow part always has intention — an agenda — but lacks the depth to execute or even grasp the nuance of what its own agenda could mean. Because agendas belie the nature of reality as bigger than us, and of our own goals as limited in their perspective against the larger backdrop. Our conscious minds are so small, particularly when focused on a goal, that we miss more than we’ll ever know…

Unsure of the balance between moments letting go and moments thinking I’m not good enough and can’t let go, can’t separate myself from the pathos of living, I feel tainted. Always feeling I don’t do enough of what I should, afraid if I get lost in the moment I’ll be procrastinating on what I’m meant to do. What would getting lost in the moment really look like?

what if I shouldn’t be doing at all?

This I wonder when slipping into the whirlwind of negative thoughts whisper-shouting I’m not doing the right things at the right time, not prioritizing, not planning, not talking to the right people and showing the necessary enthusiasm to forward my goals.

so, wait, what if I shouldn’t be doing at all?

Shall I take photos? Or write, or take care of my yard. Making sure my taxes aren’t overdue. Running, walking, lifting weights. What about my job? I should definitely be doing that, right? Who has time for photos when there’s still more work? There’s always more work.

I look at these photos and feel both a thrill and a longing.

I want them. I long for them as I long for colorful, hard candy. I want to put them on my wall, gaze at them, and find more like them. I must get more of these!

The deeper I go into the moment of desiring the photos, the angst of it, as well as the joy of it, the more I fear I’m being sentimental, that they’re just some bad photos and I should get back to work so that way, someday, I can rise to a level of sophistication and power where I can afford to appreciate real art. The farther I get into these feelings, the more confusing it becomes. I’m 57 now, decades past the age of 17 when I felt I was getting old. Decades past 29 when I felt I was getting very old. When will that someday come when I can actually call myself an artist, when I can set aside other work and focus on the craft?

and yet the art gives me life when I delve into it

I’m bothered by this photo because I can’t seem to get it right. My daughter doesn’t appreciate that it’s edited. I can’t find an edit I’m happy with… Yet what I like is the feeling I have when I‘m working on it. Excited about the sunburst and the colors around the sun, I imagine myself there, looking out across the marshy verge towards the lake. It’s as though the sun brings in truth through a different light, transforming my world as I look at it.

I think I know what causes this transformation. It’s not the result of the editing, but the mystery of the colorful sun as it emerges throught the edits. The main thing is the dance of creating, not of completing. I aspire to see the world differently, so I keep changing the photo. The viewing is a process as well, as is he process of writing about the sun I see, this glimpse into another world. Even this process of writing about the process of creation — a set of mirrors wherein I see myself reflected until there’s no more seeing, just being surrounded by images — therein one may find joy.

If I frame it it won’t be the same, but the framing may be fun…

Can you frame life? Spirit? Passion? Love? Don’t think so. The photo’s already flawed in the taking, the editing, in showing it to my daughter, to you. If I frame it, the framing is another fraught step down the path of trying to make the physical a representation of the world of feelings, of possibility. And yet, each step taken is a part of the dance of creation.

framing would be another passionate, creative act

If we believe each moment is an act of creation, then we might at last be free of the burden of self-criticism. Because, at the core, many thoughts are fearful ones of doubt that we’re living life the right way and thus doubts of the very validity of ourselves. Because the way you live this moment is who are. It’s hard, at first, to think of a better day than the one that’s filled with work, going to the gym, going on a walk with a loved one, writing, maybe a little meditation — and how about going out or staying in for dinner with whomever you live with?

Yet, there’s a better life than the one that’s full. There’s a life of exploration, connection, reflection, out and about in cafes and restaurants, bars, wherever. Walking on the beach alone. And in this better life there is grief, at missing a family meal, a gym visit, a reliable paycheck. And in this better life the pictures that are framed and placed upon the wall are no longer of interest. Old photos remain on the wall, they gather dust. The photos we’re about to frame don’t deserve it and the framing is expensive. Grief at getting it wrong, over and over, of knowing you’ve failed yourself every day, is an almost unbearable weight.

And then it’s time to go. The frame shop closes, the dinners in and the dinners out have been eaten. And you’re glad you went a little deeper into your feelings instead of just keeping busy. Because now you recall a multitude of moments: sunny ones and dark ones, ones in which you had strong feelings about what you were doing, and what you were not doing, and ones in which you drifted with the current. And it’s going to be better this way. Because a secret to life is it never ends. Nor does death.