Where in the world?
Where in the world am I? Really, where in the history of the world is this moment?
It’s spring in San Diego. Rabbits, yes, wild bunnies, are roaming the neighborhood, I can see them crossing the street out my office window every day now.
We are in a stretch of stormy weather, blown out and windy the evening sky is a scattering of pastel clouds backed with shadow and expanses of blue.
The time is strange in community – I’m just now off of over two hours of calls today. Everyone, just a bit uneasy, now easier just to hear the sounds of our voices connecting perhaps. Where in the world am I? Where in the world are we?
I slept better again last night, not quite long yet, but full enough to rely on the rest for a day’s activities. It may be the kava supplements I’ve been taking in the late evening that made the difference, but this morning the scales had tipped to a kind of lethargy so rising was a bit strained. Tonight, no supplements, with luck just pure clean rest.
The rain in the evening was constant and heavy. Just 30 minutes after waking however the morning sun was filling the little valley, sparkling off water droplets in the trees. Once dressed and teeth brushed the next order of business was sunshine in the front yard.
Caroline and I sat for a while, taking in the morning, she was my hands for a little gardening, and then a quick shave in the sunlight. Just as the last whisker fell the clouds reached the eastern blue sky, eclipsing the sun with threats of rain. We retreated inside for breakfast.
My sun warmed body now nicely prepared for a smoothie – traditionally I’ve needed warmer foods these days – but the bananas have been aging on the table just nearly too long. Carolinas already started eyeing them for banana bread.
After checking off the mundane items from the to do list and clearing the inbox, I spent just a few minutes toying with a photo of the full moon taken through the trees last night by Mary in New Jersey. I’ve taken to practicing my image editing techniques, which I like to use to express various visual concepts on occasion, on the occasional photo from a friend these days.
I suspect it’s therapeutic.
The sun is setting now outside the window, the last golden rays painting pine branch shadows on the walls of the office.
The better part of the day I devoted to refocusing on the MettaCare project. I had spent most of February working on this, writing, sketching, and getting feedback from a handful of collaborators and supportive voices. My efforts than had been brought to an abrupt end when I fell ill for 36 hours followed by five days of hospitalization.
At the time, the pandemic had yet to have made itself clear to me, and I was looking at a very different prospect than the one I seem to be living today.
For starters, by now I was quite certain I was likely to have had a windfall of income, or more likely be moved out of the house to a nursing home, at least temporarily.
Instead I am in a very different place. I have had an incredible infusion of community support, I have convened (we have convened) a promising and quite precious new mandala of care partners, while the world around us seems to have fallen quite well apart.
Where in the world am I?
When I turned my attention to the MettaCare project today, the primary task was to review the inbox to which all the related correspondence have been relegated in my hasty departure to the hospital and subsequent redirection of attention to seemingly more pressing matters.
Combing through these materials, I saw as much as anything, the state of mind I had been in while approaching the project in February. In the midst of the efforts I had felt quite focused and productive, building closer and closer to a well defined and robust description of the potential for the initiative.
In the relative spacious moment of today, I saw a very different picture. The first thing I noticed was the pressure of urgency I had felt and how that had compressed not only my thinking on the subject, but my ability to contextualize the focus within my own wider sense of purpose and initiative.
Without realizing it, I had been working from a sense of subtle desperation, conflating my own existential concerns with the potential value of the initiative, in the process overlooking the way it not only offered value to others, but also integrated with and advanced a specific sense of personal dharma and purpose that seems to be growing more clear to me with each day.
To be sure, I still do have the very same existential concerns, perhaps even compounded by the new state the nature of the world around me, but the crystal clarity of that, the direct urgency of the matter is no longer so true.
I have gained some traction with professional income, not steady, but certainly more robust and ripe than before. I have been granted a small nest egg from a still growing community of support. I have benefited from the windfall of the pandemic related debt relief which gives me a greatly reduced expense requirement for at least the next three months.
Combing through the messages today and related PowerPoint, PDF, and Word documents, I felt I was piercing open some small rift in my soul to let the nourishing power of light begin to fill me once again.
Another benefit of nearly 2 decades in a wheelchair appears to be the training I’ve undergone in having limited mobility and being somewhat confined to home. While some of those around me seem to be going a bit stir crazy, I’m feeling quite in my element, particularly with a writing, researching, and organizing project unfolding before me.
In terms of the existential issues, I still have the car to sell, and perhaps two new roommates to identify and move in to help cover the mortgage. Both of these however I am currently holding at arms length as they involve direct interaction with likely strangers at a time when even dear friends feel a bit strange to approach.
I think it is this uncertainty of where in the process of the world we are that allows me to hold those otherwise very practical matters somehow more lightly for the time being.
It seems as though there has been something of a sacred space created, a window through which to whisper some message of pure and personal truth of vision. I am proceeding with caution, noticing still the vulnerable parts of myself that feel fearful of the apparent grace surrounding me.
Last night I dreamt that the sickness had come into my room and gotten on my hands. As I half slept I kept resisting stirring my hands towards my face as is otherwise my habit in the night. In the early hours of the morning I surrendered to the dream state quality of the experience and let myself relax. I do pray it was just a dream, but it did bring forward again moments of considering where I would go and what would I do if I were to come down with this plague of illness.
I tend not to dwell there, preferring instead to think of what it is I might have to offer the world if I am fortunate enough to have many years remaining.
If I look carefully, perhaps I am still walking that strange path, afraid to die on one side, and afraid to live on the other… I keep working to tumble past the latter. There is still, in my minds eye, too much beauty possible to resist the call.
In this moment, the music in the background echoes “but I needed a push to get me to see, wherever I am, I’m already free.”
So that’s where I am.
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…