Renewal Fifty-Six : The Template-less Template

Things are back to moving in slow motion again. I think that the amount of energy yesterday required, plus how much such conversations remind me about how slow I am in creating what I want, all just slammed broadside into me sometime last night.

I woke up this morning, after a fitful night (up at 3 a.m. again to muse and go into the Jacuzzi), feeling like human lead. My run was tortuous and I’m struggling to not get caught in the trough of this cycle. On the other hand, a Mary Poppins’ attitude is not always appropriate. Like it or not, woman or not, hope or not, there are times when being depressed is a good way to clear the emotional baggage.

Still, despite how this journey of feelings and thoughts might be read, I don’t feel like the type to get on the depression train and ride it for all it is worth, preferring to get off at the first possible stop (or just leap off if I have to).

Years ago, my friend that visited yesterday and I were on our way to a seminar and we were discussing creation. During our discussion, we brought up the potential psychological and physiological problems if we created something outside of our linear, temporal grasp. Our example was chocolate chip cookies. If we buy the ingredients and bake them, or if we even just go to the store and buy the pre-made ones, we are in the familiar territory of history. We don’t have to know that history exactly, but we do have to know, or accept, that there is one. If either one of us just opened up our hand and a chocolate chip cookie appeared, the violation of a temporal and historical antecedent would assault our very essence. Such “spontaneous” creations would likely be ignored, or overlaid with “reasonable” (read “acceptable) explanations.

So, we struggle mightily with the creation of a history that sufficiently allows our worthiness and our acceptance of what we’ve created along with what we find already created. We impose this process on ourselves and on each other. And we validate the procedure by noting how well our definitions stand up against “objective” reality (this is the classic Russell and Whitehead truth test–see any introduction to philosophy text). Of course, what we define, we are likely to see, which simply means that we have a partial truth, maybe. There are a couple of other truth tests, but this is not a scholarly discourse. Suffice it to say that all truth tests have problems, as well they should.

Any search for truth might “lead” us to the notion that we have to examine the idea of requiring an explanation template to begin with (creation can be valued even in the absence of having an explanation about the historical antecedents). In fact, I have been advocating a template-less template. The problem with this idea is that its practice is likely to be exhausting. We have become so adept at having a construct to apply to all circumstances, that we sit on our ethical, moral, and cognitive couches with our remote controls and “reality surf” through our lives. To actually give up the remote, get up off our truth couches and sally forth with only our attention, intention, and a rather vague idea about keeping energy barnacle-free, requires the marshaling of energy that parallels a marathon runner. Initially, we will probably have to spend most of our time sleeping. (Predatory cats can laze for 20 hours because they’re not hunted, except by man, and they can hunt for only four, because the intensity required to be in the moment during a hunt takes a great deal of energy. Contrast this with herbivores that sleep less because most of their energy goes into keeping watch for predators [which is a kind of punctuated attention], not in finding vegetation, which requires little attention, at least relative to hunting for meat.)

In any case, trying to shift the way intention and attention is utilized is not cost effective relative to the old standard of being, and is thus very hard to validate, simply because we are evaluating a new system from an old perspective.

That is the crossroads I continually find myself facing. I get charged with the energy of creating, then saddled with the old energy standard of plodding through an Etch-A-Sketch® life. On those days when everything seems possible, trying to apply energy to the creation of a new pattern of relationships, personal, work, or otherwise, is mostly like an act of faith–a belief that it can be done, even if the way is rather obscure. On the days when one wakes up and realizes that they’re still anchored to the plane of familiar patterns, it can be downright discouraging.

Renewal is a funny thing. It exists on the plane of our present existence and can be found in the care and maintenance of our stuff on that plane, including attending to our relationships, our physical well-being, our cars, houses, carpets, toilets, lawns, jobs, etc. On this plane, a renewal of stuff helps to renew our spirit. In that realm, we are saddened to see our stuff subjected to entropy, to see the loss of hope in knowing that caring for and maintaining a relationship will not renew it, or that caring for and maintaining our physical body will not save it.

Such began this particular journey for me, the death of the relationship with my last love and the death of my mother, especially the manner in which she passed away. I was not renewed, could not be renewed by looking to the old standard. If I did, then my history would simply return as my future.

But the kind of renewal that births a different pattern is the kind that moves us to another plane of existence, with a parallel, but different set of criteria. We still have the immutable energy and movement, but we have a different set of creative criteria, not so tied to the plodding density of our ground-sloth creations on the previous plane. This is a renewal that is more about spirit and less about stuff. Stuff will come, I’m sure, but stuff is not the issue, energy and spirit are. This is loosening the grip of the Golden Calf.

So, I write and worry and keep the mantra in front of me. I feel like an ancient sailor looking for the new world and doubting at times that I’ll ever see land again, wondering just what was I thinking when I left safe and familiar harbors. And I have to be aware that I do not find landfall and mistake what’s a new environment to me for a new spirit. That could be an old plane misinterpreted or a new corner in the existing plane, which I can then muck up with the old standards. How shall I tell the difference? I suppose that I cannot use the old criteria. Which leaves me with what, a template-less template?

Good grief, I’ve a long day ahead of me, and I’ve exhausted myself already. I guess I should take a shower and renew myself. I may still be on this plane, but at least I’ll have a clean, old body.

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