Renewal Sixty : Sometimes There May Be Learning After All

Yesterday I went out of town just because I needed to get away. I will leave later this evening and head back as I have work to do and because I’ll attend graduation on Tuesday. Though I’ll start summer school two weeks from tomorrow, I think I’ll have to pack up and go somewhere the week before it starts, perhaps to see my sister for a bit and then to go see my eldest daughter. My son did want to go to Yosemite, as did my youngest daughter, but I’m not sure that will happen. Besides, I’m beginning to think I need to go somewhere alone.

So far, this short trip has been very cathartic. The drive was peaceful and easy. I got a speeding ticket a couple of weeks ago, I tend to drive about 75 on the freeway or on any open road (no, not in neighborhoods, business districts, school or hospital zones), and I got nailed by radar.

I’ve never appreciated the hall monitor mentality of some police. While most of the jobs police do, I do appreciate (I consider it a tough job, one that I couldn’t handle), the hiding behind trees or rocks or whatever to catch people is mostly outright ridiculous and largely revenue raising. And I don’t need to hear the part about seeing adults, or especially children (as I’ve been lectured before), mangled in accidents by people speeding and how the police are only doing a public service. This nobility just doesn’t wash when police are hiding out, waiting to catch somebody breaking the law as opposed to being out in the open where it might prevent problems in the first place. If they are so concerned, get out from behind that rock and drive the road–be visible, not tricky.

All right, that’s my spiel and I’m sticking to it. But the point of this digression is that however safe I think I am, other people may not be, and besides, and on this point police are correct, I really don’t get where I’m going much faster anyway, especially on short trips. So, for the first time in my driving life, I considered this ticket as something to pay attention to. I’ll pay the fine, go to traffic school, and slow down. I admit, it feels good, and I admit, that sometimes, like having a broken heart, one can learn something from adversity, fair or not.

When I arrived (safely) at my destination and after finding a place to stay, I headed out to the local historical section of town and spent a few hours wandering around. Since the years of my wanderlust, it has been infrequent that I have been alone and casual enough to just meander, observe, and muse. There were a variety of old and new shops and stores, eateries and pubs, and there were plenty of people, old and young, well-dressed and not so well-dressed, healthy and not so healthy, beautiful (lots of that) and not so beautiful, energetic and down-in-the-mouth. It was great and I was happy to be part of it, all of it.

Later, I wound up having about an hour conversation with a young woman, a beautiful young woman I must admit. She is an accountant in a local firm (so she said–actually I have no reason to doubt her) and she seemed full of life, if cautious about it all–a nice combination of innocence and alertness.

We talked about philosophies (though having a BA in accounting and professing to not care much for the social sciences, she was pretty astute at it anyway) and we talked about relationships. It was an unusual conversation. She is only 25 and had no particular reason to sit and carry on such a conversation with someone 30 years her senior, especially with all the young men around. We even had several occasions when we just looked at each other, I was liking her and the moment and perhaps she was liking me and the moment. The time came when she had to go, we had exchanged first names only and that was it. She shook my hand and, I think, sincerely thanked me for the talk. It was great, it seemed honest, and the hour was gone, though it wasn’t. I went my way, genuinely grateful for the encounter and actually uplifted.

Soon after, in a store, I noticed a woman behind me in line. She was gorgeous, flat taking my breath away. I smiled (when I could breathe) and joked about what she was buying. She looked up, somewhat startled, having been in her own world, smiled and replied. A bit later, she glanced up again and we looked at each other. There was no denying it, we had a moment. I was flustered, I could feel her in my stomach, in my chest, in my throat, in my temples. It seemed like I had to remember to breathe. The cashier broke my bodily distortions by calling for my attention. I paid, looked back at the woman to find her attending to her purchases, so I walked (staggered?) out.

I sat in the car quieting myself with a question about what I should do. Then it seemed clear that I should let it go, I should file it as information about the carriage and look that I wanted, but that was all I should do (let’s face it, she didn’t return my attention when I left). It was amazing, and it felt right, and it felt good to listen and see the emergence of naturally occurring boundaries instead of trying to contrive them to suit myself.

I drove away attending to my surroundings, uplifted again, marveling at my day, carrying traffic tickets easily, wandering the streets like I didn’t have a care in the world, letting a conversation with a young woman be what it was, and letting a beautiful moment with a beautiful woman be what it was. It wasn’t time for anything else. Maybe I was actually learning something here.

I went back to my hotel, ate a little something, had a glass of wine, and watched television (sort of). I began to turn reflective, thinking about the day, about work, about my mother, and about my relationships.

It happened that I began to physically feel like I was encased, in a kind of energy cocoon, one that had blights or misshapened points on it. When my feelings turned to my mother’s death, the energy around my abdomen felt distorted, misaligned. I remembered all the medication that she had been on for years, I remembered all the medication that she was on in the last two years of her life, I remembered all the morphine she was given at end of her life. I could feel the distortions in my own body, like a vortex that tied up the life force and pinned it to one chakra or the other, leaving all the others without any more than just sustainable energy.

I was energy sick, manifested as a physicality. I could feel my relationships with the three women misaligned on my energy field. I could feel how my ill-timed bending of the energy around me to suit my sense of need, of longing, of fear in not having, had left its distortion imprinted on me. I could feel my perceptions of my parent’s energy locked onto my energy–my father’s introspective withdrawal into the world of alcohol, my mother’s aggravation with an unfair world. True, they were more than just those things, the life of them, the life of us, can escape past those misaligned areas on our energy being, but it seems like those misshapened spots act like magnets, drawing our energy to them unless we unleash an enormous effort to offset that draw, energy that might be better suited to healing rather than getting past the wounds.

Exhausted, I tried to sleep, but awoke a number of times, finally getting up feeling ill. I stood up as I was feeling this and began to run my hands up and down about a foot in front of my body. I could feel the cold shivers and goose bumps at certain points, especially my lower abdomen, my chest, my throat, and my forehead. As I attended to those spots, my body began to reel. I could feel things move within me as I manipulated the outside of me. My physical body did not like any of it, but I continued working those areas because it seemed like the movement helped at least a little bit. Still, those distorted places were painful and left an unpleasant residual as they moved and shifted.

Eventually, I began to notice improvement in my sense of well-being, finally finding a place where my energy relaxed and felt relieved. I laid back down in bed and cried. So many things, so much past, so many hurts, so much held on to–drawing energy like a starving animal. These cancers on our energy are sucking the life out of us, yet we tend to keep them like precious antiques.

Renewal, healing, manifesting, creating, intending, abundance, these are all things we have had available all along. Never has there been a moment when those gifts were not available, many have been the moments when we didn’t pay attention, distorting our lives and our energy in the process.

The process of untwisting ourselves is such a great shape-shifting that we tend to feel as though we will lose our identity, however misaligned it is. It is, after all, the only cohesiveness most of us have known.

We shall not. That identity shall remain, at least for awhile, as an artifact, as a fossil, to remind us of our past. Sometimes remembering the past helps us, by way of contrast, to create the future where we might celebrate our abundance and our fluidity and our freedom to intend and to create. Perhaps such knowing will keep that old identity from fighting us so much as we change. We certainly could use the energy. And with that marshaling of energy, there may be learning after all.

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