This post is formatted to reflect an original journal entry.
An afternoon with a lazy, cool attitude. Listening to Steely Dan and sipping herbal tea. Been reflecting on my journey through various stages of The Used Life and coming to view them more and more as a series of returns. That is, I began this blog with the objective of creating a space to do what comes naturally. As if having a place to be myself would allow me to create a more meaningful life, one that’s in line with my values, instincts, talents, personality. What I found: there is such a thing as trying too hard. But also, and more importantly: we must often regress in order to move forward.
I sense the whole thing was really a matter of returning to myself in stages. And I’d forgotten. Really and truly forgotten who I was—and not just what I liked to do or was good at as a young person, what my aspirations were—but what it felt like to be that person. To be a person who naturally and unwittingly is herself. And not a person who is trying very hard to turn herself into who she thinks she “should” be.
Happened first with a rekindling of my passion for psychology. Then poetry. Also my love of all things classic rock, vinyl records, memorabilia, etc. Even Eastern philosophy. And now, of all things, old mystery novels. The beginnings of an Agatha Christie collection. How that woke me up to what I was doing! Rediscovering my nature—nay, creating a radical change in my perception—by rekindling old interests, one at a time, and then bringing them forward. Creating with them. Making art. Making a person. (Not that I was entirely oblivious to all this, mind you, but I didn’t really see it—really feel it—until now.)
An observation: experiencing these things tells me who I am in an ineffable way. Like a shift in consciousness, or a return to a former way of seeing. With different eyes. And I don’t have to try at it. I mentioned this recently in a post on reading. That returning to books I once loved really made me feel I had come home to something. Reminded me who I am in a manner that defies description. A sense beyond sense. I imagine books have a special power to affect our consciousness in this way.
Also important: it matters to me that these experiences be sensual, physical, holistically engaging. That the books I’m reading be physical books. (And preferably old. If only because I love old books. I also love to collect things, especially old things.) That I spend time listening to vinyl records—and not just as background noise—but really listening. Objects that somehow become like artifacts. Symbols impregnated with meaning. The stuff of myth. The stuff of my very own personal myths. Carl Jung discusses this in Man and His Symbols.
I am struck by a thought. In order to be fully present, we’ve got to carry with us an essence of the past. To have a sense of who and how we are. Something that gives us an internal sense of rootedness. I imagine this can vary greatly from person to person and for creative people is almost always inextricably linked to creativity. Being in nature also provides me with this feeling in a unique and intensely spiritual way. But I wonder if, in the end, the search for meaning isn’t really just that: a search for memory. And if left to our own devices—to do what comes naturally—we will invariably lead ourselves down a path to the recovery of that memory. I think that must be my conclusion. Even though it now sounds far different from what I’d expected.
Another 5-star review…
I am delighted to share with you that my chapbook, Seven Road & Other Poems, has received another 5-star review on Etsy! Here’s what readers are saying:
“Beatifully written…my copy is already worn from reading through it over and over again. A perfect confluence of storytelling and of what it feels like to be human. This book of poetry is filled with lines that find permanent residence in your thoughts. Lines like, ‘life’s a current and we’re the ash, and there is no wisdom unless you make it’ remain with you and affirm the power of written word…Excellent…She nailed the art of writing…”
“ ‘You are the great seed that shatters all fables…’
To say the least, ‘Seven Road’ is so good. I haven’t enjoyed reading something so great in a long time. The title poem is a modern day epic; I didn’t want it to end but it stopped rightly where it needed to. I can’t compliment this work enough. It’s whimsically unpretentious and tuned in to the philosophical grasp of life’s greater purpose.”
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to read comments like this! Every copy of Seven Road & Other Poems is handmade to order and includes original, full-color artwork. You can purchase your copy now in my Etsy shop.