I MADE my song a coat
Covered with embroideries
Out of old mythologies
From heel to throat;
But the fools caught it,
Wore it in the world’s eyes
As though they’d wrought it.
Song, let them take it,
For there’s more enterprise
In walking naked.
William Butler Yeats
When I wrote yesterday’s blog post I had the same feeling I often have about what I write here — “Oh my GOD! You can’t say that! People already think you’re crazy enough as it is.” Well, I might be crazy, but I feel things very deeply, and at the bottom of all of that I think about how often it was the people who really told the truth about who they were and how hard things were but how they soldiered on anyway that really helped me and made a difference in my life. And how very rare those people are. Mostly people want to hide their faults and foibles so they look “good” or “right” to the world but when you do that do you know what happens? You start fooling yourself too.
I will also say here that inasmuch as I have many faults and foibles, and write very openly about them, I also have many qualities and traits that I am very proud of. I am very gentle and kind, I am compassionate and empathetic, loving and non-judgmental, and I care very deeply about the world and the people in it. I want to help. So yes, like Yeats, I believe that there is more enterprise in going naked. However…
People think they know me because of what I write here. They really don’t, and that is healthy on my part. I am like the woman above who is naked but holds a sheer piece of fabric up around her. Every single thing I write is absolutely true, and I really write about quite a lot of my life very openly, but the bits that I hold back are things that are so sacred to me that I don’t want to share them. To write like this, to live like this, to make these choices every single day is to walk a tightrope across the vast expanse of the cosmos knowing that on one side is the visible truth and on the other, the soul.
I spoke to someone at length today about what I call isness. There was a word I was searching for and it nearly drove me crazy not being able to remember it. I couldn’t remember the word but I remembered exactly where I read it. It was 30 or more years ago that I read it in the first book of Madeleine L’Engle’s Crosswicks Trilogy and I found it tonight. Page 6, from A Circle of Quiet. The word, ontology. L’Engle wrote…
“…ontology is my word for the summer… Ontology: the word about the essence of things; the word about being.”
I think I came to the idea of Dragonfly Cottage 15 years ago, and finally, 4 1/2 years ago, landed here in what would be the cottage I had dreamed of to spend my life on an ontological expedition. To come to a quiet place to meditate, and write, and think about the essence of things, about being, and in the process try to figure out what my place is or rather how to be in this world as a woman with bi polar disorder and all the rest, and though I suffer and struggle also pull the meaning of my life out of the rubble and know that despite it all I matter, as we all do, and when I write these blog posts I am pulling other pieces up out of the rubble. I can do surgery on myself with the sharp edge of my fountain pen nib and then transfer it here and stitch it all up or put it together in a way to share with you what I discovered when I opened myself up. I see dark scary truths, and I see real beauty. And because I know it is true about myself I know that it is true about you too. And I want to share that with you.
I want you not to be afraid, I want you to hold on, and I do what I can from where I am to try to help by writing these little notes and putting them into bottles and floating them out into the deep ocean of the interwebs via this blog. I wave a little from the shore and then as the post is off on it’s way, as the bottle floats out and disappears from view, it is time to move on to the next one. It doesn’t matter to me if they match up or follow a single thread or even make sense in the way that they read from beginning to end, but I will be absolutely true to what I know in this moment.
I told my friend today, for example, that mindfulness isn’t just a practice to me, something that I have written a lot about and something that I have taught, it is an essential tool for life and I mean essential. My friend talked about looking ahead to the future when she was perhaps into her 80’s and I said that while I of course think ahead some times I mostly don’t because if I don’t stay very present to this moment I am liable to fly off the planet. When you are bi polar you never know what you are going to encounter on any given day. Any day can be a good day or a hard day and you never know. It’s “Breakfast Surprise” on the menu every single morning when I get up. There are days that I am so waterlogged from no sleep, or the medication that I had to take to sleep, that I can hardly move my body to get out of bed. There are days when I have slept well but perhaps have some kind of appointment that means I have to leave the house. I will worry about that appointment for days in advance, I may very likely cancel and reschedule a few times before I ever do it unless it is really critical, and I can tell you that right now it has been almost 3 weeks since I have left the house, and this is how I am happiest.
But I can also tell you, if you read yesterday’s post, that today — drumroll please — I finally got through the whole mountain of paperwork on my desk, weeded out a ton of it that I could throw out, had another pile that has to be kept and filed, and then put the rest neatly in a folder and brought it here into The Cozy Room with me. This is actually to most people’s way of thinking a den, where the t.v. is, and the fireplace, between the studio and the laundry room with the kitchen up 3 steps out of this central room. This is the part of the house I really live most of my life in. I will work through the to-do’s in my neat folder all week and have them done by Friday. And I have almost all of the laundry done and will by tomorrow! (Don’t ask about the kitchen! My isness got lost in there.)
I have made good meals to eat and the dogs and I had a very sweet day. It’s been a very good day, but I didn’t know that at the outset. I had to inch my way into the day and kind of poke my head up out of the ground like the groundhog to see what the weather might be like. When I gain confidence I go a few inches at a time and then wow, I might get up to mad dashes and leaps covering a whole foot in a single bound. The pugs pass me in the garden.
The endpoint of this post is to say that people blog for all kinds of reasons in all kinds of ways but for me, and I have never really said this, I need to blog, not just to try to help others, and not just to share the bits and parts and pieces of my life, but for me it’s about accountability. I don’t know if anyone notices and I’m sure it doesn’t matter to anyone but me but when I can write a post and say, “I gotten through that mountain of paperwork today and I’ve almost got the laundry done!” it’s a way to be accountable about my life. My chosen life is the perfect one for me, alone, in solitude, needing a great deal of quiet to manage life at all, but it can also be lonely. I am not complaining and it doesn’t happen often, but being accountable on this blog about the things that I have to do, and how I slog my way through them, and where I stumble and fall, and then to show, like a little girl running to her mother with a skinned knee that she was indeed brave and got up and dusted herself off and didn’t cry too much, well, it is my connection to the outside world. I think I’m only just realizing this.
To this end I have to say a deeply felt thank you to all of my faithful readers, and to those who take time to comment I love you dearly, I cherish you, and I am not always good about answering because my energy flags and I go into overwhelm or have to lay down and take a nap. But do know that I read and reread your comments and they mean more than the sun, moon and stars to me, and Corinna, if you are reading this, it was your comment after yesterday’s post about “paperwork procrastination day” that got me going on mine. So thank you!
It matters, it really matters that you are here. I just wanted you to know that.
I walk naked, and you matter. I guess that’s what I came to say tonight…
Warm Regards & Deepest Affection to all…