I spent today alone in quiet observation. It was not my intention. It was the result of some uncontrollable force that had taken charge of my energy. The assault left me impotent to act. I reluctantly succumbed to my present lack. I felt defeated and helpless. In the thief’s absconding with my energy, I felt defenseless and out-of-control.
At first, I observed my resistance to BEING IN OBSERVATION. I have been resisting these feelings for a while now. Who would want to observe the feelings of defeat and helplessness? It was like being in a foreign country. I did not know the language nor the customs.
But, I was drawn by this undeniable force to give it a try. Somehow, I knew the experience would broaden the depth of my knowledge of myself. I sensed that by being more connected, I would be more capable of discovering and morphing into a new version of my former self. And, due to my inability to act, I had to find another way to BE.
Maybe I could metaphysically exchange my life of a caterpillar for that of a butterfly! Instead of focusing on the ground below me, I could focus on the expansive sky around me! Maybe, like visiting a foreign country, I would ultimately integrate its language and customs into my persona, blossoming into a more colorful and mysterious version of myself.
My first realization was that I was still observing myself – my own experience. Real observation, engaged in for the purpose of connection, would have to insist on inclusion and the integration of self with others and the environment. If this is true, then I would have to leave my ego focus for a broader, more soul-centered focus. My ego cringed at this idea!
It’s kind of like making a cake. You need lots of ingredients. When they are all mixed together, the separate items are no longer recognizable. I desired connection. But, what would I look like if I made the connection? I both yearned for and feared the answer to this question. The butterfly metaphor aside, I feared I would melt into the generic social pot and become just another Twinkie – eternal; incapable of chang and soulless. I wanted to be a uniquely designed cake from Carlo’s Bake Shop in Brooklyn, a Buddy Valastro one-of-a-kind. If cakes are humanity, then Buddy Valastro must be God.
I nervously outstretched my egocentric arms to pull my environment closer to me. The two arms I usually use to pat myself on the back or admonish myself with a slap on the wrist, were conditioned for self-interest. I relaxed, as I often do when trying something new and unfamiliar. My breath grew long and expansive. It unfurled like a New Year’s Eve blow horn. The sound attracted attention. It heralded in snippets of information to my now receptive ears.
I needed to become more authentic, more connected to the soul of my existence rather than the sum of the acts of my existence. I inhaled again as a wave of relief washed over me. I was not alone. I was never alone. I had simply forgotten that we are all atoms spinning around to give a perception of form and mass. In reality, we are all the same matter driven by our individual attraction to other particles/elements. We are no more unique or less glorious than the individual stars that make up the heavens. Each star shining to create a spectacle of grandeur and mystery to those who will observe.
I will never feel a part of this wondrous connections of atoms if I insist on participating in the world at the speed of light. Movement distorts the images that whizz by on my way to becoming. We can’t observe from the window of a car going 60 mph. We must be still like the dancer who spins while keeping her head focused or the star that emits light without movement. The ocean does not move without the beckoning of the moon. And the moon turns the tides with a focused attention on its essential role. The ocean does not move without the moon. The moon would be lost in the expansive sky if it did not have the job of keeping the ocean in synch with gravity. The earth’s oceans would literally spill over if the moon abandoned its critical and unique role to go off on a journey of self-discovery. The trick is to discovery our more soulful collective role as an integral part of a universal work of art.
So, the answer to who I should be when I am not myself is that I should be a part of something greater than myself where the fears of being alone, out-of-control and helpless are not congruent because they are imposed by ideas of the self as autonomous and separate.