“Breaking Open” the Sky

We are not trapped or locked up

in these bones. No, no.

We are free to change.

And love changes us.

And if we can love one another,

we can break open the sky.

Walter Mosley

Let’s start shattering some glass ceilings, as practice for the time we break open the sky. There is no need to confine ourselves to one way as opposed to another.

It’s freeing, change, and whether we invite it in or not, it finds us—ultimately, as love.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

 

As Long As There Is Light

For me, mindfulness is the source of infinite possibilities. In mining the details of the present, I set up my options for the future. Yet, nothing stays, even in stone.

I like the fluidity of the present but the past is immutable. Once, I spent a lot of time there but rarely do I visit now, which does not keep my mind from offering.

Memory after memory rolls by; action captured as still life. Mindfulness through a philosophical perspective.

However, my reality on this day is anything but abstract. My physical pain is beyond the distraction level, and it shows no sign of abating.

Recent lab report results support the presence of increased inflammation and the ever-present chronic anemia.

I don’t usually post on such a day but working with the reality I have–every day–is the purpose of Aim For Even (AFE).

For decades, I lost days and jobs trying to rest so that the days to come would be better. Sometimes, that took months or even years. In chronic illness, rest is elusive. The body is at war. Mine is fighting itself and has been for four decades.

Some seven years ago I began working with my day-to-day reality rather than discarding a day because I could not meet expectations. I immersed myself in the experience of being chronically ill–“sat with it” through hours of mindful meditation.

It is a practice I never left.

I try to bring an evenness of mind into the experience of my day. It requires an ongoing adjustment of my energy. It means I must stay present, no matter what. That’s AFE.

I am old and have not aged well. And yes, that once swallowed hard. I no longer look at my face in terms of how it may be filtered but as is. There is still light in my eyes.

I want to live the rest of my life a #DailyDose at a time, preferably with equanimity. I fail on so many days. Still, I immerse myself completely into any activity–even the most mundane—it is how I learn another way, find a new option, or my perspective broadens.

In equanimity, there is space for signals from both body and mind. I am not transcending either one but sitting with both. I know my pain level will change— life is impermanent— I choose not to attach to that pain nor do I avoid its presence.

I make room for it. Rather than rising and falling with the peaks and valleys of pain, I meet it at its base. Impermanence will do the rest.

In some ways, change has lost its edge for me, not that I don’t give it respect. I do. I don’t fear it. Indeed, in my more philosophical moments, I wonder why I ever did.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Essence of Mirage

If equanimity opens me to the colors of the day, mindfulness provides the canvas. These are my daily tools, and I keep them close. If I do not, ego will send me in search of something so promising that to escape the day seems my only choice.

As well, I am provided 1001 reasons why inattentiveness to the day and its requirements is my best course. Sometimes this is true but mostly, it is a mirage.

Ego is formidable and endless but acknowledging–not avoiding or attaching–to such strong desire is the pause I need. I go to a poem, albeit one of a Victorian girl new to dreams. No matter; its essence provides what I need.

Mirage

The hope I dreamed of was a dream,

Was but a dream; and now I wake

Exceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,

For a dream’s sake.

I hang my harp upon a tree,

A weeping willow in a lake;

I hang my silenced harp there, wrung and snapt

For a dream’s sake.

Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;

My silent heart, lie still and break:

Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed

For a dream’s sake.

Christina Rossetti (c. 1842)

The line that lingers is “life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed.” It is what I need for this day, the day I have, and I am attentive to its canvas.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

In Science There is No Silence

It is an ego kind of day, if I am not careful. Oh, I know there is no satisfying the ego for when I follow its urging, our travels never end but we don’t get anywhere, either.

Meditation has taught me to keep the ego’s chatter in the background rather than front and center. This is particularly helpful on days when words are few but thoughts are one spring canvas after another.

So much possibility, spring–the earth coming into being yet again–but my concern for the planet clouds my celebration. It is not yet Rachel Carson’s “silent spring” but I cannot let my ego lull me into a false one, either.

Now, science is under threat of silence. Without science, a silent spring is assured and for some species already accomplished. That’s discomfiting, and my ego almost goes silent.

I’m not sure we are here to be comfortable, not always, anyway. I know we are here to experience what it is to be human– self-aware, yes–as well, in awe of our place on this planet.

So often, we treat ourselves and our world as if they are not fragile. Each is capable of being lost forever.

Science asks questions, and the longer I live, the more convinced I am that to live is to question. Answers come and go but questions return time and again from different paths. Just because we are familiar with a question does not mean it is asking what it once did.

My ego does not appreciate such subtlety; it seeks the ever-elusive satisfaction and even promises such if I will just….

I will explore the cascade of spring that is in this day, for it is the moment I have but I am mindful of my place on this planet. Mary Oliver said “attention is the beginning of devotion.”

And so it is. In raised voice, may we devote ourselves to science. For if we do not, silent spring is assured.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

The Road That Always Awaits

On those days when my energy is prone to spikes and subsequent lows, I return to this image, “The Road Awaits.” I pause, knowing I will walk through the rest of my day but in this moment, I await an evenness of mind.

Margaret Atwood wrote that “a word after a word after a word is power.” It is a path, this power, one every lover of words walks whenever possible. Not all paths are open to all. Some demand all.

Increasingly, I am fond of tweeting, the challenge of 140 characters with which to build words. The immediacy of the delivery creates paths everywhere. Some go nowhere and others make impressions I will never know.

Most of my words construct paths I will never walk, which is as it should be. Once I put together sentences, paragraphs become a message, perhaps one that awaits you. If so, no word in that path is ever mine again, not completely.

Surely, words return, singularly or in sentences. If the path I provided is thoughtful, it will join others as a road to places unseen and people unknown. When I am thoughtless, the possibilities are no less.

It is a path, this power.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

Some Stretching and Rearranging

Today’s #LongerView receives a bit of clarification in the post, Working with Myself Rather Than Against. The post also mentions my beginning to write an AFE book.

That means I will need some writing time so I will be posting on weekdays only. #LongerView posts will continue to appear on Sundays. As always, I provide the bench.

I read your thoughtful comments carefully. If there is some aspect of AFE that you would like to see in the book or in AFE posts, just let me know in the comments or contact me at evennessofmind@gmail.com.

I’m so grateful you are here.

 

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

When There Is No Other Name

Sometimes, I leave too much unwritten but then, there are those times I “run aground” a metaphor. My writing lies somewhere between poetry and prose, falling short of either. Yet, it reflects the way I live now, a place in between.

Yesterday’s post mentions an acceptance of nothingness, as if there were no fear attached. In a society that values objects, possessions, the security of identity–more than 10,000 things–nothingness is its own terror.

I’m not a stranger to that terror for most of my life nothingness was my greatest fear, if I had known the concept. Some would argue that I do not have “enough things” to appreciate nothingness. They would not be wrong, which is not to say they are right.

Aging may be an advantage in assuming a larger perspective on things and no things. I know chronic illness is. After 40 years, I get impermanence–it is insurance against stasis–it is rarely comforting, almost always challenging, but it offers options.

Opportunity, however, is not without loss. It took me years to accept that. Sometimes, opportunity knocked elsewhere before coming back round to me. Ultimately, I had to let go of what I could not live without. Yet, here I am.

Whether reading or writing, I have always loved words. They give me solace, like the nameless Tao and the 10,000 things it manifests. For me, nothingness is the nameless of which I catch a glimpse from time to time. Sometimes, with one of my 10,000 words, I bravely name it poetry.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.