To the memory of my dear friend and mentor, Joe Ann Cain.
Blogging for you this past week was very stimulating for me, and raised many questions related to psychopathology. What is normal, what is abnormal? How much is nature, how much is nuture? Who is in, who is out? These questions still haunt me.
In another thread, I found myself wondering: where does the time go? And why do I fill mine up so much? Like the girl who is texting while riding her bike, it always seems to me that it is not enough to do only one thing at a time. I should be doing at least two things. Maybe three. But then, do all the things suffer from my divided attention?
I had at least two friends who read the blog this past week tell me that they felt they shared my same tendency to “over-task.” Why do we do this? Why do I do this? Does all this activity really nourish my soul, or is it simply a way to fill the void? It seems to be true: nature abhors a vacuum.
Am I in a four-dimensional state of horror vacui, fear of emptiness? Swiss "outsider artist," Adolf Wölfli had to fill every space on the page with line, form, or color. What if I could step into and embrace not only empty space, but also empty time?
I am a hoarder. But instead of keeping piles of newspapers in my dining room, drawers full of rubber bands in my kitchen, and carefully folded mesh onion bags in the pantry closet, I “hoard” activity. Am I afraid to just do nothing? Yes, I am.
Hey, as long as I do things that are productive, that contribute to my community, my family, and myself, what is the problem? There are poems to be written, injustices to rectify. There is water to carry, wood to chop. Why shouldn’t I stay busy, if I help make the world a better place?
I don’t know.
It just doesn’t feel right to be busy this way all the time. Without some emptiness, the fullness is incomplete. And yet, I need to find my own fullness that is in me. I need to take care of myself before I can take care of anyone else. Like they say on the airplane, secure your own air mask first, then help those around you.
And so. It is time to embrace my negative space, my silence, my black hole. I have to empty my cup in order to refill it. I have to drive my car until I run out of gas in the middle of the proverbial nowhere, get out, and sit in a cornfield for a while. I have to sit perfectly still and do nothing.
Maybe that is where the next chapter of creation will begin, in the place where there is nothing, “…in a place without form and void, where darkness is upon the face of the deep.” Genesis, chapter 1, verse 2.
Maybe, if I step back, stop, and be quiet, I will be able to see my creation, and to see that it is all good, even without making anything more. It is what it is and what it is is enough. I don’t need 47 kinds of toothpaste. I need only one. Only one is plenty. I’m not giving up. I’m just giving in. I’m just asking myself permission to take a break.
I would like to end of my week of BAP blogging with one more very short poem from Wisława Szymborska. I still can't get the blog tool to obey to my command for single spaces between lines, so please imagine them wih the proper spacing :
The Three Oddest Words
When I pronounce the word Future,
the first syllable already belongs to the past.
When I pronounce the world Silence,
I destroy it.
When I pronounce the word Nothing,
I make something no nonbeing can hold.
Thank you all for holding on with me through the week. I look forward to crossing paths with you all again, some time in the soon-to-be, not-so-silent future.