Saturday, January 30, 2010

a rowing song

I started a journal when I was 15 years old and kept it for eight or nine years, until one day, it was clear that all of my writings were just memories of a someone - of many "selves" - that had come, existed for a while, and then passed away. Each entry was written as if from a different entity, each from a different perspective and point in time. But all that they really had in common was a name, and the illusory string of memories that bound them together.

But were they all one and the same? Did they all really amount to a cohesive, permanent, dependable "I?"


Only fleeting thoughts would say otherwise.

And on that day, I knew that. They all just became words to me at that point. I realized in a bigger way that those countless other "selves" were not me. And they spoke of lives that were not my own. They believed in things, relished and were charmed by things, hated and made certain conclusions about things - that I did not, and would not. And while I did make a point to write about all of my experiences - good and bad, the joy and disquiet - what this journal I'd been keeping, this prized life story I loved so well, represented to me a very flawed, very unhappy young man.

I always liked the idea of a journal for its potential to be left behind as an artifact. I liked the idea that one day after I'd long been dead, someone could come across the pages of my life story and finally know, and even have compassion for, the person that I was. I didn't expect anyone to understand me now. I didn't dare let anyone know who I truly was while I was here and breathing. No, I thought, that would be too dangerous; besides, there would be no genuine takers. I decided I'd just write it all down safely and quietly with my pen - and then one day, some somebody will happen upon these pages of my life and say, "Wow! I really "get" this guy! I really hear his voice. I have felt those same exact fears and I've celebrated those same sorts of joys." I always figured that with that reader and their understanding of me, my existence would have been justified. Knowing that someone else - even though I'd never met them or ever would - that they "got" me, and really, really heard me - would have made all my silly, vain, desperate, hopeful experiences of life worthwhile.

And then on that day, a few years ago, I took all the journals that I'd ever kept - with poems, drawings, accounts of life - and I tore the pages out, shredded them and threw away the book covers. I saved a lot of the poems, but the rest was gone. It felt strange because I had so firmly held on to that story - my story. Even though it was about a character I didn't always love. But when I really started to see it literally was no longer "me," it felt increasingly more logical not to hang on to it anymore.

Memories of those joys and sorrows remained. The persona, however, did indeed fade. And do you know what happened? New stories, new fears, new possibilities - a new parade of passing "selves" - sprouted up in their place.

In short - mind continued living its life, weaving it's bittersweet tales of what it is to be human. That is what it does.

And it will do it again this time, too - because I'm going to make this my last blog post.

I've been trying to find the right words to explain why, and I'm really not sure if I'll be able to. I'll just say that in the way that my old private journals came to represent a sad, flawed sort of Jeff, this blog has come to represent a spiritually seeking sort of Jeff. They both ended up making a character out of me - and a teensy inauthentic one, at that. I find myself wanting to come and write about all my experiences in the new ways I've begun to see things. I come here and want to share new perspectives and compare them with how I used to see things. I want to prove to myself, by remembering it and putting it in to words, that I am okay and that I'm better than I was before. Better as in: smarter, keener, wiser, more loved, more free, improved.

But all of that is just more storytelling. It's a much happier story. It's beautiful and it's honest. I do love sharing new perspectives. I adore connecting with souls I think I understand and whom I feel understand me. But at its core, keeping this blog is just another way of propping up my ego, of propagating the story that I'm someone separate who has something to say, somewhere to go, something to gain - and I know better. There is nothing wrong with it. There is nothing wrong with all that I've just said. In fact, I'm going to keep reading blogs, keep reading books, keep soaking up all of the spiritual wisdom and stories that I can get my awareness wrapped around. Sharing is how we learn; I believe it's necessary. Words, teachings, epiphanies, philosophies, examples given - they are vital. It's just a matter of how you choose to use them. My motives are what I question. What I get out of my own writings is what I am suspect of. Just as my old journals needed to be put aside because they no longer served me, so too, does this journal need to come to an end. Because until my heart is pure, I don't want to use my words this way...just to be on the safe side. I'm too prone to zig-zagging. ;-)

So, I'm done now.

I'm going to sit down some more and listen.

There weren't many of you, but the readers that I've had - thank you.
That you cared. That you received me. That you listened.
Thank you, truly.

Is it dumb that something like this would almost bring tears to my eyes?

After all, it's just another sand castle.
It's just another story, a passage of time.
Fun, but fleeting.

Like all the waves -
that move along the surface of -
Who We Really Are.

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