Monday, June 13, 2011

pomp and circumstance

While it wasn't my first - or God help me, my last - probably my most "defining" act of adult impetuousness anyway, was when I dropped out of high school in November of my senior year. I got my GED four months later, and I do have some college credits, so my "academic career" - haha! - wasn't irrevocably damaged. But the pattern I set in to motion with that decision still operates to this day. I wanted away from my stepfather. I wanted out of my house. I wanted out of my probation. I wanted away from "Lord of the Flies." I wanted relief from my depressed mind - period. Blind to better ways of coping, I quit and ran away. And in one fashion or another, I've been running ever since.

Once you decide that creeping off from something scary or challenging is something that you're willing and able to do, it becomes a decision that much easier to repeat in the future. And repeated over and over again through time, it comes to be seen as "the way it is." It becomes accepted as just "what I do" and "what I am" - which, in reality, are not static things. There's always the potential for change; Who You Are is eternally unfolding from moment to moment. But if you remain blind to that potential or just don't know how to unlock it, mental habits are bound to continue overriding it...until they don't anymore.

I have this on my mind because last week, my younger brother graduated from high school. My mom, stepfather, aunt and I all attended the ceremony; Grams and others watched on TV and online. It was held downtown at the Dallas Convention Center and the stadium was full up  It was one of the biggest - if not the biggest (I can't remember exactly what they said ) - graduating class in the United States this year, with over 1400 students. And with over 1400 students allotted six tickets each, that made for a stadium packed with thousands of people - and a very surreal experience for Yours Truly. It was awesome, though.

Surprisingly, I had little anxiety the entire evening, something for which I'm very grateful. I actually enjoyed myself. I got to sit in my little seat and observe the assembled mass of people gathered all around. Nearer the end of the alphabet than the beginning, it took a while for my brother to cross the stage, but my aunt and I took turns playing Scrabble against each other on her phone while we waited, so time's effects were tame. As my aunt would be taking her turns, my focus darted back and forth between the suspended big screens that magnified the graduates upon the stage to the witnessing of nothing in particular. The unusual-ness of the situation led to a slight shift in perspective. A sudden, keen awareness of actually being located in space, and the feeling of being but one link in a semi-circular formed chain of Oneness led to everything being perceived as less and less personal, which I assume is the reason I didn't notice too much anxiety taking place. Minus an identified ego, where's the problem? It was an odd feeling to look out from my eyes to see so many people before me lined up in rows that stacked upon each other, sitting down and conversing, watching below, cheering at the calling of their loved ones' names, and the random, blinking flashes of camera light - so high up from the ground. The visual anomaly and very felt energy came at me from most directions and occupied almost my entire field of vision. There was a temporary glimpse of just how small I am. Or how big We are. I felt myself to be a single point of still, unknowable consciousness in an entire sea of humanity, suffused with seemingly separate minds - countless thoughts in flux, varied apprehensions, recollections and dreams. All swirling around in a not so physical, physical reality. And this was just one stadium, in one city, on an enormous planet plus universe - rendering me not so special, and not so different. The shift in awareness didn't last, but it's something I'm able to look back on as a pointer.

I've never really seen anything through to the finish line. No accomplishments like that of a graduation. So all I can do is imagine the relief that's felt, that sense of pride one must feel when they set an intention and consistently sail towards it regardless of the sometimes choppy waters. And when I do, it's clear to me just how deserving this makes them of the utmost pomp. :)  It honestly inspires me. I look to my brother and many others as examples of what can be done.  Beyond the idea of existing as a flawed, separate "someone" ensnared by ancient thoughts, lies that Awareness I periodically open up to, that's capable of manifesting so much more than what has been.

I'm seeing it. I dig it. I feel it more and more.


  1. if it makes you feel any more light hearted, i finished both high school and college and i'm still a royal mess ;)

    like they say, when you get "there", "there" just becomes "here" with a different phone number.

  2. Haha! That's the thing. Regardless of our stories and of our accomplishments or lack thereof - we're all royal messes. But we're all pretty damn cool too. It's one sliver of a lifetime. Using it the way I occasionally do really doesn't serve me. At all. Just curious: what was your major?

  3. Gosh, you are such a talented writer, Jeff. Every time I set out to read one of your posts, I end up being totally sucked in (in the best possible way). If I were you, I'd see clicking "post" or "publish" as a finish line-- you're so brilliant and honest and genuine, and that's an accomplishment that few can claim.

    P.S. Hi, how are ya?

  4. Hey Elizabeth, I'm good, thanks! You know how hysterical I think you are and how much I enjoy your blog, so your kinds words really do mean a lot to me. I'm glad you came by!

  5. I came to say what Elizabeth said: I most respectfully disgree with your assessment that you have never seen anything through to completion!

    every post is an accomplishment, every connection you make online (including me!) happened because you followed through.

    So the important stuff, or the stuff that really matters, you finish. The other stuff, meh ... it can finish itself if necessary.

    I personally like your occasionally rebellious, impetuous streak. I think it's part of your charm.

    Any hey, Byron Katie would ask if can you be absolutely sure it's true that "Using it the way I occasionally do really doesn't serve me." (heh heh heh. I'm feeling frisky today,
    can ya tell?)

  6. This was great, Karen - thank you! I really do agree with you. The connections and the Love I feel when I read and learn from you and others, as well as when I share - really are what matter to me most. There is nothing small about that. So much there is to question!