"The nothing that is not there, and the nothing that is..." (Wallace Stevens)
Meditation is a personal thing. It can be formal, ritualistic, as well as collective with others. Mantras apparently assist the process to empty the mind of its confused, convoluted conversations with itself. Personally, I have never learned the techniques of formal meditation, whereby one can apparently go into a type of trance and come out of it ten minutes later feeling like they have just had a two hour nap or a mini-vacation.
What works for me is retreating to a zone of solitude within myself. According to my mother, I have been doing this since I was a child. Perhaps, in the early years, it was an involuntary, semi-autistic state. At one point my parents had my hearing tested because of the frequent occasions when I would not/could not respond to their voices. As an adult it is now primarily a voluntary state that I will myself into; although I am sure there are still times when my "disinterestedness" is autonomic. "You're not listening to me", my daughter will say, when in fact I feel very interested and focussed on her words. But, clearly, something about the glaze of my eyes, the shift of the gaze suggests otherwise. It is like having multiple tabs open on the brain that are occupying my attention.
"Pay attention", said Linda Loman, in Arthur Miller's play, "Death of a Salesman". Everyone deserves his share of attention. It is all part of the social and human desire for respect, understanding, appreciation, and love. But all too often, I think, we don't pay enough attention to ourselves. We are too busy waiting for, sometimes longing for, the attention of others. That is the true narcissism of our society, this need for others to validate our worth.
So this tendency to retreat within myself is both a blessing and a curse. I sometimes revel in the nothingness, pride myself on my independent ability to live within myself without need for constant external stimulation or the approval of others. I will sometimes announce to my partner that I am having a Greta Garbo day. "I vant to be left alone." But I do need to remind myself that those I love around me, deserve my attention, without distractions. Otherwise when I do need their stimulation and love, there may be a "nothing that is." It is a challenge I continue to embrace.
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WRITING ONE'S LIFE
Whether we realize it or not, we are all authors in one way or another. As children we created worlds that disappeared when realism intruded into our psyches. Who of us did not have imaginary friends? Some of us still do.
As we go through the most productive periods of our lives, however, we are compelled by responsibilities to live realistically within the cooperative confines of family and societal expectations. One of the joys of Aging, if we allow it, is that we are now able to escape the bonds of other's expectations. We have earned the right to create and recreate our lives at will.
Occasionally we may go back to reread our favourite moments (memories), but new books, people, locations, ideas are awaiting our arrival. Why would we want to disappoint them or ourselves.
In this site I hope to explore all the many ways women of my generation are choosing to deviate (ooh, like that term) from the horizontal line, and instead will squiggle, turn right, turn left, jump up and down, anything except onward as usual. I hope you will join me in exploring all of our creative options as we live our lives with gusto and elan.