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STEPPING INTO THE NEXT DAY – from Oaxaca to Cleveland

We’re packing up and getting rid of stuff, and the last couple days here seem like slow water going down a drain in a dirty sink.

If I think too much about life again in Cleveland, I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what it means. So I’m really not thinking about it too much. I don’t know how long I’ll be there. Maybe a year, maybe a few months, maybe the rest of my life. Depends on our whim & circumstance & tolerance for risk. I’ve decided I don’t have to know what’s going to happen, and that makes me feel free, as though the future is an unknown gift. All I have to do to receive it is step into the next day.

I’m looking at the avocado tree outside. A few months ago we couldn’t see any fruit. Now we’re in the dry season and the leaves are less lush, and I can see at least a hundred clustered near the top. It’s a holy tree for us, a pivot of meditation that dominates our living room window.

Steve’s cooking coffee in the other room. I hear him shuffling around, clinking mugs, stirring milk. Now he’s shuffling up the hall with both our mugs. Mine’s clear glass – metaphorical for wishes of clear head. His is bright yellow – his fourth “sunshine” cup in Oaxaca – he keeps breaking them accidentally.

I’m sitting down at the computer as I do every morning, actually, the whole day, unless I’m up on the roof reading. It used to be that everything on the computer was very interesting and I was happy to dig in the garden of myself. But I’ve had too much time gardening and have fostered some huge contest-winnable pumpkins, weird radishes, giant carrots, ginger witch hands.

I keep thinking I want to make sense out of this 15 months in Mexico. I know my perspective has changed here – and I wonder why – is it this place, or is it more the path I’ve taken, or is this what it means to be 36 years old?

I am dealing with reality on a moment by moment basis lately.

There is some letting go and acceptance of randomness now. To try to plan for the future is too hard, too painful (especially since I don’t believe humanity has much of a future), so I’ve kinda given it up. I used to be very future oriented. I remember talking with a good friend about my fears and seriously speculating about creating a commune. I remember freaking out about the hurricane in 2005 and buying lots of food to store, overreacting, thinking civilization was breaking down. (Well, it did break down, but it happened in New Orleans, not Cleveland. Or is that so?)

I guess I’ve learned that to dwell on contingency plans for the future is to worry, and the pain of worry ain’t worth it.

Maybe this experience has been more about me than learning about another culture, about filling up my eyes. I am more baffled by Mexico than ever, and I’m not a diligent student. I don’t care about facts. I care about my eyes. I am happy to have unpeeled my ears to a small extent, that I can have very simple conversations.

I’ve learned some humility in my journeys through skepticism to spiritualism to skepticism again. I’ve learned that I am fragile in the short term but resilient over the long run. I’ve gained some richness through the parallax of perspectives of insanity/sanity, sickness/health, tripping/straight, fogged smoking days/months of stepping out of this, medication withdrawal/freedom, talking/not talking/talking again, laughing/not laughing/laughing again, singing/not singing/singing again.

I have a bud of faith that I didn’t used to have.

Steve looks outside and sees beautiful colors and fruit trees. If I relax, I can see them too, otherwise I’m overwhelmed by a sense of scarcity or sameness, dry tortillas, concrete floors, dirt floors, people having to use wood fires for cooking. There is a gate on our street that is usually open and it’s a yard of rubble with shacks. Hardship impresses me more here than in Morocco, probably cuz Morocco was just so totally alien, or maybe cuz we’ve been here longer.

I hope I can continue to live in the moment, laughing, singing, letting everything go by without strain, or if there is pain, to let myself into a quiet moment, distracted by the static of existence.


3 Responses to “STEPPING INTO THE NEXT DAY – from Oaxaca to Cleveland”

  1. MadM says:

    “I don’t have to know what’s going to happen, and that makes me feel free, as though the future is an unknown gift. All I have to do to receive it is step into the next day.”
    Oh, I am right there, too! Though you have said it much more succinctly than I have been able to frame this feeling even to myself. This is why it’s good to know poets – thanks!

  2. Jack McGuane says:

    It sounds to me like you are learning how to release yesterday into the unchangeable past and welcome tomorrow in all it’s unpredictable weirdness without trying to manipulate past or future into what you think it ought to be or was. I like your comment about spirituality and skepticism and the idea I read in your lines that spiritual skepticism seems like a worthwhile life style.
    Hope to see you-all soon after you begin to recover from Mexico and prepare to accept whatever afflication or joy you may encounter in Cleveland.

  3. GD says:

    Reflection is healthy. Living in the here now,in the moment is best.

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