Waiting For Now

A dull neutrality can be born out of the ups and downs of life. The inertia of this middle ground is likened to quicksand, where any movement or struggle just sends you down further into the muck. You don’t move an inch and you don’t dare to take a breath of hope in fear that it’ll make the situation worse. The possibility of never breaking free from that moment arises, but panicking would only quicken the descent. Blindness to the predicament doesn’t do a service either. You may forget about your impediment and make a fatal move. So you numbly surrender to the outcome, to the molasses that is the present.

Is this the true essence of now? Is this what the spirit of the present feels like? No, I’d say the real present is something much more joyful. It is freedom, love, purity of sheer existence. It is much like the literal representation in The Muppet Christmas Carol where a jovial red headed muppet sings a song for Scrooge to teach him a lesson about the magic of now. It is what we always expectantly project into the future, either just beyond the horizon, or much farther. It’s hard to live in the moment when it does not feel worthy of living in. I currently have not come to a conclusion, or have found any answer that gives guidance to this at this juncture of my life. I’ve even thrown around the idea of trying to write a short story about this in an attempt to find the answer. I would title it, like I have in this post, ‘Waiting For Now’.

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When what we want is in the distance, we attach that spirit of joy of the present along with it. I guess this is why many “new agers” talk so much about trying to attain abundance by already feeling like you have what you want. Time is, after all, only linear within the confines of our human perception. It is this idea that pushes me to imagine that I am in fact not sitting in a Starbucks on Long Island, but a privately owned cafe in California as I write this. I have already written Metanoia, and it is providing a second income so that I don’t have to work 40+ hour weeks to survive, so that I can explore other passions and ways of making money. I imagine the world going to shit, but that it doesn’t matter because the world I created for myself is safe and abundant with people and situations I’m meant to be around and encounter.

But my imagination can only take me so far in time and space. No matter how much I day dream, the reality is that I will wake up in the same bed tomorrow. Despite how ever introspective and insightful my followers might think I am, I do not know how to deal with this unfortunate reality, especially after trying so hard to change it. Where is the proverbial now, and how do I get there when traditional human customs do not bring me joy?

Right now I look outside and I see flowers bloomed in a summer that I waited so long for. If I had to guess I would say that it is the very nature of our lifestyles that makes it so impossible for us to be happy enough with the mere sight of this bloomed flower, and nothing else. Our lifestyles do not allow for a moment to fully enjoy the flower, the trip to the beach, or the camping trip. Have you ever felt an overwhelming sense of desperation while watching a sunset or playing a fun game, and then become confused about this sensation that came on so suddenly? I do almost ever week, and when it comes I don’t even feel like it is my own.

 In these moments I am uncontrollably mourning the death of the divine colors cast by the setting sun before it’s even over. I am lamenting over the fact that precious moments come in crumbs rather than wholesome meals.  I feel desperate to lose that moment because I’m allotted so few of them in a summer that becomes winter with the blink of an eye. I feel desperate to lose it because it is the only thing I truly value in this world, over anything that I can buy, or any lame social interaction that is to be had in this materialistic world. I value these crumbs more than the industry and the regimented lifestyle that consume every person. I don’t know when the next instance of oneness and belonging will come and when the sunset is gone, I feel like I have to part with my soul indefinitely. I have to go back to the quicksand, to the muck and the mud of a false present. I don’t want to be left alone with that fabrication any longer. That is how and why I find myself waiting for now, and I wonder if there is anyone waiting along with me.

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A few nights ago, I awoke at two in the morning covered in sweat. Uncomfortable enough to do something about it, I went upstairs to turn on the AC and stumbled down the hallway, the urge to get back into my bed overwhelming as always. But this time, as I walked past the back door, I was abruptly drawn to go outside and look at the stars.

Despite the strong pull, I had to stop for a moment. Was it safe out there when I was home alone? It is easy for me to feel alone in the middle of the night, even with someone sleeping close by. What was lurking in the dark? Ever since a nightmare I had years ago of a mysterious, malicious man coming at me in the night towards my house, it was difficult to not be scared of being in that doorway, let alone walk through it.

Once I shook myself out of the dazed sleepwalk, I quickly became aware of how silly this was. It was a beautiful, clear night and I’d be a fool to not enjoy it, if only for a moment.

I sat on the deck stairs, the air soft from land that emitted heat of the summer sun. I live right behind a highway, and it had never felt as still and quiet as it did then. I could feel the world sleep, and for the first time it brought peace instead of loneliness.

Suddenly something caught my attention, a flash of light in my left field of vision. I turned towards it, thinking it was a shooting star that I had missed, and I saw it again, this time as just a flash. “Hi!” I called out happily. Right then, a huge meteor flew across the sky. I laughed with a giddy lightness, and smiled at the thought of a small, grey alien with those giant characteristic eyes casting a stone across the waters of Earth’s sky to meet my salutation. It felt a lot like Interstellar, when Cooper tries to deliver a message to his daughter across time and space through a medium that surpasses all realms of our current understanding. Whatever was out there, I felt warmth and company in the light-polluted dampness of night.

  Upon reflection of the moment, the feeling of soft support and company was strange, given that it was scary to go outside alone in the dark in the first place. Once coming back inside, I realized my basement was more spooky than my backyard. The yard had a horizon that I forgot about, a backdrop with pinholes of light from other worlds calling out. It was a cramped space that I hid in that made me feel safe. Outside, I felt love and wonder. I questioned if people would change if they were forced to sleep under the night sky again. It’s strange to think that although we’re afraid to go out there due to exposure, it is actually more embracing and kind than the box we keep ourselves locked up in for comfort.

Contact with boundaries internal and external are necessary, breaching thresholds that harbor love and wonder, the sky a symbol of the frontiers of our minds, our psyche. External boundaries may even mirror internal ones, and so crossing one reciprocates the other. As they say “As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”  –Hermes Trismegistus 

It is not just about putting ourselves out there just so we don’t excessively shelter ourselves. It is about making contact with the divine, whatever that may be for each of us. It’s about looking out and wondering what is looking back, and what they see. It is about feeling the softness of our frontiers, not just their occasional harsh, unforgiving nature. Despite whatever lies in their crossing, the ultimate is love and compassion.

I walked back down stairs to my bed, forgetting to turn on the light to the staircase, holding on tightly to the railing when I judged the last step. When I got to the bottom, I felt it level, and walked off onto trustworthy ground.

Life as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP)

I wince at the roar of machines churning, the walls of my basement shaking. Others are numb to it, but to me this defilement of the environment is likened to a dentist drilling into someone’s gums, the churning teeth and veins the same as butchered wood and roots. It is all a bloody, gory mess either way. For me, this is what it means to be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).

For those who consider themselves a HSP, loud noises and large crowds are a common deterrence, but for someone who is spiritually and emotionally connected to the Earth like me, the abuse the environment takes every day is a particular nuisance. It’s not easy being a HSP and living where I live. Now that it’s summer, someone in the neighborhood is always cutting down a tree, pounding down into the earth to get rid of it’s roots for some project out of self service. As if they don’t have enough non-indigenous plants that require loads of chemicals and water rather than using the space and resources to feed themselves, Earth’s ultimate gift to humanity. I’ve always said that humans are a species that rake up leaves so that they can put down fertilizer. Everything we do is backwards and without consideration.

Where I live, the population is 7.6 million, higher than the country of Norway, on a piece of land that spans 118 miles. It wears on someone like me, and there is not a passing moment where I am desperate to leave the bickering, angry people who do not even realize just how unhappy they are, that life is not a fixed state but something ever-changing and separate from their perceived reality. It is the collective unconscious that I seek to escape, the people who do not want to ask questions, who do not work on themselves and merely exist for empty pleasures.

On a side note, I’m here because there’s no longer a place in the country where a recent college graduate can live off of minimum wage while looking for a job in their field (if you know of a place near the coast, let me know).

Most are numbed, and raised to accept the desecration of nature. They are completely disconnected in their minds and hearts, although not in their physicality as science refutes this. Atoms in your body are derived from the universe, with our planet being our closest relative. Everything is recycled and necessary for a healthy biome, and since humans live here and were created here, they are not above this.

As a HSP, I feel this without a choice, and I walk around with a wall around me just so that I don’t get sick, but this is no way to live. I sometimes wonder if I don’t know who I truly am, as I’ve never been able to live in a constant outward expression of authenticity, although I’ve been doing the best I can to slowly put pieces of myself together to see the whole picture. Walls make it difficult to reach out to anything, to open up and experience what is left, or meant to be experienced.

Perhaps what is worse about everything is that us highly sensitive people are also expected to not be bothered by these things amidst a world of desensitized zombies. It is not normal to be on edge, to be tired, to not want to go out into loud clamoring nonsense. I hear the voice of the collective unconscious, the voice we’ve created, it says “Now go behave and party your evenings away until you no longer have the capacity to think or feel. You do not need real relationships, only people to pass the time with. Also, make sure you have a job that supports this habit, and don’t forget the gym membership. Running on a treadmill for 2 hours burns more calories than a stroll through nature. You’ll need that from all the drinking.” Now, I never partake in this atmosphere because it is in complete dissonance to my being, but it’s a constant roar that can be heard in the background, a thriving culture for much of the human population.

If by any chance you are a HSP and have a blog, I challenge you to write a post about what it’s like for you. Include whatever you want in it, whether it’s a focus on what deters you the most, or additional thoughts on the matter. Tag me in the post or let me know so that I see what your input is. If you don’t have a blog, let me know by leaving a comment.

Featured image by Ryan Wilson