Friday, January 13, 2006

thinking too much...(centeredness)

"How many hours do I need to sleep to feel good tomorrow?"

Good question.

"How diversified should my portflio be?"

Good question.

"Is there enough milk in the fridge for cereal in the morning."

Very good question.

"Why do I get so crazy angry at the horrible freeway traffic?"

Great question.

But of all the speculative questions we ask, one is of paramount pertinence and I have caught myself avoiding it as of late, that is, "What do I want just now?"

It's wonderful working for the los angeles police department and having stints of five days in a row off. In fact I am in the middle of a fifteen day stretch of which I work only four of those days. And this is my regular schedule I'm living by. Nevertheless I find myself at the beginning of five day stretches off work worried about how busy I am and how quickly the break is going to disappear. I start planning out what I can and can't fit in. Then I feel too commited and start canceling all plans. Then I get bored and antsy. Then I start doing stuff like crazy and get tired out and feel like I'm running around from one thing to the next with always a next thing to do.

It's really messed up.

Have you ever noticed that even in a place like Southern California where Orange County residents buy off God to dumb down the season changes into a more or less constant late spring (last winter's rain is a perfect example of how the slowing market has been hard on all of us) maybe it's the appeal of spring colors that are more flattering to fair skin and blonde--what was I saying? oh, even here the weather goes through seasons. Sometimes you have just broken up with a girlfriend and are sad and lonely and have very little to do other than take walks through neighborhoods in Long Beach, or write poems, or sit and do nothing but think about your lonliness, growing into the beauty of a life of just watching: people with things to do walking on the sidewalks, young married couples strolling with a stroller, the birds that fly in swooping, coasting gangs of flight on fourth street and cherry from the telephone wires to roof top terraces to the southeast empty lot.

Sometimes though, you fall in love again and she's in love with you and you love your job and have a Church full of people you are really starting to know well and who care about you and you're still trying to stay in touch with the good friends you lived with for four years through college and now who live thirty miles away and your busy driving all over los angeles for work and for staying in touch and for exploring cool restaurants with the girl you're in love with: and sometimes those times are too busy, and too much, even when you have five day stints of work off.

So, I've recently been caught up in thinking about the ten thousand things I'd like to do before I pass on to sheol and I've not been able to just sit with the confines of the question, what do I want just now?

I have to stop thinking about the future. I have to stop thinking about how my dad never listened to me in the past growing up. I have to stop guessing at what other people might want. I have to stop thinking about the laundry I have to do. The dishes in the sink. The new savings account I want to set up. When I'm going to read War and Peace that I've been trying to read for the last six months. When my roommate and I are going to paint the pinkness that is our apartment living room. And so on and so fourth. I haven't called my mom in two weeks. I haven't written to a friend of mine in England in like six months. The potted vine that sits on top of our television is dying of thirst. When am I going to learn calculus? I wish I could live in south america for a year. and france. and visit home in Oregon soon. and learn to play piano. I can't stop.

But the only salvation is humility. To humble myself to only one preoccupation, only one hope, only one movement: to sit and write some words that don't say it quite right and don't account for it all, but that stab once or twice at a heart, even if it takes some tangents to get there. I learned once a number of years ago that nothing kills my desire to pray like keeping lists of things to pray for. And here I'm learning nearly the same thing.

Bu the good news is that this morning my roommate and I took the bus to eat breakfast when we could have driven. Sure I felt a little bit anxious about time, but atleast we still took the bus.

And I think there's a purpose to eventually wittling our largely introspective questions down to "What do I want just now?" That is, once we answer that question we can move on to more freeing and oblivious questions that breach the realm of introspection and release us into a big wide worry-less world of curiousity:

"Why does setting sun light turn only the small path of water gold and silver?"

Curious question.

"Why does traffic work the way it does? One lane moves forward, then another lane moves faster, and it's very hard to predict what lane will move faster next. Yet there must be some kind of order to it."

Very curious question.

"How would it taste if I used soy mild on my cereal instead of milk?"

Even curiousity shoud maintain it's limits.

But by and large, life becomes so much more simple when you live curiously.


Blogger Justin said...

Living curiously. Oh my friend. I remember someone told me that they thought it was a bad idea for you to go into the LAPD but I think it is the most lovely thing you've ever done, except reunite with that lovely lady.

Build a home, then ask questions.
I've attempted the other way around, and, here me all ye coming generations of Souls, it doesn't work.

A home can be as simple as a job. Working for the LAPD. Cuffing kids on the street for drug possesion.

I am always lifted up by reading your writing my friend.

10:22 AM  

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