Be Like Water

Earlier this week, I was thinking about Jerry's stated aim that we develop a "state of ease" with the things we do, and a memory from my time in Spain popped into my head.

In English, we talk of being fluent in something. In Spanish (Castilian, anyway), the idiomatic translation is con soltura. The English sentence, "I speak fluently," translates to, "Hablo con soltura." I've always liked the phrase. I understood it via what it evoked: soltura always conjured for me an ease of motion, kind of like someone comfortably grooving to music.

When this memory popped up, I sought a literal translation; Google Translate offered "looseness." So then "hablo con soltura" means literally, "I speak with looseness" or "I speak with ease."

As I thought more about it, I realized I didn't really know what "fluent" meant. I mean, I understand the word just fine. Obviously, I know when and how to use it. But most (all?) words like that, words that encapsulate a kind of complicated abstract concept, have an underlying implicit metaphor. And in the case of fluent, I couldn't figure out what it was.

So I went to the OED. Perhaps this should have been obvious, but fluent comes from the Latin word meaning to flow. (The same root gives us fluid.) Thus fluent means flowing, ready to flow, fluid.

Thus, through the Spanish phrase, con soltura, I find myself connecting the two languages: when you are doing something fluently, doing something con soltura, you are doing it with ease. You are doing it the way water flows.

"Do it easier" is an admonition Jerry often gives. I understand it better now.

Be like water.

The Long Path to Winning the Love of Your Barista, Part 1

her dreadlocks and her tattoos and the two gemstones flat against the skin at the end of her comely eyebrow so that I asked her to my eternal chagrin, where's the party? and she was like, what? and I was like, the bling. On your face. And I pointed. And she was like, oh, you mean my piercing? and suddenly I was very old.

So I have been very tactical in my approach to earning her passionate love. It is best not to fuck with the barista's patience. We forget this, I think, but she is a purveyor of mind-altering drugs and for the caffeine addicts among us she is the shining golden path to a shitty morning turning better, and so they are ready to suck her teat, metaphorically, like frightened babes, which is why she's hit on 8,000 times a day by fawning addicts hungering for their fix.

Her special magic is that she is brightly pleasant to everyone, which of course makes neanderthals like, yes, myself think that she's expressing some just-above-liminal flirtation instead of just being nice because she's nice to people.

So I have been casually and intermittently visiting her every so often. No pattern to my visits, no specific times. Indeed, often when I visit her she isn't even there and so presumably only feels it by the echos that my presence leaves in her very world which sorry I'm getting a little carried away I'm really pretty attracted to her.


I went hunting through my old hard drives looking for a certain picture, and while doing so I came across another picture, wholly unexpected.

It was a picture of her and me together. Her and me together in a golden light, smiling.

I do not remember this as a bright time, you understand. I remember anguish and anger. I remember unhappiness. I remember darkness. You remember that time too, I bet: when the Ant People and the Water Nomads banded together to attack the purification plant. The picture is from the days just before their assault.

Also, we kind of fought a lot.

In the picture, bathed in a golden light, her and me in uniform (we knew of them massing, you remember) and we are with our arms around each other and the smiles on our faces are broad and pure.

It is hard to remember now that we were so fully in love.

The assault came as we knew it would and though we defeated them (as we knew we would), the casualties were not light and each of us survived uninjured but neither she nor I nor we survived unscathed. The Ant People returned underground, and the Water Nomads fled, routed, and our platoon split. Some sealed the tunnels as best we could, some gave chase, some stayed to tend to the damage. I went out, way out. She stayed behind. I came back, but from where I'd gone there was no coming back.

Suffused in Blue

Something happened yesterday, a conflict with a person, and I struggled to release the energy of it. Was it I or she that caused that unrelease? Probably both, of course. I tried severing the energy ties, but it wasn't that simple. Those ties weren't there the way they used to be (a good thing), but neither were they entirely absent.

It wasn't obvious what to do. Ultimately, I found that if I held the space immediately around me, and envisioned suffusing that space with blue (which is for me the color of love), the sharp edge of what happened would dissipate. It was just me in a blue light.

I wondered, over the last week, in details inarticulable until yesterday, if she was setting up exactly this moment. She doesn't know how to let go, so she got me to do it for her. She's an odd one.

I wish her a life suffused in blue.

Insomnia (V): What I Risk for a Good Morning’s Sleep

After the hours of wakefulness--as time on the cushion comes to an end, after the glow of energy has subsided, as maybe just maybe a yawn comes--I usually put in earplugs. At first I did this because if I was going to sleep into the morning hours I didn't want a barking dog or a ringing telephone to wake me up.

It became a habit. I found that it helped. It blocked out the world, and the only sound was the resonance of my breath in my body. Just the deep ocean-wave sound of my own breath. I would fall into deep relaxation.

But I find, now, that it comes with a fear. I've become dependent on the earplugs. They block out the world.

What then are the chances I will hear the zombie's moan before (too late) I feel its hateful teeth?

Insomnia (IV): A Search for Ground

Yesterday I tried to do things a little differently. I came to the cushion after writing all afternoon, wondering if I could find a clue to this wakefulness (dark and quiet again right now, and hard to get out from under the warmth and comforting weight of covers, but harder still, far harder, to lie there awake, so I'm up) and I found my energy very high in my body--I could feel it like a cloud around my head--and I set about grounding it, breath by breath, exhaling the energy down and into the ground. It helped, I think. The clock's numerals this morning read a higher number, and its glow less harsh.

I practice drawing the energy lower while I work, trying to stay more centered. It creeps up and out. I breathe it down again.

I'm trying to learn to meet the energy of these moments, the shifts in flow. Stuff is happening. In trying to meet the energy, I'm also trying to shift the energy, change the energy, control the energy. I'm trying to expand my consciousness, to set the foundation for intuition and insight. I seek the blessing of a grounded center: If spirits be attracted, let them be benevolent.

Insomnia (III): Ghosts and Spirits

I do not fear these quiet early morning hours anymore (right now, the clock shows a number that should only be seen in the afternoon) but it is not to say that this past week-and-a-half, awake after four-and-a-half hours sleep every night, has not been frustrating. It's so hard to not ask, "Why am I up?" hunting for answers that don't come. I don't feel anything unusual when I wake up and can't get back to sleep. I'm just up.

Though this morning when I woke up it was a little different. I … kind of remember. An energy shift, maybe? Something happened. If I could just catch it. But as soon as I am awake enough to feel it and do something about it, I'm awake. I can't bring my conscious self to bear on the problem without being conscious.

Could it be that the exorcism of the three basement demons did not entirely do the job? Could what I felt be a ghost of their malevolent power?

There's a lot going on. Things got set into motion. I find myself in a space of uncertainty, of change, of movement. What spirits swirl in the below-consciousness wake?

Insomnia (II): Job. Hunting.

Up in the wee hours again...

I've been applying for jobs. Jobs I'm not sure I want but also not sure I don't. I can envision what would be good about them and what wouldn't be so good.

The process opens me to things, things I haven't felt in a long time. I haven't had a boss, not the way we normally mean we have bosses, since 1999. I don't really want one now.

Of course I understand that, whatever I choose, I really have the same boss I've come to have over all these years. Every other boss I have, I will ever have, is just a game we're playing. An agreement hedged with a glance of misdirection. At least, it is for me. They might not understand that.

I am scared, if I take those jobs, that I will struggle with my sleep. Not struggle the way I used to struggle. Now I sit on the cushion in the dark and play with energy and eventually I get back to sleep. But sometimes I sleep well into the morning. And those morning hours are the best hunting...

Am I awake this morning because something scares me? Or because there are some things that are easiest to say in the dark quiet hours of the nighttime morning?

Insomnia (I)

Waking up in the middle of the night doesn't scare me the way it used to. I'd realize I was truly awake, that sleep would not return, and a feeling would grab hold of me as I gave up and turned to look at the clock's red numerals' infernal glow to see just how few hours I'd slept and how many hours until morning. We call that feeling despair.

The waking still happens sometimes, but I'm confident now that I'll ultimately get back to sleep. It might take a while, often a couple hours, and while I'm up I'd certainly prefer to be able to fall right back to sleep. But I'm confident now that sleep will return.

Of course it's best when I just sleep through the night.

Sometimes I can point to something that happened: Oh, I did this and it kept me over-energized at bedtime, and so now I'm awake. Sometimes, though, it isn't clear. Tonight, this morning, I woke up at 3:00am and asked, "Why am I awake?" I couldn't see a good reason for it. Nothing in yesterday's behavior seemed to push me towards it. But I'm awake and not falling back asleep. Fine. I'll write. It's 3:54am right now.

Jerry wonders why I have to figure things out, what's the purpose of turning my mind to find answers to questions like this. Are you sure you aren't just putting energy into the problem itself? he asks.

It's certainly possible. But at the same time, there's this: I think my mind turns itself to answering questions, just like my eye turns to a sunset, my ear to music. It's what it does.

Do the answers matter? I don't know. Either way, sleep comes, or it does not.

These days, mostly it comes. 4:19am right now and I am not afraid.