Friday, January 9, 2009

Coming Out of Hiding

Coming out of hiding... yes. Why do I feel that for so much of my life I have been in hiding? The deepest, purest, craziest parts of me can be difficult to share with most people and difficult to put in words...

Of course, I have never had that problem with you, Shelley dear. Somehow we just clicked from the moment our teenage boyfriends introduced us one afternoon; from those days we would wander through Interlaken Ravine and marvel at the beauty of the yellow fallen leaves beneath our moving feet; from those many afternoons and evenings spent sitting on your bed in your attic room listening to Led Zeppelin, Alpha Blondy or Tracy Chapman, tripping out on our new-found evolving exploration of life, what it is, and what part we wanted in it.

Now, here we are, almost 34. Old, in the eyes of most teenagers, yet still poised on the brink of discovering what our lives will be, eternally poised on that brink, it seems, always looking to the future, looking to grow, shed old skins, let go of fears that still linger in connecting strands, when other parts of us have long abandoned those old tired ways of thinking.

I see this blog as a place to explore my ideas with you, Shelley, and you, fellow Heart Radicals out there, in a version of my writing self that is less edited, more raw, than so much of the writing I work on for weeks, months, sometimes years before it finally reaches another pair of eyes. When you think about how quickly our lives can change, how quickly we could stumble and fall off a cliff or be hit by a car (not to be over-dramatic, mind you) it is kind of ridiculous that we spend so much time crossing out and adding, rereading, rewriting, second-guessing, getting rid of extra adjectives and words. Of course, I appreciate tight beautiful meaningful prose like anyone else, but the publishing world is tough, and there's so much beauty and heartache and randomness to take notice of each day, so why not put it out there more regularly, less refined?

And of course, when I think of you, Shelley, as my audience (for now) and not some imagined anonymous blog world, it gives me freedom to wax poetic as we've always done in our letters back and forth, especially those we wrote in our early twenties when you were off becoming an organic coffee farmer in the hills of Costa Rica, and I was roaming through Western China, enamored by the Tibetan people and landscape, enamored by my Chinese tongue coming out again in full fluid force after so many years of post-childhood hibernation. I loved your letters, arriving in fat envelopes, not afraid to go off into the land of mystical reverie, never afraid of sounding idealistic or naive. And I loved writing you, my perfect reader, knowing you'd relish in all the fine detail I could give you (tell me about what the farmers are growing, you'd ask), at the same time that I would not lose you when I went off on revelatory tangents of my own.

Of course, older and 'wiser' now, we can roll our eyes and cringe at our rambling journals and words of those days. Yes, they can be tiresome to read. And yet, sometimes I also miss that wide open amazement toward life and the universe and god that I felt then, that newness of discovery, that feeling that you've just stumbled upon the secret to all living, the vastness of the heart and connection with all beings, and the sense of being led forward and deep on my path, guided and receptive as one meant-to-be happening connects to the next. It's not that I have lost that sense now, but it is tempered by age, pragmatism, balance, and yes, wisdom. While many spent their post-college years getting jobs and developing their careers, we spent the bulk of ours writing, traveling, and seeking god. Now, I'll speak for myself, I've been catching up a bit-- learning to live and thrive and connect with others, rather than hiding in my intense solitary self. Learning how to stay connected to that intensity, receptivity, awareness of beauty and the preciousness of life, at the same time that I am no longer so afraid of technology, of television, of words like 'networking', and of speaking my truth to people who-- on the surface, anyway-- seem absolutely different than myself.

Well I think this is enough for one post. But it is liberating, I must say. For if I were to try and express something similar in an essay, lord knows it'd take a long time before it was exposed to the world.

So, time to eat breakfast now (one of my New Year's resolutions), and consult the list of things to do, oh that eternal list.

Love to you-- and you, and you,

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