Saturday, January 13, 2007

Moments Of Undetermined Significance

The last couple of days have been a little difficult. For want of a better way to express it, I feel the pull of many different things deep in my psyche, and people and events and ideas are swirling about in ways that have produced a physical headache but there's no way to turn away from it. It's one of those little windstorms of human energy and the only way through it straight on through.

The last week was tough physically as I felt myself pushing away some kind of invasion on a health level. Some days were good, others not so much. Then there were the other small moments leading me to this head-down, keep-moving place I am now.

Earlier this week a book I really cherished but assumed I had relinquished magically turned up in the mail. I was delighted. I felt something had been returned to me in a meaningful way. There were also a couple of bookmarks, one my daughter had made that I had lost along the way. I felt not sad, but oddly empowered. (And Boring Best, damn happy to have my Dawkins Rainbow book back!)

I continued my jubilacious conversation with promoter Steve Adamski (of Appalachian Uprising -- more to come on that) and heard from the organizer of The Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival which I plan to enjoy March 30-31 (more on that soon, too). Making those vital connections makes me feel alive and purposeful. There is a positivity and collaborative spirit surrounding bluegrass that I imagine exists other places, and I am grateful for these new connections.

I also took a trip over to Silly Humans, a politically engaging read by a fella blogger who was a regular over at My Boring Best. We have a common stone in our separate paths. Reaching out to new bloggers was something I have not done in a while, and I'm glad I did.

Later in the week, I took my kids over to their dad's as his father was coming in to town. We also celebrated my SIL's birthday with a killer chocolate cake I make, which I managed to enjoy despite not feeling top notch. Ex Sr looks tired; it's clear the battle his wife is fighting against two brain tumors is a battle they both bear. I wish there were something more I could do. I encourage him to seek time for himself, but he's bearing the burdens of household work that for so many years "just happened." He is being transformed before our eyes. As we're now a "transfigured family" I'm more of an outside counselor but I do feel the sadness and wish things were different.

Friday came and while immersed at work I received a call from a very close friend who had been on my mind for more than two weeks. Shameless Agitator is going through her own life transforming experience -- she had been on my heart and her call came through as if to answer my concern. Being with her on the phone is all I could do but am glad to share that powerful connection. Were it not for Ex, I might not have this incredible friend in my life.

Friday night brought a meeting with a new friend and his family at a small but bustling wine bar/store up the road from my town. The owner's mother is battling multiple complications from pancreatic cancer, at only 57 (she started young). Yet he stopped at every table, multiple times, to make sure his patrons had what they needed.

This morning I had to spring into action despite waking up with the same thoughts circling about in my head -- what happened, what happened, what happened. How something I thought so far behind can be waiting for me when I open my eyes the way a hungry cat will sit on top of your chest waiting to be fed (or a little dog like the one I miss will lick your face when he needs his turn at patrolling the neighborhood) was its own kind of lesson carried through the day.

Coffee, pull on clothes, bluegrass, errands, back home to prepare for a meeting with a family friend. A cousin at some distance provided my number to someone he had known a while back who now lives in this area, and I met him for a lecture at the Western Reserve Historical Society on "treasures of the conscience" (coinciding with the wonderful Society's exhibit, "Treasures", presenting objects from its 140-year collection). The highly-respected, much published John Grabowski ended his compelling talk with a story about his own draft card. To hear someone I respected so deeply as a professional speak so candidly and bravely about something so personally significant to him truly gave me pause.

Spending the afternoon with someone who knew a part of my family was enjoyable, and the best part was that in some ways he was nothing like them. It was a relief to meet yet another person who holds similar views and who knows the difference between Pete Seeger and Bob Seeger (no disrespect to the latter). I wish I had more to offer this person, but the drive down to the Society and the drive home made clear to me how unprepared I am for anything but my own forging ahead.

On the way back up the hill through Cleveland Heights, I found myself increasingly unnerved. I was surprised by this. I had not prepared myself to feel anything. The clues of waking up to questions and sadness through the last week should have provided warning. As I approached my vanished friend and lover's neighborhood, the psychic tension was immense. I almost, almost turned the corner and drove to his house, but slogged on through, slogged on past. But by the time I was sailing down 271, I found myself trying to sing along with that wonderful tune blogged earlier, I'm Not Over You, realizing that song was as fitting for me as anyone, and crying a little. I'm such a dork.

A call to join my former family for dinner made light, but then I was greeted at home by a letter indicating a recent exam produced slightly abnormal results (ok, ok, no peanut-gallery comments please) -- of "undetermined significance". Wow. There's a catchy phrase to describe something that might or might not kill you. But, evidently it won't hurt anyone else as there was no sign of ill will disease. Huzzah.

There is, I think, nothing insignificant about anything that happened this week, yet, nothing extraordinary about any of it either. Perhaps allowing myself just to see this and allowing myself to be a bit more psychically available and vulnerable was important. I can let my guard down while my kids are away, sleep when I need to, focus on ordering my life to make room for the work and changes I relentlessly and joyfully pursue. To this I am committed. All these things are of undetermined significance. They are neighter significant nor insignificant, their significance is simply unknown. In a life that is unfolding, that is the best approach.

I am listening now to a live CD compilation called Celebration of Life, recorded at a Musicians Against Childhood Cancer concert in Columbus, Ohio and released by Skaggs Family Records. The perfect, sit back and just let life unfold music is the current track, a rendition of Shenandoah by none other than Tony Rice.

I'm sharing with you here the original studio recording from the Unit of Measure release. Tony Rice is a rock. He's the kind of person and musician who makes what I want to do so easy to be dedicated to. He brings to every step such a simple and humble peace, despite a life of great difficulty and sadness. This is one of the most beautiful guitar performances you will ever hear, and perfect on the side of a soul-searching, heart-searching, deep painful questioning salad.

When moments of "undetermined significance" happen in your life, give them respect but do not try to attach a value to them. Respect the power of the connections in your life, both positive and not so much. We are on this planet but a short time, and have all the power to choose civility over hostility, healing over anger, forgiveness over bitterness, progress over stagnation, change over the status quo, meaning over babble. These choices can make all the difference, and should be what separates our species from the rest. Otherwise, to not heed these signals and occurrences and our own intuition and ability indeed sends us circling the drain.

As played by Tony Rice on his recording, Unit of Measure.


At January 14, 2007 12:15 AM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At January 14, 2007 12:22 AM, Blogger Shameless Agitator said...

You're going to make me cry...

At January 14, 2007 8:51 AM, Blogger Mando Mama said...

Well, I probably can't but I bet Tony Rice will. Does it every time.

You're on my heart, sistah. Breathe, close eyes, and unfold, unfold, unfold.



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