I received a complimentary email about my latest post that revisited the idea of radical self-love (“charismatic feistiness” is cool), but with some confusion about the time frame; the time line jumped from the eviction reprieve to the amount of time I lived in that building, and that was confusing.
I’ll briefly explain why I so jumped.
The post was about radically loving ourselves, despite ourselves, and moving beyond those things that we too often castigate ourselves about. For myself, it’s that contrarian-hubris thing. Too many people would have taken the advice of those presumably well-meaning attorneys. I refused to do so, because I knew best for myself.
And I did.
What didn’t translate well in that twenty-minute, hastily proofed post, was that because I refused to listen to the lawyers, I remained in that same building for most of my adult life, no exaggeration. I lived on Irving Street in Cambridge for nearly half of my life, moving from the boarding house room, to a charming room with a balcony, then finally to a full apartment. All in the same building.
There’s a compelling back story to how I found that building, a story which sits as an important set-piece in my memoir, but for now I’ll just say that landing in that building was a “miracle.” The circumstances circling around my finding that building, that I wasn’t evicted, became self-employed, went back to school, and enjoyed the amenities of living in Cambridge for so many years, well, there’s too many convergences for this entry, this morning.
I may revisit this as an entry later this month; know that it sits prominent in the memoir.
To clear up any confusion: it was a building that I was nearly evicted from, the building I escaped to while avoiding eviction in Manhattan, and it become the building I lived in most of my adult life. It became a book-lined home merely two blocks from Harvard Yard, and my life’s domestic, professional, and academic epicenter because I walked out of the good advice of two well-intentioned attorneys.
That is, I once again refused to do as told, without blinking an eye.
Radical self-love embraces this stubborn “I don’t give ten fucks” attitude as part of The Great Dance.
No questions, just acceptance.
I hope that clears up any confusion, and fills in the leap from eviction to planted butt. I refused to listen, because I knew what I was supposed to do.
Some folks call that hubris; I call it faith, in the broadest, most meaningful way possible. As Thoreau wrote, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” And despite the fact I was yet to enter my deepest, darkest psychic hole, I lived two blocks from the yard, around the corner from my academic aspirations, and I wasn’t about to leave, eviction be damned.
If I have only muddied the waters, wait for the book.
Or perhaps a future entry.
Now, another meditation.
About a week and a half ago I fell down an entire flight of stairs. I mean, from the top of the stairwell to the bottom. I hit my head first, hard and with a frightening thud, and before I knew what was happening, I felt my body go down the stairs as in slow motion. I thought to myself, “you are falling down the stairs, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” When I reached the landing, I rolled into my bike which sits opposite the stairwell, and it crashed on top of me.
Yes, I am fine.
Yes, it was scary.
Had an enormous black-eye, serious bruising all over my body, racked my knee out, and the like.
All is on the mend. This happened after a strenuous two-hour workout. I wasn’t paying attention, my quads were trashed, and I was trying to get several bags of fresh produce up the stairs. Trying to do too much at once, not paying attention.
But I’ve had a series of insights after the fall that I wanted to share.
I wasn’t paying attention because I still lug around that “do more, be more” story in my habits and behaviors. A completely, totally, unqualified line of b.s.
We can only do one thing at a time. That’s it. The rest is mind chatter, and a waste of energy.
Trying to do more is a big old myth and a hydra that siphons our energies by squandering our focus.
The less we do, the more we get done, and the better we accomplish our priorities.
Because of my meditation practice, I simply went with the fall instead of fighting it. I believe otherwise, I may have broken my leg, arm, or neck.
As I work through another injury, I realize the gift of injury is that it forces us into deeper consciousness, if we choose to use it as a tool instead of a set-back. One step at a time, one breath at a time.
Thankfully, I’ve been using the Chi Running and Walking program (highly recommend) to focus on form and breath, and I expect to be where I want to be sooner rather than later.
Not despite my injury, but because this fall and injury have shown my need for an even deeper and broader awareness, and a lived consciousness that less is more. Choose what’s important; be present.
Now, that may be an obvious platitude for any meditator, but sometimes we’re given something to show us we need a little more work in this awareness thing.
A gift beyond measure.
A friend said, “you’re damn lucky.”
I replied, “no, I live in Grace. I try to build on it.”
(I then mentioned that my head is the hardest part of my body, for which I am also grateful.)
Have a safe and happy Fouth of July.
Peace, love, and good stuff.