Thursday, January 31, 2013

Playing Out My Confusion

Sometimes I feel like I’m not supposed to be confused any more. I’m on the cusp between middle-aged and old, neither one nor the other, and aren’t things supposed to be clear by now? But there are still days when I arrive at a street corner and stand there uncertain, not knowing which way to go, or I linger on the brink of a phone call, not sure about my need or desire to hear that other voice. Those moments suspended can be like a gulf opening between alternate realities.

It’s not the alternatives that quiet me, but the cloudy span of choice between them. I shape my future step by step, and each step can seem to diminish my imagined supply of possibility, as I say goodbye to the might-have-beens that I will never be.  Those limitless, lost choices; all those “beautiful lovers I never got the chance to kiss”.
But this is all made up. Because I have a kind of affinity for that suspension of certainty and clarity of direction. I cherish the feeling of not knowing down which slope my life is about to tumble, as this or that unforeseen influence gains sway and moves me. I once thought indecision wasn’t supposed to happen to me anymore. I once dreamt that confusion was one of those childish things I would someday put aside. No longer. I’ve grown to embrace my not-knowing.

I love it when, at the end of a day, I find myself somewhere I never imagined. And it’s a daily event. Because the unexpected seeping of mystery into life is every day. It isn’t recognized as such only because the mind clings to the familiar, to the remembered, the known and the catalogued. I think it’s those items that keep us believing that we understand the journey we are on, and know how it will end, that we know in advance what lessons are to be learned and what obstacles overcome. I love it that an hour ago I had no idea what I would be writing here, though I felt moved to write.
It will never be about doing away with confusion, doubt, mystery. Rather, it will be about coming into a cozier relationship with my ignorance, my unknowing, with the cloudy side of my intellect, the shady side of believing, with the vulnerable shallowness of my certainty.

Not even accurate to call it confusion, really, this something I’ve slowly come to terms with. It’s only confusion to the extent that I feel bound to know, to the extent that I’m impatient for the comforts of certainty. I turn again to a passage from the Tao te Ching, a passage that speaks to the need for this certainty, for action, for a confident style of “doing” in the world. It enjoins: “Do you have the patience to wait, till your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?”

1 comment:

  1. Wow! hey! OBSIDIAN BLOOMS !!! I mean this blog bloomed...Literally...When I arrived here this morning (ok it's after noon), it literally exploded with the yellow happy colour...Nice change...Yellow is such a happy colour, glad to see your mood is more in the yellows...
    About your post: I have found that the people I knew from high school are exactly the same now...I think you, like many of us thought, that with more years, comes some sort of change...But no, you are probably still the young man you always were, except for that people can't see that as easily from your outside casing...
    Thank you so much for trudging all the way up to Agincourt Library to see my two paintings btw...That was an awfully big effort...I really appreciate that...