Cats are obsessed with food. I hear you saying, well, aren't we all? And sure, some people are plugged in by the thought of their next gooey cookie, but mostly I think we're obsessed not with food, but with time. What time is it now? When is this happening, did I miss this special thing, how long until I have to get ready for that other particular thing. I have tried in my way to be free (great line from a song) from this obsession with time passing and where I need to be.
I set alarms and that's the secret of relaxation, I say to myself. Spoken like a Virgo, my daughter would say, but honestly, it's true. When you have someone else (the timer) looking out for time, you can relax. I set too many alarms, I'm sure. Gosh, there must be at least 4/day, maybe more on some days. It was this morning, however, when I saw an advertisement for winning a trip to Finland to learn how to relax that I realized maybe I might have it wrong. I would love nothing better than to win this trip to Finland and learn how to relax up in their Lake Country. Actually, I've been there and can vouch for its beauty. Fingers of land reach out into the water and the shore is tranquil and dotted with little cabins. Admittedly, the lure of a clear unblocked period of time -- no internet and no phone and no watches or mark of time passing other than the sun sounds idyallic.
I wonder if any of us would be able to handle that much relaxation. We're not used to it. We are so used to cramming in every little thing that we need special sound healing and other like opportunities to unplug. The idea is to take a couple of hours and let sound wash over you and then off you go. I wonder if the part of me that loves being productive could turn off for a longer period of time, a weekend to start and then maybe a week or two. Take a vacation in the way they used to be -- just flop and be inert, no thinking allowed.
Sometimes my cats teach me to relax, e.g., when they walk on the keyboard or bump the phone onto the floor. They're just looking out for me. I quite appreciate it.
There’s a tin dove hooked onto the window. It’s a window that doesn’t open so it’s a good spot for a bird made of metal that will never fly but which represents flying. I come in to touch it from time to time and pretend I can, like an inoculation, get a bit of bird-ness, of movement and desire to fly high from it. I suppose that’s why it’s there. I’m not even sure where it came from, but it is something that has a power as inanimate objects sometimes do. When I moved here it was in the box and I placed it without too much thought on the old sunroom window. It seems more important than ever now that we’re all stuck in one place.
We do hold onto things. We hold onto memories and objects and hopes and dreams. I carried a whole bunch of my paintings around with me for years, decades, until one day I just let go of them. Things go on until they don’t. I suppose that’s the thought most of all in these pandemic times…when normal is anything but.
The other morning I saw a bit of sunlight on the ceiling and it was bent as if by magnets or magic and it stopped me. I took a photo of it because if light can bend , if bending light is possible, right here in my living room, why not miraculous cures? Why not all kinds of miracles? I find myself thinking of the things one thinks about after a long illness or after a fever of several days. It’s a clean slate of wonder about the world and what is possible if we can truly be ourselves and not the jealous, reactive, sometimes selfish people we have a tendency to become. It’s not like we do it entirely ourselves, but we can try harder. I can, I know that.
The other day I had a conversation with someone and I allowed myself to overreact and I was not happy with myself later. Is it so hard to just allow others to be their weird selves and to be the Dalai Lama in the room; the one who accedes and concedes and smooths out, not the one pulling and tugging and making all the wrinkles? Well, remorseful, I am (Yoda speak). I resolve to try harder to not get all plugged in. But it is a delicate balance between surrendering and giving up. Big difference. On the one hand, you are accepting and contributing and on the other hand you are removing yourself and taking yourself out of the equation; just disappearing. Somewhere in the middle would be good.
Let’s all be the tin bird; not flying, but representing all that we can be. Let’s be persevering but not privately hoping we win. Let’s all value ourselves, but not above others. God, it’s hard to do! I miss Sundays when I used to try to press the reset button. Now, it’s a drifting sort of existence without Sundays or weekends. We’re just all home all the time.
But we can be our own tin bird; each one of us trying to represent and emulate and (+outside of the metaphor) reaching out to others and helping and acknowledging their efforts in the best way possible. It's not as hard as bending light, right? If this is too corny, I’m sorry. I’m a bit fond of corny. Sitting around with my cat has only made it more noticeable.
C. D. Finley
Opinionated, wry, sometimes corny, observational humor mostly about writing, but you never know.