WHAT TO DO?

Dream. In last night’s dream, I was at some kind of gathering and this girl was attempting to work with her therapist who was trying all sorts of complicated stuff that I could see wasn’t doing the trick. In a given moment, I turned to the girl and asked: “What do you want?” She looked ghost-stricken: “What do I want?” “Yes,” I said, “what do you want?”

In the dream, I felt good about having fired such a pointed question. The girl then asked me if she could have a session with me and I said “Fine, this afternoon”. Then I went out into the street, passed a very elegant office building and went in thinking that if one of the elegant offices wasn’t in use I could give her the session there and impress her. While I was talking to the clerk to arrange it, I changed my mind and remembered that I worked really well out of my own apartment.

The scene changed and I was in –apparently- my apartment (didn’t look familiar) and the girl arrived; other people –perhaps her friends- were present to watch. She came with a dog, a puppy, and I had a dog; in the dream there seemed to be several dogs. There was a lot of confusion, bustle and noise that wasn’t allowing me to start the session, so I asked everyone to help get the dogs and ‘children’ (there were little children running around) out of the room.

Somehow, clearing the room wasn’t possible and a lot of time was lost trying to do so. Then when we were about to begin, the girl began talking to someone with long blond hair -apparently her travel agent- who was helping her fill in a Visa form. I insisted she pay attention, but she said she had to fill in the Visa form because she was planning a trip. Then she asked if she would have to pay for the session anyway and I said ‘Of course’, and immediately thought of the example of renting a hotel room and not using it, but having to pay for it anyway. Then I turned and said to her:

“You see: you don’t know what you want.” And with that avouchment, I awoke.

Of course, I am both the therapist and the girl in the dream. I am both asking ‘what I want’ and not knowing ‘what I want’, which in real life leads me to fill the time with ‘friends’ (FB, games, what I call ‘wasting time’), a dog and a trip (Visa) without answering the question. Now that I am reading again (I mean reading literature, real published books), persistently, I see writers who WRITE, and publish (internet is not publishing, its electronic grafitti according to someone I overheard once) and do it well. I see my impossibility and fruitlessness in the writing field. I read: “A writer sits down every day and does it; first drafts are always shitty”… I jot down ideas, begin useless pages that never continue, copy quotes that ‘inspire’ me… and still I do not write, not a book. Actually, I haven’t written anything bookable since I stopped drinking 26 years ago; whatever I have published after that has been just a ‘refrito’ as we say in Mexico: a refrying of things already written before. And my blog, everyday stuff, nothing serious. Therefore if I ask: Do I want to write? I would have to say that it seems not, at least not professionally.

So the question remains: ‘What do I want?’ From the above I can deduce that I want to DO something that gives my life meaning… and whatever that might be, to be valid it would have to be recognized by others… And there’s the “rub” as our old friend, Shakespeare, said.

So it would seem that what I want is to give my today life some meaning (in the eyes of others, of course, and therefore in mine) and playing solitaire in its diverse forms to whittle away the hours is not generally what one is remembered for all through Sin títuloposterity! Like: “Oh, you remember Brianda? She was an A-1 Solitaire player, beat the computer every time! Incredible” or even in the present: “Hi, how is that fantastic game of solitaire going? Still winning? You must come and give us a conference sometime on how you do it. Everyone will be so thrilled. Have you ever considered giving a TED talk?” No, not exactly what playing solitaire gets you, although I do win an uncountable amount of imaginary coins.

My blog sometimes gets me some nice, almost immediate recognition from the one or two people who read it and deign to comment, which is certainly a ‘timely’ improvement over books that take years to write, idem to publish and receive at least half as much negative feedback as positive.

oznorAnd it is obvious that the FB page I started (A GRAIN of SAND) was to be noticed and applauded as the initiator of a world-changing movement (¡Ha!) with millions of followers placing their grain of sand for the betterment of the planet. Sometimes I make myself sick of myself (yes, the repetition is on purpose)! Just yesterday, when I took my morning walk, the world was so absolutely perfect that I could find not one thing do-able to ‘improve’ it. However, I must admit that looking for something to do in that sense made me really appreciate the beauty of the morning washed clean by the night’s rain and sparkling as I had not seen for more than a week.

This morning I gave myself permission to pass over the possibility of picking up multiple pieces of trash in the gutters along my way and actually gifted me with a beautiful, freshcof head of lettuce from the Saturday market. Then, as if this were not enough to make my day, I stopped to chat with an acquaintance who was tending to her flowering red camellia. We exchanged a few platitudes about Nature’s confusion what with the weather seeming like spring when winter was still upon us, and she handed me –over the fence- two lovely camellia buds that she had obviously picked for her own living room. So, admittedly, the world had just made me a better place.

mdeSo the dream is speaking to me, it is telling me to stop and look and answer the question… or perhaps to ask other questions such as: ‘I need to know what I want… is that true?’ Or, as Byron Katie would say, ‘What I want is what is’… How do I know that? Because that is what is… Sometimes I feel like saying: ‘Shut-up, Katie!’

But no, her voice is loud and clear in my e-mail box: “The original stressful thought is the thought of an “I”. Before that thought, there was peace. A thought is born out of nothing and instantly goes back to where it came from. If you look before, between, and after your thoughts, you’ll see that there is only a vast openness. That’s the space of don’t-know. It’s who we really are. It’s the source of everything, it contains everything: life and death, beginning, middle and end.”

But coming back to ME… I am still quite entangled with my “I” that is constantly asking me what I want to do, in the waking and the dreaming worlds. So I say to myself: “Look around: what do other people do?” And I find that they do exactly as I do: carry on with life as best they can and be thankful for having so much that is undeserved.

 

 

 

One thought on “WHAT TO DO?

  1. The blog is far from frivolous. It’s a very skillful and accessible communication, especially to those of us who are your age-mates. I’ve been struck repeatedly at how accurately you capture the ambiguities of our lives and feelings. I share with you that unfulfilled wish that I would produce something that will be recognized widely and last through the ages. But I’ve now come to the opposite sense…that I will spend my time doing things I enjoy…engaging myself verbally in American politics, talking to my grandchildren from afar, playing piano, reading, watching movies (I saw all 66 episodes of Un Village Francais during the Xmas-NY week), and make myself available to those who need help in any way since I’m still in physical condition to do that. And none of this will be known or remembered by almost anyone, and at the moment there is no one left to keep us alive after our physical death by reciting our name, we will no longer exist…and that’s all right. It’s what we do in the moment…an act of kindness, and empathetic gesture, that makes our lives meaningful.

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