The first time, I decided that anything that I was keeping for sentimental value had to trigger only good feelings; I’d keep nothing that made me unhappy.
The second time, I moved onto the boat, so everything had to have at least two uses.
Now, I’m eliminating everything that isn’t easy to handle, as well as being useful and pleasing.
That meme is extending into the realm of perception. Images and events that used to trigger emotional cascades, because of memories and associations, are finally losing their sickening zap. Associations fall away, and images and events stand out in simple splendor as just what they are: unlayered, transient, colorful, done.
For instance, I used to hate terns, because their cry sounds exactly like a drowning cat. I blame their awful caw for my not being aware that my cat was in jeopardy when he died. For a couple years now, I’ve gotten snarly at tern-time, when they come here to breed. But, with this shift in my perspective, a tern is just a tern. My excellent companion was still an excellent companion — and, obviously, a kindred spirit.
A tern is not about the past or the future. It’s here now. It’s just that, at this moment, one is floating past with its strange sharp wings twinkling; then it hovers and wiggles for a moment; twists, plunges, spears the water; bobs up again, looking smug, with a little fish in its mouth; takes off and disappears.
Usually, there is no fish. But right now, there goes a pleased tern, enjoying the moment.
It’s just a tern, and it’s doing tern things in a ternish kind of way. Tomorrow it will do tern stuff in a slightly different, but still ternish way. Doesn’t matter. It’s just a tern — nothing more nor less.
There is no furry friend dying alone.
There is just a bird.
Gorgeous photo: Geert Wilders at http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2426290/posts
And I want credit for resisting the obvious urge to make a crack about taking a tern for the worse.
I stumbled across a quote that seemed shiningly appropriate:
“To live here and now, you must train yourself: in the seen there will be just the seen, in the heard just the heard, in the sensed just the sensed, in the thought just the thought. That is the end of sorrow.” – Gautama Buddha
I don’t know about the end of sorrow, but it’s true that it is far easier to manage my moods, notice my body’s signals, and do what I need to do, when I keep things in this charmingly simple, deceptively rigorous perspective.
It’s rigorous because it goes against all my socialization about the importance of hair-trigger reactions and emotional responses: Am I an ice-queen? Don’t I care about things? Aren’t I human? What’s wrong with me?
I’ve gotten all of those remarks in my time, when I strove for calm in former years — especially from mere acquaintances and random strangers, which always shocked me. How I, and those around me, survived my 13th-23rd years is unimaginable at this distance of time and self-certainty, but falling into the reactivity trap was one good way not to get verbally assaulted.
One advantage of being plumply middle-aged is that, for one thing, people watch you less; for another, a degree of equanimity seems to be less … annoying.
I’ve had it up to here with emotional reactions. CRPS is a roller coaster par excellence, for emotional reactions. I’m quite done, thank you, and I’d like to get off now.
Actually, I think I just did.
And now, a tern is just a tern. For better … or worse.