I’m sitting on the porch in the early morning light with our pup Vanilla Bean and we are surrounded by movement and sound. El Nino is up to her usual tricks and the trees are swaying as if giants have awakened in the night and are rousing their cohorts to arms. Chimes are singing a furious song and leaves are swirling in constant rotation. It is sure the end is near.
We both sit in awed silence taking in the movement happening about us. Both having our thoughts for what it means and how it makes us feel. She looks out then back to me and then out again. As if to say is this ok? Should I be concerned? I look at her and say only the word “wind” and then smooth her fur. There is comfort in not going it alone. But alas, I can only name it. I cannot however control how it makes her feel. That venture I dare say can be a lonely affair indeed.
I think to myself isn’t that life?
We can name things, birth, death, graduation, despair , heartbreak, failure, triumph. These are their names but to climb inside anothers skin to feel the feeling is something we can only infer, and no matter what it is always a second hand account.
That give and take is the whole life of an interview. “How does it feel winning an Oscar?” “How does it feel losing the Super Bowl?” How does it feel to give birth, to lose a child, a parent a spouse? How does it feel to be successful, to be worth millions, be wanted or needed, or hated or feared? How does it feel? Inquiring minds want to know.
I wonder if anyone interviewed Da Vinci or Cleopatra, or Genghis Khan back in the day? Stories are written of them. They are full of what they did but how did they feel? That naked truth lies with them in their golden tombs.
For me unless the state is painful the wanting to know from others is not as important as feeling them first hand. Now let me be clear you can tell me the pain of a burned hand and I will feel no need to touch the fire. But I feel that the adventure of life is to feel it. How will it be really known to me otherwise. The feel of a lovers hand on my skin. Sunlight on my bare back. My heart when it is torn asunder.
Aaahhh the feeling.
The challenge is to make choices that have me feeling the way I desire. To change choices that have me feeling ways I don’t desire and to find a deeper place within me form when life places unpleasant feelings at my door. For that is the only way that I grow. For who would I be without the experience of a broken heart, loss of a loved one, betrayal of a friend. Who would we be without the failure? How would we experience fortitude. How can we truly savor triumph if there has never been defeat. Or love come anew if there was never love lost. It is by the contrast the bitter and the sweet that life takes on texture, nuance and depth. It is with a brave heart one must face the day. Ready to learn from our failures and be buoyed by our wins.
As we grow older it seems that our ability to feel dulls a bit by the experience of the sameness of life. Another pile of laundry another drop off another pick up. A part of us longs for new experiences. But as I sit and witness such a visceral display of nature in front of me… I feel it all. It only takes effort. It takes being present and being open to see it again and again and again… and still really see it!
So let the wind howl and rumple my hair. Let my own triumph and despair mold my clay. I listen to the chimes and hear their song.
I close my eyes to “feel” my life anew, free and unafraid.