Time is personal
“I have died inside so many times, yet my spirit still endures.” It was just a little notion of the changes that occur through the random motions of life itself and interactions with that linear spear of time.
There are parts of life that you create, and there are parts of it that create you. The unbending spear of time itself is a disciplinarian, a teacher, a judge, a provider, and a taker. It contains at times a known outcome, a coming of age, a celebration or the turning of the calendar. More often it is constructed of the unknown, the persistent fears and anxiety, the unexpected changes. The tornadoes of life collide with that unbending force with different intensities. The collisions produced are felt as merely a glancing blow, even as a careful nudge into a safer place, or they are felt as a crushing and destructive force on a scale that hasn’t been experienced before.
I am sure most can relate to the points in life where those collisions arrive in an uneven rhythm, not catching your breath from one before the next comes crashing in. Those unexpected events and outcomes that have a defining effect on the whole. While it is a reminder that you are not in the drivers seat, it does show you in great detail the navigation, the turning points, and the processes that produced the map to begin with. Whether created through your own actions or inactions, or simply a byproduct of life, those collisions with that unbending spear change your construct, throws your winds out of place, and while you gather yourself, the world… or rather, your world… changes.
With the world out of balance, and personal connections all but evaporated, the time to connect to something was well overdue. Understanding that it wasn’t just mine, but a condition of many, this reconnection action made it easier to visit some of the meetings I used to regularly attend. To catch up with a few old timers, and try to feel that place with others again. What I wasn’t prepared for was the emptiness, the loss, and the change that occurred while I was in my own singular recovery. I know that the world keeps going for everyone else, and I would have to participate if I wanted to be a part of those worlds. But when it came time to join the outside world again I found that apparently in my believed circle of connections, in most of the sense… I had already died.
It came at a point when I was in the throes of change and acceptance. When I was feeling the loss of my brother earlier this year, and others lost as there have been quite a few. I also had a different and profound sense of self that had escaped me for most of my life. While engaged in that spiritual shift I was also focusing on a part of my life I thought was still there… Some kind of tie to someone/something else. But when I looked for it, it wasn’t there. It was still present, still functioning, but I wasn’t a part of the construct any longer. It is something like a deathless death, carrying no more meaning than face value of those words. I knew of it, I practiced a version of it myself here and there. The best friend that is nowhere to be found in a cloud of drug induced dementia, to the all to clingy cousin you haven’t seen since childhood showing no knowledge of boundaries. This time it was me on the other side, and it was felt deeply and it cast a wide net on my emotions.
I lost a dear friend towards the end of ’20, we had gotten sober around the same time. I wrote about her here and it still hits my heart so very heavily. The restrictions on gathering started soon afterwards, a memorial would have to wait. A few months ago though, my wife; Being nearly family to this friend, received a call from my friend’s cousin to tell her there would be a memorial for her finally. Her, as well as her brother who was also lost during that time. But when I thought I was being helpful passing that along to a few mutual friends I found out they already knew. There was a memorial page for her on FB, it had been there since shortly after her death, and as I read the posts it hit me. I thought I knew some of these people on the page, I thought someone could have mentioned it. Then I thought about my part, and my own life and it all made sense.
It was in those moments where it really struck me on an almost physical level, I knew I had a big decision to make. In my shift of self, I had found that I had to allow myself an ending to things. One thing that a wandering mind like mine has a difficult time with is finding closure, real endings, healthy ones or not. So I allowed myself an ending, I allowed myself to die off so to speak, to embrace the processes of life, to allow Shiva to do the work. I do not follow Hinduism, but I can recognize and respect the processes of the belief system. Shiva is commonly believed to be the God of destruction, but in the belief it is thought as destroying impurities that take up residence in the mind. In either entertainment though, something must be destroyed to make room for the new, recycled, the rebuilt.
When I found out about another person from my early sobriety in an end of life hospice, I first thought that I should reach out. Those feelings soon changed into the rationalization that I was no longer a part of any relationship with anyone but my wife and a few family members. I remembered this person as a strong example of what sobriety brings, and the work that was required, but there wasn’t any relationship. Like I said earlier, the navigation and map making that lead to this point was painfully clear. If there was fault to be found it was within myself, it was within my pile of life that the navigation points to, the turns, the solitary nature, the not wanting to impose.
Understanding the processes, seeing the cause and effect doesn’t make life any easier though. The depression ramps up, the loneliness peaks, the search for self is pushed into an emptiness. The needs become more distant, the inner voice turned into a whisper. Allowing the closure is a healing mechanism, although one with a steep curve of pain and itching. The glaring reminder is one of loss, of mistakes, of misunderstandings. But the task is to use the energies to see the positives, the cleaning, the building being done right now. To use time as a constructor instead of destructor. I didn’t ask for the outcomes that have arisen, but the practice is coping with them as they are.
That memorial for the friend that passed in ’20 is this weekend. I won’t be there because it would just fuel a past I didn’t belong to. I will remember her as she was, and she will always be in my thoughts as one of my forever people. The expectations I once had of others that I called friends has been replaced with no expectations at all. How could I assume an expectation from something that isn’t there? There are parts of life that create you, and this has been one of them. Learning how to let things end is not an easy task for someone who so honestly loves every interaction, every moment, and every memory I hold inside.
The maps of life, the clocks of fate, they have all seemingly closed in on this point to show me all of this, to accept the reality of it all. The tornadoes of life have all come up in unison, and the unbending spear of time has taken its toll. Closure is a hard fraught victory that still eludes me while apathy is a worthless endeavor. May the ones that passed rest in peace, and all others be at peace, the tornadoes have moved on, moved by that ultimate weapon, time itself… Shiva’s spear.