Empty Cereal Box

Views From Inside an Adoptee

May 10, 2006

Freedom...Exactly When?

Staying in the Now is really tricky. Sometimes hours go by before I realize I've been off somewhere in Toonsville. Yesterday while I was on my knees scrubbing the bathtub and trying to stay in the eternal, sensual present--the shine of the tub, the sound of the scrub pad, the weight of my body against the side of the tub, the gray day outside, the sparkling clarity of the running water--my mind inevitably drifted back into its habitual seduction and took me into memories of a commercial I've been hearing on the radio. It's about some new bathroom cleaning product that has "scrubbing bubbles" and effortlessly cleans soap scum, mildew, and scale (those dreadful entities that need to be attacked because I've been brainwashed to spend money on "effortlessness" and thereby make chemical corporations richer). The woman at the end of the commercial exclaims, "It's less work, and that makes me happy."

I got to thinking about "less work," and how the path of least resistance has long been the battle cry for us who live in dehumanized industrialized countries. No one wants to get their bodies into the grunt work, because that takes too much time and sweat. And anyway, there are "more important" things to do. Abstractions are like carrots on a stick. I catch myself lumbering after them incessantly. I'd so much rather be "there" than here. Look at the time I can save by using these easy products. Hurry! I know I'm impatient, but damn it, I'm somebody and I have to have it my way now.

It's a constant race for me to get that carrot. But for some reason it's always just beyond my reach. Instead of focusing on what I'm doing, I'm thinking about a million other things. I know this is a cliche for many people who are looking for the Next Big Spiritual Thing. But I myself am really getting sick of my own insanity. Since I began digging and hauling soil, sand, and rocks for our sewer line project, I've had plenty of time to ruminate on these matters. Cows must be so peaceful and gentle because that's all they do all day. They ruminate. They chew their cud over and over, slowly and without a care.

The thing is, what I'm discovering ever-so-slowly is that the most sacred things are the things I take for granted. The things that sustain our very existence on Earth. They include the actual earth itself--the soil, the rocks, water, sand, and air--the sun, the moon, and growing things that are overlooked because of their wise and ancient silence. They are in no hurry. They aren't trying to get anywhere at all. And when I connect myself with them, touch them, smell them, listen to them, I get more in touch with my long-lost, forgotten self. I was wondering when I might begin to see the insanity part like a sheer curtain so the sane part of me could connect with the eternal truths found in these things. These, along with the honest, physical labor are what I shun with such practiced agility. Machines, chemical compounds, and people who live closer to the Earth have done the honest labor for all of us so so long as we can sit back and sip our drinks by the pool. Easy is what we want. What we don't want is to break a sweat. You know, those embarrassing underarm stains? And it hurts to think too hard. It's so much easier to zone out with distractions while all that messiness called Life just rolls on by.

See, I was scrubbing potatoes under the water and it dawned on me that I was going through some meaningless motion with impatience, that the potatoes were just objects. I didn't see them, the patterns on ther skin, their differences, their shapes and textures. No, I was too busy trying to get the grunt work done so I could go do "something else." I wonder how much of the sickness that's killing everything has to do with this mad race to escape elsewhere from who and where we are, this need for luxury and ease, which the industrial revolution has infused into every aspect of our lives. I know I'm contributing to the insanity every time I float off into my abstract thoughts.

What else. Well, I strongly suspect that money ties into all this, and further separates us from our own selves and fr0m each other and the Earth, who takes care of us like a Mother who gives with unconditional love.

I wonder when we will all free ourselves from this bondage of thought we've spun in for so many eons. I often catch myself walking around all gloomy, brooding, pessimistic, snappish, impatient, and filled with despair.

Maybe, just maybe, the metaphor of the photo above is beginning to let loose its frozen grip within us? Maybe soon we will finally begin to melt and pull away from the bondage, to bring our spirits home, a home that has nothing to do with the emptiness we've all been living (hey, you don't have to be an adoptee to have lost your cereal!).

You'll have to excuse me for going on about this. Like you, probably, I'm in the process of needing to work stuff out. It's as if I found this piece of string and I'm following it into a dark room within myself, to the real origins of my own loss and grief, not the obvious ones. To quiet the tape that plays over and over in my head about never knowing who I am except a dark, empty living room in a box. What really caused that grief and loss, know what I mean? I can't help wondering when ease, money, time, separation, impatience, and fear are going to melt away so that things can begin to heal both within myself and in everyone else with whom I share this planet.


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