I remember when I was in university, which I did for awhile and loved mostly. I was studying philosophy which exacerbated my leanings towards existential angst while satisfying my deep longing for truth and rigorous integrity. Philosophy was all about the inherent. I’m so grateful that my angst wasn’t and my longing for honor has proven to be rather than inflaming the former. Angst inevitably lead to a kind of inertia bred of hopelessness and I’m grateful that even though I still experience a kind of inertia it’s bred of mere fear. There is a light inside of me, inside of us and our world, one light whose flame we are each keepers of and as my most kindly and precious friend once asked, “ In the darkest room don’t you think even just that one little flame might illuminate it, if it was shared?”
I remember not knowing who I was. It was painfully perplexing. I remember this same most kindly precious friend asking me, “Lulu (what my family calls me) don’t you know who you are?” I had no idea and it hurt, it stung and didn’t alleviate hardly ever. This great friend of course shared only his compassion not his insight. This sacred illumination needed and must ever emerge from within, painful as that process was for me and perhaps for each, but the reason I know today who this me might be and what I am.
It feels weird to be writing this for my blog almost too personal, like I should be exploring this in the memoir I haven’t worked on for over 2 years cause it’s too hard to work on when I felt raw which I did since my spiritual sister became ill and died. I feel better now. I knew when when the walls I painted mango to counter balance my mourning (my Gretle’s breadcrumbs), began to close in on me. Then I knew that I was done sitting beside my self and observing behaviors that I couldn’t relate to like wanting to live in intense colors, not being able to sleep and being overcome with fear which was ever lurking nearby, ominous and dark.
When I wonder at this being to personal for my blog I have to remind myself that it’s just more fear talking and not worth my breath. It’s fear that needs to be suffocated not us.
When I was in university, I used to work at the morning shift at the Glebe Cafe and I loved serving people food. I was a very sweet waitress, and I was terrible at it. I forgot who ordered what, couldn’t count to save my life so always mixed up the change, was slow and forgetful, couldn’t carry much of anything and surprisingly psychic. I know, not useful as a waitress but kinda funny. It’s the only time in my life I have experienced anything like this and every morning I knew who would be coming in to see me that day. I was fired eventually cause I was a terrible waitress really bad at it but for about 6 months I served breakfast to a community that I felt very much at home in.
Philosophy is about knowing oneself and I have come to know that I love to be of service (partly from being a waitress)which my business allows ample opportunity for… there’s been this dialogue happening with this lovely flient around such things and today I took her to lunch which is almost as nice as serving it to her, maybe nicer no dishes…
We got to talking about fear, how it’s so disabling and how hard it is to know oneself. I was reminded of my struggles towards self realization which makes me sound more arrived than I actually feel or likely am. What I do feel and know is it’s not the arrival that’s relevant it’s more that I’ve come to accept fear is usually along for the ride. I might even go so far as to say I have befriended it if it didn’t make me want to gag. There is an inherent integrity in sharing one’s own story and trust this isn’t reading as preachy cause ick and so not my intention.
To do anything great one must, in my hopefully humble opinion, one must somehow grapple with fear and it’s too bad that culturally we’re all in the closet about it, the fear I mean. No one hardly talks about how scary it all is. We talk about risk aversion which I am blessedly deficient in but it doesn’t mean I am not terrified and I mean, Hitler’s army is gonna pull me out of bed by my hair while I sleep kind of terror when I go out on that proverbial limb. With practice it almost makes perfect except for that there’s always another one just out of reach…
I remember the agony of 13 when Mr. Luft, grade 7 history teacher who I admired and enjoyed so much, wrote in my year book, “Moneca keep searching but beware of angst.” He started the year telling us about a naked aztec warrior climbing a pryamid or something in Mezopatamia? I don’t remember only that I was hooked. In that same year book my English teacher wrote, “Moneca, searching… find soon a happy reason in yourself.” These were beckons in a time when I knew not who nor where of I was. I wrote recently about a quote from a mentor friend who I also adore something like “if I am not working with a high risk of failure I am not working anywhere near my potential.” My flient asked me what I think he meant and I said well you’d have to know David but I’m thinking he means, fuck the fear and I wholeheartedly agree.
I participated in this really great conference a few weeks ago, called PAB 2011. It’s Canada’s first large-scale conference of new media and social media creators. It was built on an inherent vision of generosity, integrity and respect so it attracted a wonderful community. This years theme was story but a sub theme emerged for me at least about taking risks. The organizers/founders kept reminding the big kids to take care of the little ones and presentation after presentation was authentic and insightful. The closing address had someone saying something about how he wished someone had taken him aside when he was little, and said, “it’s ok, it’s not that hard to be an adult I know it’s scary.” He said how he had no confidence back then and now he has tons of it and wished he could lend some away, that each of us could, cause it’s scary in the world especially as a young person. And I would add, also when we’re big and someone goes ahead and dies or something then we’re all little again.
But the fear, is unworthy of our precious creative brilliance and needs to be banished from the closet and this is me illuminating a little about my experience of it. I have noticed that it makes it melt away when I do, it seems to be endearingly scared of our light.