Out of My Mind
Yesterday while I was preparing to write a blog piece about "showing up", I conducted a Google search looking for a photo of inflatable tied to the Exuma Market dinghy dock in George Town, Great Exumas. I quickly found a photograph of the numerous dinghies bundled together during a typical Bahamas cruising season. But to my amazement, I suddenly found myself showing up.
When a photo of me strolling up the Exuma Market floating dock from last last summer popped onto my laptop screen, the image caught me off guard. Startled by my own likeness, I not only suddenly appeared, but so too did ideas about "showing up". Ironically, I had been looking for others and found something about myself.
Unbeknownst to me I showed up because someone had shared my likeness online. No harm done as what does one's body actually display except for an exterior? Though any photo could be considered superficial like some book jacket, my cover comes without a plot summary or a protagonist in conflict.. But my photo, though only an image, was, in fact, a reminder and obvious verification that I was once alive a year ago in the Exumas and showed up at a George Town dock. While I may have appeared healthy, appearances are known to deceive. While the photo was only an image. And no one on Earth can accurately read my thoughts and feelings at that particular moment. I can tell you, I did not expect to be photographed or have the photo posted where I would find it almost a year later.
I knew my 51-day solo through the Exumas in 2016 was now mostly out of my mind. Of course, my thoughts of those idyllic days was now only a memory. As a past event, it could be nothing more. Then the thought that I being present then was enough to realize I too showed up in my own way. While my past experiences may have saturated my being, they have not kidnapped my soul. I knew what I had been looking for and she finally showed up.
I could easily have written that "others didn't appear" in my life at that exact time and place in the Exumas or while I was looking at dinghy photos on my laptop. But while I too did not appear in their lives, I wasn't considered absent nor were they. In fact, I was never more at peace and in joy than when I was by myself.
When someone snapped my photo and posted it on the internet, one might say my likeness was captured far from home. Actually that is not really true because I had not disappeared from anyone's life. I had simply followed my passion and it sailed me to the Exumas and to the internet where I found myself. Maybe out of sight, but not totally invisible. There I was on my screen walking away from invisible others who I could describe as disappearing from my life or maybe more honestly as I disappearing from theirs. To any of them I may have appeared invisible. To me, they had all tied up to each other in my mind. And while I may have given them an occasional thought, they were nowhere to be seen.
Any able skipper can discern wind, air flow, direction and velocity when watching a telltale on some sail or shroud. But a skilled helmsman can notice much more about wind such as wind pressure, sail efficiency, wind shifts, timing to alter course and even boat speed. But a competent sailor determines all of these without seeing the wind. It is not magic, but experience and feel and intuition that play a role.
When there is no breeze, the wind seems as if it is nowhere to be found. Under windless circumstances, one might perceive no air movement as nonexistent wind or merely as invisible. But wind no matter what velocity is, In fact, impossible to see. Even when the wind seems to slap us in the face or pushes us, we don't see the wind; we just feel it.
And let us remember, as long as we stay alive, we breathing an out of sight gas. Even if something is out of sight, it does not mean it does not exist. It may have disappeared from our conscious thoughts...most of us don't think about our next heartbeat or breath. They happen out of our mind. In fact, they happen without thought. Yet when the wind begins to blow, it still is no more visible. In fact, no matter how strong the wind is, its impact is all anyone can ever observe. Wind is invisible no matter how intense it is. Water ripples, trees sway, flags wave, sails luff, windchimes shake while telltales flutter is evidence it still unseen. While the wind may strengthen, it can at best only be felt or heard. Of course, we can all see its effects on things; its destruction So one of the strongest forces in Nature can not be seen.
When there is no breeze seems, the wind seems as if it is nowhere to be found. One might call the wind movement nonexistent and then understandably invisible. But let us not forget, the air we breathe is out of sight as well as out of our minds as well.
Maybe you weren't there as much as you could have. Maybe you failed to attend to their wants and needs. Maybe you missed the messages that showing up is most of what life is about. You have to be there to be accounted for. But if one's mind and heart are absent; the whole individual might as well be sleeping in bed, absent from what life offers if you are present. No one can't honestly proclaim someone is absent if that individual has not been enrolled or accepted. The absentee may be on the roster, but if he or she is a no-show, that doesn't mean he or she is supposed to be present. Those that show up are those who are supposed to be there. Those who don't appear are invisible. They are just not joining YOU.
What we frequently miss is sharing ourselves with others. If we aren't there where they are, they could still be with each other. That is the power of the mind. We can imagine ourselves being anywhere. But when resentment deludes a mind from reality, it is impossible to see clearly what the individual attracts. Ever not invited someone into your life; there is an almost certainty, they will not attend it - unless they are really truly out of their mind. And, of course, they missed you...well, they didn't really MISS you because you weren't there to be absent.
Most people want to be seen or at least known on some level. Some may prefer to be invisible like wind, but few of us have that power or influence. What is interesting to me is that some people are out of their minds; they perceive justifying their own fears is justifiable. NEWS FLASH - When people fail to face their own misperceptions, they too fail to show up. It is pure insanity to believe putting others out of sight, they are also out of mind as well. When people loses their minds, they tend to judge others without ever acknowledging their own issues. Too bad many of us sabotage ourselves when we think we are showing up. Showing up is more than a body count. When feelings, thoughts, motivations and courage are also absent, then that person also failed to be present.
What I have discovered is that if each of us takes roll call. In other words, takes attendance - finding who is present and who is absent, it is often the roll-caller who sabotages his/her own time with others. Let's get real - calling out names or not does not assure attendance. In fact, it may simply deter attention and understanding. We are after all more than a photo or a name. If we want to connect with others, we have to relate to them somehow. Sometimes those others are clueless when it comes to their relating. Life is not about our getting everyone around us to like us or respect us. Understanding each other is always and all ways a two way proposition
When I don't show up, nothing happens that might have happened. I have to be present to grasp my reality and lessons. They don't appear if I stay in bed dreaming about things happening. All of us have to have some strength to get dressed and walk through the door and sit ourselves next to out own ignorance and ugliness. Maybe not such a pretty picture, but one we will eventually face whether we are ready or not.
But showing-up has a double-whammy. No shows don't share themselves with others because they aren't present to share themselves or hear others share themselves. Everyone loses when we don't open ourselves to others.
Sometimes we can't escape our own judgements. Escaping them would mean we would have to get out of our mind. Sometimes what shows up and sits beside us is exactly what we need to face our own madness.
I grew up in a family where showing up honestly was a challenge. My parents were good at disguising their dis-ease. Like so many wanted a harmonious family, but difference and disagreement were often difficult for them. Later in life I found their body language speaking volumes and wearing their shiny defensive armor, they were often ready for judgment combat. Hiding was part of my family history. Any heritage of hiding the truth only damages and delays the honesty.
Yes, my parents, brothers, children and spouses all knew how to show up. Until that time when the shit hit the fan. while still hiding their feelings and attitudes. In many ways my parents did the best they could, yet like most humans, they refused to examine their role. How they contributed to an awkward situation was not something I eve heard them take credit for. Their own role is creating disruption or dissent was foreign to them. It appeared as if I were responsible for their discontent I never heard them criticize me for their smoking, criticizing and judging. But actions speak louder than words Always with their best intentions, they did not realize how ostracizing they were when they found blame in their own children. No blame here as I realize this is a common human reaction. But to "agree or flee" is no way to be. Showing up sometimes takes courage. But when fear rules, a shit show often appears instead.
. I am excited about the possibility of reestablishin a relationship withSpeaking of no-shows showing up - an email from my daughter suddenly appeared in my inbox on Christmas day. And then three days later a Xmas card and photo of my two granddaughters arrived. My daughter's first communication in over two years was a welcome gift. Yet hidden behind the gesture is any real contact. She wrote we would talk soon. I am cautiously optimistic about the possibilities. We will see how and whether or not we can all show up in 2018.
There are some positives that come from not being part of superficiality. I could be present somewhere else where I was loved and respected. Passion and love appear in those who appreciate and respect the diversity within us. When understanding reigns so Whn some of us judge a book by its cover, we don't pay attention to the character development and plot. It isn't about what we want the story to be; it is about accepting what the story is and where it is going. Too many of us only want the story to end in our favor. But when we finally realize, that the story only progresses when we accept who sits beside us.
It isn't others we have to change; it is our own perspective that needs clarity. When we see life as we want it rather than what it is, we are deluding ourselves. When we honestly work on our personal weird views, we will receive our needed wake-up slap.
Of course, everything I write about is out of my mind...or as I prefer out of my imagination...or my ideas all "show up" whenever a thought appears. Now I watch and witness my judgements pass by. And what I have found now is that when I give Ignore my initial judgements and give them time to pass me by positive impulses and feelings begin to bob to the surface. Because I have worked on developing a more balanced perspective, I now often show up out of my mind and heart. Not as some oddball eccentric, but as a more grounded, responsible individual.
I believe most healthy people converse and communicate comfortably. These individuals are comfortable with themselves; they know how to show up with others - no matter how different they are.