Today

I woke, I ate, I thought, I ran through the park. I stared down the self-assured eyes of statues. I sat on a bench and meditated. I felt the bench through sweat-wick gym clothes, and let life flash through me. The day is still fresh and damp hair from my shower runs down my back. Today is my day off, and energy has been traded for quietness.

I treat myself with slow care, as if I am a child. I alternate tasks to keep my mind engaged. I take naps. I call to myself to disrupt wandering or painful thoughts. I remember the clapping rhythms used by primary school teachers to bring focus, discipline. Early instructions to my mind, they echo up. It hurts.

When I am alone with myself I ruminate. I wrestle past events into a coherent line that then breaks down on analysis. Jags of pain stem from attempts to solve the behavior of others. Faces come up and, tied to them, all of the love and weight of relationships that broke into confusion.

I wash my face. I sit down in a cafe. I focus for an hour or so, and take notes. But no immunity comes and the thoughts keep running, the tide of the past rushes over; it gives weight without grounding.

I know that I am here, in this chair. I know my name, how to spell, and how to shape the letters. I know addresses of childhood homes and the phone numbers of old friends. Through mastery of these practical skills, my mind has gained time to consider the life of my barista, the businessman with his wide stressed eyes, the mother in a sun hat, the seven year old scootering by.

Today, on my day off, I realize my incidental situation, in the backdrop, with partial information.

Up to the exam

Focus has not come. Attention has slipt through all the pages and I’m left with this partial knowledge to repeat on the pages of my exam. I don’t know if I should expend the effort of sitting it, and writing. This could be like those chemistry exams in high school when I knew I failed before I handed in the exam.

Resistance is chemical but first it is contrary. Dislike so strong may cut to the level of animus. There is some limit beyond which continuing is unfaithfulness to your essence. I have been too ready to use this excuse. But I am afraid of the alternative – of progress that is not generative because it ignores the shape of your soul.

Even great minds have been derivative minds. But to the degree that they defected from the grand well-traveled, they have been remembered.

Not every moment is posterity. I don’t know or care much whether I will be great. Chance gives that gift, and I have been humbled down to hoping only for a good life, for some minimal harmonies. I doubt that I have the discipline necessary to be put in the way of chance that gives rise to greatness. But I have my own sanctity to consider, my own sanity.

The small cradle of my mind might be telling me something. But the lesson could be either learning to push through this resistance, or recognizing when to find a new road. And I don’t know myself well enough to recognize which.