Napping always leaves me foggy and aimless. I’m not one of the people who have mastered napping, those lucky folk who can fall asleep instantly, doze for an hour, and wake up energized and enthusiastic. Today I had an allergic reaction to one of the preventative bug products we’ve been using, and took an antihistamine-induced nap that lasted four hours. Lots of weird dreams.
I awoke thinking about purpose. Earlier I had read this Huffington Post article “Sense of Purpose Adds Years to Your Life, Study Finds” and thought, well, duh. The whole “life worth living” notion isn’t exactly new. But I often wonder about my own purpose. It really seems like I should know what it is by now. It’s not really that I don’t feel I have purpose, but rather that I have different purposes based on my different jobs. I find a lot of purpose at work, and I feel good about that, and I have purpose as a mother, which doesn’t exactly feel great, because I’m always worried, but I do have a sense of purpose. Safety and To Not Entirely Mess Them Up. That’s the purpose. To be a worthy wife, that’s another. A good daughter, sister, and friend, also good purpose.
But it seems that without a Grand Purpose, we are supposedly missing out. It seems as though if I could quit worrying and tell myself, “Look. You are doing the things you wanted to do. You are living with purpose. Quit looking for one,” that this restless feeling would go away.
Purpose and presence are linked, I believe, and as Alan Watts reminds us, “The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.”
This comes from “The Wisdom of Insecurity”, and there’s a lot of wisdom there, I believe. If “I” could stop trying figure out my “I”, might I finally be able to be present and experience the “wholeness” of which he writes? And in trying to achieve this kind of purpose of presence, am I not just doing exactly the opposite, creating the illusion of something missing, when nothing, in fact, is?
That’s a little thinky for me, in my dazed state, but it jives nicely with an image I had earlier tonight while looking at a heron flying over the lake, so I’m going to try to poem about it.
Ten Meditations on Purpose
The heron’s purpose is always presence,
or how else would it read the currents,
or the surface,
the fins below?
If you met you as a traveler,
as if in a dream, roadside you would be able to tell you,
exactly where you are headed.
We are invited, to live like new lovers,
even when we are alone.
For them, now is always enough.
The worries and imagined regrets,
just smudges on the pane,
of a locked window.
As when singing or reading or painting,
to say not “I am singing, or reading or painting”,
but forget I, that pest,
Bats and birds do it without distraction
from brushes or pages,
relying heavily on their voices and wings.
Always, for me, there’s the shame,
of not not recognizing happiness sooner.
Always, I should’ve been more vigilant.
However often I have the dream, the bliss dream,
where I am a bat, and don’t need to learn
how to navigate with my ears,
I awake to sight before awareness, and hear my chest
What would it take to live like that heron,
lifting off the branch? Like the bat,
before the swarming feast?
Maybe it is time, to forget purpose,
maybe there is such a thing as too much certainty.
Maybe this is what the birds teach, to move always
as though it is time,
and I am heading home.
Not sure why this had to be broken into numbered lines. Feeling a bit scattershot, tonight, I guess. I’m also having slight technical difficulties, so I can’t attach the pretty heron picture I want. Oh well. I’m gonna take that as a sign, to go to bed 🙂 Happy Tuesday!