Xiang Yu and the Long View

I’ve been unwell for awhile now.

While I enjoyed a few days respite traveling with my family, it was more a form of crisis management than a shift in mood.  Like those mothers who can lift cars off their children in an emergency, my brain shifts into some primordial survival mode when faced with a crisis.  One more thing I can’t control.

But now I’m back in the deep.  These long episodes are always a test of endurance.  I just finished watching my Firefly collection (Joss Whedon’s short-lived series about a crew of survivors in a harsh off-world future).  A bit of dialogue caught my attention.

Serenity, Sean Maher, Ron Glass, Simon Tam, Shepherd BookShepard Book: Did you ever read the works of Xiang Yu?

Simon Tam: Xiang Yu the psychotic dictator?

The Shepard: Yep.  Fancied himself quite the warrior poet.  Wrote volumes on war… torture… limits of human endurance…”

Simon: That’s nice.

The Shepard: He said—live with a man forty years, share is house, his meals, speak on every subject.  Then, tie him up and hold him over the volcano’s edge.  And on that day, you will finally meet the man.

Simon: What if you don’t live near a volcano?

The Shepard: I ‘spect he was bein’ poetical.

It got my unreliable brain thinking—am I finally meeting the real me?

And then yesterday I saw the movie Cloud Atlas.  It’s a stunning treatment of Karma, The Long Life, and the weight of our thoughts and actions.  Not only did the movie distract me from my rampaging mind, it also helped me pull focus.  I ratcheted back from internal scrutiny to a wider view of my tiny drop of water in the vast ocean of the world and how that ocean might flow over time.

I can never trust the notions that my brain spits out while I’m in the deep.  Even so, I couldn’t help but wonder if things might be changing as I meet the real me in the context of my Long Life.  Instead of fighting change, instead of trying to recreate what was, perhaps I need to relax my grip.  Instead of concentrating on the details, the minutia, perhaps a wider view is required.

I’m not sure what this means, or if I should even pay attention to it.  What I think it means today, is that I’ll stop hunting for a new coffee shop.  That sounds really petty when I write it down, but coffee shops are my sanctuaries.  The right ones can make me feel normal like nothing else can.  But the focus feels too limited now, too fear-based.  I need to look up and out.  Perhaps in all things, I need to look up and out.

I am hanging over the volcano, and maybe the true me is emerging.  But, maybe, there’s more than the fire.  Maybe, there’s also the Ocean.

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Evelyn Atholl Moir
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 08:08:09

    Mother of Mine, now that I’m Grown…Jimmy Osmond x
    A wee school pal from way back then just won over £1.000.000/ Hope it brings Blessings.
    Enjoying lovely sunshine, and leaves…blessings too.


  2. littlesundog
    Nov 03, 2012 @ 09:25:58

    These words you speak, I believe, were meant for me to hear and ponder. Sometimes I get so focused on the ego and where it can take me. I look forward to seeing Cloud Atlas. I love a good movie, book or experience that brings about hope and helps me focus on the positive.

    I make my own coffee… and I often walk down to the canyon and find a stump, fallen tree, or a rock to sit on and enjoy nature. The leaves are falling fast now, so the golden carpet is my path, and sometimes my sitting spot. I wish you were here, my beautiful friend!


  3. ManicMuses
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 07:20:27

    (Firefly – one of my all-time favorite series. Cloud Atlas – how great was that book!)

    You’re so insightful. I really think you’ve hit on something with the coffee shop conundrum. Just remember, you don’t have to look up and out all at once. Raise your head slowly and let your eyes adjust to the new view. *hugs*


  4. Kathryn McCullough
    Nov 04, 2012 @ 18:57:34

    I think there’s a lot to be said for loosening ones grip–and for the ocean, as well. Hang in there, sweetie.


  5. pegoleg
    Nov 05, 2012 @ 14:38:57

    I have trouble corralling my wayward thoughts and worries in “normal” mode, without the added burden of bipolar under which you struggle, Sandy. I really feel for you and hope your introspection helps you find a measure of peace.


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