Wednesday, May 4, 2005

Let this latte pass from my lips

I don’t want to be one of those disaffected middle-aged men who wear baseball caps pulled down low on the brow to hide the graying hair at the temples and wrinkles around the eyes. Those men exude activity and vitality via the all-American accessory while absorbing all my strength and energy when my gaze hits their lackluster eyes beneath the brim.

When I look in the mirror sometimes I think I see them.

I don’t want to be bitter. Not now. When I’m 80, no problem. But now—at least for the time being—for once in my life (that’s a lie, but an effective one)—I’d like to be filled with compassion and vigor. I don’t want to suck out my own inner strength through the blocked nasal passages and clogged, constricted throat, trying vainly to replace that emptiness with oxygen.

A meditation that came to me in one of those epiphanic episodes while walking down the street in Japan and has served me well all these years is, “I breathe in the universe; the universe breathes in me.”

All the meditations I read now before going to bed every night all reiterate the basic tenet that the universe is a reflection of me. But I can’t seem to get this sneaking suspicion out of my gut that I, too, am a reflection of the universe. All that negativity can’t be a byproduct of just my coding and internal drama! I should be much freer.

Yet today I spent the cool and windless afternoon under an overcast sky sitting in my car in the parking lot at the college listening to Sigur Ros trying to decode what has been written across my soul.

I’m jealous. I’m angry. I’m bitter about the bliss of other people, knowing full well that others see my bliss and shout, “Unfair! Unfair!” Thankfully I can see the folly of all this angst. (But I still think it’s fun to romp in those fields.)

Perhaps maturity is no longer fighting the urge and drive toward negativity. Perhaps in time I can fill up all “these negative things with positively everything” (else—thanks to Edie Brickell for those beautiful lyrics).

My wish for now: not to be tired (and yet I am); not to be bitter (and yet I am); and to make it through my last Wednesday of the semester (and I will) … with the Styrofoam cup pressed firmly against my lips.

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