October 28, 2017 (Saturday)

by Yule Heibel on October 27, 2018

Energy. Where does it come from, how can you have more?

Today I meditated just before sitting down to write these morning pages – it’s the weekend, and I have more time. As I was doing the exercise, I felt a sense of energy …but also of quietude. In fact, it occurred to me that, even though I had slept well and long enough, I felt “quiet” enough to go right back to bed afterwards. I actually thought about doing so.

Then I thought of all the things I need to get done – a lot of boring stuff like grocery runs and Halloween shopping and mowing and trimming / edging our postage stamp bits of lawn one last (I hope) time this season… I realized I felt little energy for these things, but mainly I felt the absence of energy as a whole.

Writing about it now I realize that it’s because it’s a two-way street, not a one-way. I have to have an appetite for whatever is to be done – a desire. That’s how the energy builds. But generally, in general, my “objects” are boring things like mowing the lawn or going grocery shopping – things for which I have no appetite. I especially no longer can find it in me to feel desire for all the “suburban-y” things. The thought of putting up Halloween decorations really turns me off. Ditto Christmas.

Maybe I shouldn’t do these things? Perhaps it would free up my view and allow me to see things, other things, that I could feel more excited about? But, on the other hand, I feel like I’ve committed to the form of this life by buying into it – literally. I own this house, and it’s on P.-Hill, a prime Halloween trick-or-treating neighborhood for kids from all over the city. I’m committed to the form for as long as I live in this house, and the form is created by traditions. Trick-or-treat is a big one around here.

I don’t put up Christmas lights, which means I’m already going against the form in that instance. (But it also speaks volumes that Halloween is more important than Christmas now – that I dare blow off the latter but not the former.) What is it P.D. James has one of her characters (an Anglican priest?) say to Adam Dalgliesh who finds that he no longer believes? “Act like you do,” or something like that? It’s a “go through the motions” command, which may seem cynical, but if you’re still living in that form, in that arrangement, you could do more harm to yourself by not going through the motions.

I’m not arguing for superficiality or mendacity. Or tying to argue that authenticity can’t exist. But as long as you’re on a ship, at least find your sea legs – until you can figure out a way to get off. Otherwise you might contribute to making the ship go down – or, in this case, help destroy the cohesiveness of the neighborhood, which in turn hurts innocents who are committed to the form, who aren’t at sea like you are. Just because you’re drowning or adrift doesn’t mean everyone else should be.

We’ve returned to incredible, lovely Indian Summer weather. Can I avoid doing some of the things I have no desire to do? Probably not. The grass isn’t tall or rangy or anything, but it needs cleaning up. And the Halloween candies and fake cobwebs must be bought, the skeletons and mummies and cobwebs draped around the front door, the orange crepe paper put inside the lanterns to make them glow. The groceries must be bought. Tomorrow it might rain; so, even though it’s beautiful today, most of these things are best done in fine weather, hence a day of chores it is. Sigh.

My bottom line then: I must find a form I prefer, a better ship to captain.


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