Tuesday, March 1, 2011

meditations in an emergency

on edge at the edge

As I grow older, I am finding that any preconceived notions of what is just and what is fair have no bearing on the unfolding of events in reality. The stakes rise, but the same arbitrary principles seem to govern the fine line between success and failure. As the stakes rise, so do the finality of outcomes. There are far fewer opportunities for redemption or second chances. One shot, one opportunity. If you miss it, you can take the bus back home.

There is a certain amount of calm that comes with being in the middle of a storm. Some of it manufactured, some of it a requisite of survival, and possibly some of it because life just can't be as bad as you might think it is. There is always a way it could be worse. And if you can't think of a possible scenario where that could be the case, that is a limitation of your imagination and not the overall depravity of reality. The only emergency is that there is no emergency.

What is it about hitting a crossroads that drives a man to the pen? I suppose it is a better outlet than the bottle. Sleepless nights and deep dark thoughts lead to deep frustration fueled meditation. Angst is good for the creative process. Jerry MaGuire had his mission statement, The Things We Think But Do Not Say. Unfortunately, there is nothing more overrated than the forgotten literature people clamor over when it is featured on a popular television show, especially as it relates to some level of personal crisis.  Case in point, you have Frank O'Hara's Meditations in an Emergency that made quite the splash on Mad Men. Having said that, there is something poignant about it.

Now I am quietly waiting for 
the catastrophe of my personality 
to seem beautiful again, 
and interesting, and modern. 

The country is grey and 
brown and white in trees, 
snows and skies of laughter 
always diminishing, less funny 
not just darker, not just grey. 

It may be the coldest day of 
the year, what does he think of 
that? I mean, what do I? And if I do, 
perhaps I am myself again.

[Meditations in an Emergency - Frank O'Hara]

As thoughts on life evolve, it becomes clear that there is a time to think, there is a time to act, and there ultimately is a time to move on. I believe in the Keep Choppin' mantra, but it might be time to start chopping another tree. And there is nothing inherently wrong with taking a break. In the words of an unknown warrior, "I am hurt but not slain. I'll lay me down and bleed a while. And then I'll rise up and fight again."

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