Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting to the meditation

I did not get down to meditating until later in the evening, but it is an important part of what I feel I need to do at this age in life. It is also part of of why I am retreating from the patio. I got so disturbed I could not meditate. It is always a risk to mix and mingle with largely undisciplined people, but what other kind would I be apt to meet in a complex that houses low income aging and disabled. Some have been disabled a long time, but I have learned that two undisciplined people can team up and suddenly there is a dangerous almost palpable conflagration of negativity. If you do not have the means to put out the scorching fire retreat is the only possible response. Or you are only going to get upset.
I have tried to analyze what happened and why. One of the people involved is a woman well past my age, but oddly she only looks back into the past because she does not believe there is a future. I suggested to her one time that she try meditating, and she rejected that idea very firmly as crazy, but she has also confided that she is very dependent on her trips down to the patio to talk to the people. A very forceful younger person was able to team up with her, using her popularity as a way in by extending her friendship. Then instead of being able to curb this younger person when she became characteristically angry, the older person was helpless. But I was not helpless. I could retreat rather than becoming a part of a 'hostile takeover'. Cut my losses.
This does not mean this move is permanent but will probably last some months. I have put a lot of energy into my forays into the world of the patio people, so I will be missed. But since I can't explain, they will have to figure out what happened and why.
Halloween night. Witches and goblins. Dangerous ideas there if not kept firmly harmless.
But I can occupy my mind for hours if necessary with other connections, connections that I actually should be making in preparation for departure. Last night I spent the evening with an older cousin who died last spring. I had called him and had at least two very significant conversations with him during the couple of years before he died. Very often relatives can be of like mind enough that you can reach a depth with them not easy to reach with most people. He confirmed that these conversations were very helpful to him in making his transition. They indicated to him work he needed to do, a direction he needed to take as soon as he was in the spirit, so he was able to get busy right away, in fact, he said he thought he was thinking better than he had for years and he thanked me for making the effort to challenge him. If he hadn't been a first cousin I wouldn't have done it. I would not have believed I could challenge him.
This evening I went to The Oregon Literary Review site and listened to a 14 minute discussion of his books by a poet, Dave Lee, who came to Boulder this past October for the Writer's Workshop. He also reads some of his poems. My niece and sisters reported he was a very stimulating teacher. He was talking on the video about losing four people who were very important to him in one year, one a younger brother and one a sister who had won a Pulitzer Prize. Another was a long time editor of his work and mentor. He looks to be in good health, but he knows his time on the earth is limited, too. He must get ready to depart. He felt like quite a stranger to me. I could not relate to him very well. He read several of his poems in the books he had just published this year which was nice.
I thought of how different his life is from mine. He was Utah's first poet laureate. I knew I could not say anything to him that would penetrate as I had to my cousin. I would feel like a stranger to him, too. He would not be able to relate to me. He might not want to.
I thought the main reason why our paths had so diverged had to do with disability. Long time disability. Similar to having been in a bad car wreck at a relatively young age. There is a guy in here like that. I have more in common with him than I do with Dave Lee. Dave Lee talked about being a runner. He was pretty trim and healthy looking. I thought the gods had smiled on him.
They hadn't necessarily smiled on me, but I was a female struggling with many obstacles. Still his sister had struggled with the obstacles women must overcome to become a successful recognized writer, too.
It is necessary to accept all kinds of success as well as all kinds of failures in life. It is necessary to meditate to figure out how to accept your own destiny, to see it as important, too, in the lessons it might teach.
I am sure I will get there, to the same place he has gotten to, for what one human being can achieve another can, too. We are all being taught lessons from the experiences that have befallen us. And at some point our paths will merge, and then he will have to figure me out just as I am trying to figure him out.
He is not done with achieving recognition, as the books he was holding testify, four in one year. I cannot point to any books I have done, not yet. Although that was my ultimate goal. But I have to figure out the most important thinking I need to be doing right now.
I am studying the effects of disability and aging on people. What pitfalls they may fall into in their frustration. The younger person I mentioned earlier who is so perpetually angry became disabled before she had worked long enough even to collect social security. She can only get medicaid because disability hit her so young. She is past sixty now. I can see she still brims with anger when she thinks about her plight, about her broken dreams. She is still having a tough time accepting her destiny, so it was necessary to get out of the path of such corrosive anger, become habitual. I understand her frustration. But the anger won't help. It sometimes takes a long time for the disabled to learn that.
But anger is all part of the process.
So the poetry reading by the poet was nice, capped the evening off well. Gave me something a little different to think about. Meditate, think, whatever you want to call it. Below you can sample some or all of the Dave Lee poet video.

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