For our God is a consuming fire.

-Hebrews 12:29

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Diving Bell of Being

Right before the big blizzard set in last week, I went to the library to stock up on books, cds and dvds. Me and everyone else had the same idea; thus, the dvd selection was slim. I ended up choosing a video based solely on its production company, Miramax. In my experience, Miramax films are more artistic, esoteric, thought-provoking and heart-felt than most. Though I’d never heard of this film before, I decided to check out The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

Tonight, day 4 of snowfall (well it was when I wrote this), snow shoveling, snowed-in and all other ways snowfilled living, the husband and I sat down to watch. I will not share many details in case you too, dear reader, are drawn to watch this film (written in French, but complete with English dubbing and/or subtitles). But I will share that it starts out with a man who is a recent paraplegic. The audience is privy to his thoughts, though he is unable to speak.

Thinking back over his well blessed and lucrative life, pictures of glaciers, hundreds of thousands of years old melt and drop like so many world trade center towers into the ocean. The viewer hears his thoughts:

"Today, my life feels like a string of near-misses. Women I was unable to love, opportunities I was unable to seize, moments of happiness I let drift away. A race whose result I knew before-hand but failed to bet on the winner. Had I been blind and deaf, or did it take the harsh light of disaster to help me find my true nature?"

I can relate to these words. These past few days of being locked away due to snow, I have been writhing in disconnection and isolation from the outside world. Tucked away in a warm nest with my husband, at times I’m sure we’ve both felt like lashing out at the other if only because we’ve been on top of ourselves with little to do for too long.

flipping a bird with all love

And yet, this situation, like so many other wonderful ones that have graced the stage of my existence is nothing short of a great gift. When is the luxury of downtime ever available in droves?

But even as recently as this morning, I was reflecting on how many situations present themselves to me, and I meet them with a seeming built-in sense of dismay, dis-ease, disthymia actually. When all is on top, I still feel as though I’m pulling myself up by my boot-straps. This movie, with the protagonist lying in his hospital bed, brought me back to the days of my mother lying in her hospital bed, halo attached and she in pain.

When I tried to imagine myself in her place, I recoiled. I think I am claustrophobic now just due to snow, yet I have 1600 square feet of space in which to frolic. What of me locked inside a metal cage in which I am literally attached? She was an amazing testament to the ability of mind over matter, spirit conquering self, Self saving soul. I do not want to experience a tragedy to be able to look on current days and revel. I pray for an opening of senses that I may not bury myself in lost opportunity.

How do I do this? This movie is certainly not the first time I've felt I am losing time without appreciation. I was drawn to yoga in large part to help myself be in the moment, to enjoy the now. And while I am constantly reminding myself of the need for this skill, I feel it is ever elusive.

Mine is certainly not an unexamined journey, but I wouldn’t mind a few determinations as a result of all the analyzing. That may just be the very thing that keeps me from the appreciation I seek. Craving an outcome, when the process is the fundamental goal. Perhaps I’d best imbibe a glass of champagne and let the effervescence lift me up. Or, maybe I could just stop thinking so much and start just being more. Yes…just.

1 comment:

Cindy said...

More Zen in 2010, just keep in mind that if it was easy, we'd all be delightfully happy all the time. Inner peace through lowered expectations? For sure, less stress though lowered expectations. Someday, I'd like to be more like this woman:, but for now, I try to remember to be observant about what is making me happy, and to be content, and to fix what I can without freaking out too much about all the rest. And, something that hit me this morning in a big moment of stress - we end up feeling like we are failing because of situations we find ourselves in that we can't control, like having to work and take care of kids at the same time during the snow. There is nothing wrong with us when we react poorly in situations like that - we are not meant to handle them at all, much less with aplomb. Gotta let it go. And take some vacation days as soon as possible to help compensate. =]