March 30th, 2005
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full attention

The woods bring me back to myself. There is so much going on here all the time. I forget. So much busyness of a different kind. Busyness, not business. The world is waking up again after a long sleep. I find a roundish patch of grass (the snow has not quite melted yet in places), and crouch to listen. Dozens of geese yelling in the distance, a squirrel engaged in a battle with someone, a crow flies directly overhead, the sound of the pond melting (water dripping in all directions), lower to the ground I hear the sound made by hundreds of small bluish bugs flitting around in the dead grass. I pick a long strand of the grass and roll it between my fingers, feeling it’s crunchiness. I haven’t felt that in a long while. This is DIRECT experience of life. Nothing filtered through another lense, no reading about it in a book. Everything is calm amidst the busy-ness. Quiet. Everything is starting to grow again, and I am o.k. All of the panic disapates. I write a quote with my pen on a dead tree stump to my left, mouth tightening with concentration as I try to make the ink flow onto the porous surface.
“You have to give your life full attention as if your hair were on fire.” -deshimaru
I was going to add to my previous post about how I have started to feel like the internet has turned into a kind of popularity contest where it seems that people are competing for attention in a rather obvious manner. About how I am frustrated about this fact, and the fact that there appear to be many cliques that form, no different than my bad memories of high school. And about how when I started writing here I wanted it to be a creative outlet for myself, a forum for my ideas and experiements, (and yes, a promotional tool, I won’t lie about that). And how, as previously mentioned, many times I have fallen prey to thinking entirely too much about the audience, (which in my opinion does not make for great art), but in a public forum becomes hard to deny over time. Especially with a medium that is interactive. I never wanted to feel like I was competing with others, I only wanted to get things out regularly. I was going to vent about these things.
I was.
And then I read an story by Anne Lamott in which she talks about having an “Enemy Lite”, the mother of her 8 year old son’s friend, who she found to be competitive, overly warm and friendly, arrogant, show offy, snooty, and all together too perfect. Realizing that this kind of lashing out at another is really self destructive behaviour, she tries to find a way to love her and forgive her for her misgivings. To no avail. After several months she has a brief moment of epiphany when she bends down to put on her sons shoe (while visiting this woman’s house), and notices that she is looking into the shoe of the other boy’s to “see how my kid lined up in shoe size.” And a light goes on. She is projecting all of her feelings of inadequacy, her need to be a better mother, her fears, her competive nature, her self-contempt onto this other person. It is all her stuff! “The veil dropped. I got that I was mad as a hatter.”
So I started to see that some of my problems with ‘the internet’ were actually reflecting my own stuff back to me. My own competitiveness, my need to be heard, my wanting to be popular. There it all is, the truth, sitting in it’s not so beautiful glory.
“Aha!” she said reluctanly.

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