Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fighting the water

So, when I was growing up, I took swimming lessons at the YMCA every Saturday morning. I don't think my parents especially cared whether I could swim or not, they just wanted us kids out of their way so that they could clean house or fight or sleep or throw potted plants at each other or whatever. (My money's on throwing potted plants at each other. Or... whatever.) Anyway, I remember that early on in my training my instructors commented that it looked like I was fighting the water. Eventually I hit my stride, I guess, but in the beginning, every movement looked like I was engaged in a life and death struggle against an amorphous enemy. I wasn't using my energy very wisely.

Well, I've long since stopped fighting the water literally, but I still have the sense that I'm fighting it figuratively sometimes. I've felt really frustrated since getting back from Guatemala. What the hell am I doing? During the past year, I had this great over arching drive in my life - teacher training. Now that's over, and I feel like I'm floundering. I need something new to motivate me, around which I can order my life, and I just don't know what it's going to be. And I know that the harder I look for it, the less likely I'll be to recognize it. So I'm still fighting the water. I need to let it go. It's not going to come until I'm calm.

Another phrase that's been dancing across my synapses lately - "went without the meat and cursed the bread." It's from a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson (if I remember correctly). I've been letting my desire for things I don't have taint my appreciation of the good things I do have. (And of course, the things I'm talking about here are not really things.) Like fighting the water, this is completely counterproductive. Can I be grateful for what I have and still want something else? I guess that's the trick.

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