Sunday Scribblings

This week’s prompt: “I don’t want to be a passenger in my own life.” (Diane Ackerman)

This is something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the past few years. Ever since I started serious journaling, this thought has entered my mind in one form or another. Perhaps not in the form the originator intended, but I can’t know for sure what she intended. I would imagine that a lot of people might interpret it to mean that we shouldn’t let someone else do the driving for us, whether that “someone” is a god, a spouse, or even life itself. I see it a slightly different way.

I read the prompt on Friday afternoon. Friday evening I was standing in the kitchen mixing a sauce for the fish tacos we were having for dinner. As I mixed the creamy ingredients and chopped the cilantro, I was thinking about this prompt and what I would write. That train of thought led me down the tracks to a rather surreal place. I began thinking of writing about the very act I was currently involved in doing (mixing the sauce) while thinking of writing about the prompt as an example of being a passenger in my own life and this very train of thought is what led to me that surreal place of realizing that I was, in fact, coming along for the ride rather than living in the moment. I should’ve been taking in the scent of the cilantro, the feel of the mixing and chopping movements. I ended up slicing a finger while living in this surreal place which promptly brought me back to the moment. It was an abrupt awakening.

The point of bringing up that surreal experience is that sometimes I find myself writing about life inside my head instead of just experiencing it. Everything going on around me becomes part of this ongoing novel being stored in my brain (which, by the way, might be a very poor place to store things given the tendency of my mind to suddenly and seemingly dump whole sections of things for no particular reason, only to find them again later in life, old friends come to visit, replacing other other friends who were dumped by this same system). I find myself thinking, a lot, about how I’m going to write up the day or the weather or something that just happened, when I really should just be. Life needs to be lived, experienced, enjoyed and when I’m writing in my head I’m not really doing any of those things. Instead I become the narrator.

Looking at the quote in another way, I also don’t want to be the sort of person who plods on through life, wrapped up in habit and routine, days flying by, and then wakes up one morning wondering what happened to all that time. Sometimes it’s all too easy to switch to autopilot — get up, shower, eat breakfast, go to work, come home, eat dinner, veg out for a few hours, go to bed, lather, rinse, repeat the next day — and become a passenger in my own life.

NaBloPoMo: Day 12

The living moment is everything. ~D.H. Lawrence

Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee. ~Montaigne

Nothing ever gets anywhere. The earth keeps turning round and gets nowhere. The moment is the only thing that counts. ~Jean Cocteau, Professional Secrets, 1922

Don’t go off sightseeing.
The real journey is right here.
The great excursion starts
from exactly where you are.

You are the world.
You have everything you need.
You are the secret.
You are the wide opened.

Rumi