January 11, 2010

Day 12 Resolution- Experience

I just had an encounter with a man named Ryan. Right beforehand I was in a real funk, was told something that really stung, made me wonder if my life would change in a way I didn’t want it to. I began to fill my mind with stories which were not helpful. I knew I wanted to pull out of this way of being,it is too painful, too familiar. I set myself a game plan, go to Sidewinders Cafe, take my tools to doodle, to write, get tea, be with me, rest, find ease. As I walk in I smile at a man who passes. I find myself inside talking to him, he inquires about sharing my table. I say yes but quite curtly let him know I need to write, that this is my time to be with me.

Who am I kidding? We end up talking, going outside so he can have a smoke, I held his coffee, he asked me to. It seemed a little funny, too close, too soon, but I let that go, I was just holding his coffee after all, not meeting his mother! He told me I was kind, said “we like kind people better than assholes”. When I inquired about who “we” were thinking perhaps he meant “men”, he told me that it is just a habit, something that he started a little over 11 years ago, he refers to himself in the third person. I may have scoffed at this before, remembered the infamous Seinfeld episode where “Jimmy” refers to himself in the third person, where Jimmy is made out to be full of himself. I didn’t think of this though, not now. Not now that I understand better what a head injury does to a person.

Over a decade ago Ryan spent 6 weeks in a coma, he was never expected to live. His new friend, a boy he had met a week earlier didn’t survive the crash. Ryan was 18 at the time. He tells me about the sunny side of his situation, calls himself “semi retired”, speaks of the home that he will inherit since he still lives with his mother. The sadness seeps out though when he talks about the care worker who fell in love with him, and him her, how she left and how he doesn’t blame her, says he wouldn’t have stayed as long as she did. She lives in Toronto now, with someone new.

My funk, the words that stung, had a new perspective. Not so much that “things could be worse” or “there is always someone who has it worse than you!”, these two ideas don’t help me to honour my feelings and have me judging others situations as “worse”. More it was just experiencing the company of this man, my new friend Ryan. I was present and not living in the past thinking about the painful words of loved one, or in the future constructing how it may unfold. Nope, I was in neither place, I was just here, with Ryan, listening to the stories and ideas of another. I was practising my New Years resolution. To truly experience the moment, without stories from the past or future, as much as possible to just experience any given moment for what it is. Ryan helped me to remember this today, when cane in hand and nearly paralysed on his left side he had the courage to ask a beautiful womyn to share a table. He told me later that he knew his “stick” (meaning his cane) and his pretty face would win me over. I told him that I had learned from him, learned from the way he owned his glory. He laughed and said he had no idea what I was talking about but liked the way I spoke. It was a beautiful moment and I am proud to say I fully experienced it, and will continue to practice this for the rest of the year making it a life long habit.

“How fully do you experience life?” is the question in 12 days journal #274

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