I don’t look in the mirror anymore because it always startles me when I don’t recall the face.
This year I had the most solitary Birthday of my life. Just a simple meal with a friend and a simple chat about the magic that exists in simple things. Maybe that is a metaphor for how complicated we make our lives and how we fill our world up with possessions, mementoes, and all sorts of reminders of the past. So many reminders that it’s sometimes very difficult to move forward without stepping over things that bring back bad memories. Perhaps Dylan was right, again, when he said, “Don’t look back.”
There was a time in L. A when I had experienced too many traumas in a row and was so confused and wearied and numbed by them that I gave up on every level and free fell into that place we all fear to go. And, the news from the abyss is this – apart from the devastating grief of having lost everything and everyone I had ever loved – there was also a great relief in the liberation of being truly free. Life stripped bare with the only thing in front of you an empty canvas (for those who chose to begin again), or death.
So, if you are one of those who choose to go on, you become bolder for there is nothing to fear anymore. All the things you were scared of losing are gone. And the realisation that you have survived it empowers you in a strange but mighty way. For now you have the hard won knowledge that you need never fear anything again. It is possible to survive the end of your world. The curtain has been pulled open and the Wizard of Oz is exposed as a little nerd in an ill-fitting suit.
In a way, the old me died and a new improved version was born.
I wouldn’t recommend the experience for it is truly an unbearable lightness of being. I would never wish to repeat it, but as a writer an experience none the less that does give another dimension and insight to the mysteries of this world.
But then again all wisdom comes at a cost. The ying and yang of this existence.
Perhaps that is why the custodians of truth and spiritual knowledge, in my opinion, are the very young and the very old. They seem to cut through all the complex manmade veils of bullshit to the heart of things. The stuff that really matters. They possess that dying commodity called “common sense.” Alas, such a thing is no longer common and very rare in this modern world of push and shove and short attention spans and no patience for the bigger picture. We want it all and we want it now and then wonder why we are so weighed down our spirits can no longer soar.
Anyway, getting back to birthdays, I’m starting to agree with those people who would say about their big day, “It’s just another number.” Perhaps our soul doesn’t age in years. Only tears.
(C) Frank Howson 2019