Friday, April 10, 2009

Sitting here in this Starbucks, the only place I can get my online connection, the one business I have resented for a long time, the aggressive cut throat appearance of competition, perhaps now one I must embrace. I find the notion of ignoring my roots, fragile as they seem at times, ignoring my loyalties and the few familiar talisman of culture that I can grasp at, something to be engaged in at my peril.

I long for community, but seldom feel either invited to participate or else I exclude myself, consumed with my own self centered bewilderment at the vagaries of my existence. Few of us want to be alone, yet we all want to dictate the terms of engagement. And why not, otherwise we are merely the ornaments for others to embellish their lives, or so it seems.
My loyalty was to Peets Coffee, if I had to choose, because they were there first, he opened his first shop in front of where my dad had his studio in north Berkeley when I was a child. So of course my loyalty was to this sense of community and personal connection in a life where there has seemed to be few loyalties granted back to me and fewer personal connections as time passes.

And yet, and yet, it begins to all seem ephemeral. I'm to take what's in front of me now, accept graciously the wax fruit of relationships that once ripened on the tree in the sunlight of my life. I find this hard to digest and must ultimately accept that this indigestible offering has nothing to nourish my needs and those needs must now only embrace that which selfishly and without consideration of loyalties will enrich my personal needs. Life as a cost/benefit ratio, not the one I believe in in my heart but the one I feel driven by exclusion to accept.

In stead of the personal, the business, instead of the heart, the intellect, instead of the gift, the product and the merchandise. I seem to have fallen by default into the very world values I have so despised, the others became too expensive and too fraught with loss.
So, away now, across the oceans and continents and memories. Across the decades and politics, to another look at the past both personal and vastly publicly historic. Perhaps to have reinvented myself when I return. Like all of us though that depends in part on what I find.

I have long felt that the experiences in our lives, be they education, visit to a museum, a book read or music heard, is dependent entirely on what we bring to the experience. Our contribution to every new experience is 50% of the total received because it is the consequence of the combination of our past and selfhood with that of the new and the spontaneously experienced that creates what we describe as having understood. I am no different.

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