That’s a Negatory on the emergency

This poem stanza really spoke to me:

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
–from Last Night As I Was Sleeping by Antonio Machado ( translation–Robert Bly)

See, I’m taking the solo show class again, working on the next 20 minutes of a piece and I am really struggling with simply getting to the work.

First, I didn’t know what I was doing.

Then, my dog was sick with something mysterious that involved multiple trips to the vet.

Then I was across the country seeing friends, going to an opening, and then back across the country to celebrate a big birthday. I mean, how lovely and bountiful, yes? YES! But the time is ticking and the show isn’t going to write itself (apparently) and while I don’t mind falling flat on my face, I want it to be after I’ve wrestled the alligator to the point of collapse.

Metaphoric collapse.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal the other day:

Wow. I don’t like this. I don’t want to do this. I DO want to do this. No one is making me. Why won’t someone come make me? Why am I such a coward? Or lazy? Maybe I’m not an artist. Maybe I just want comforts. Ease. Pretty clothes. Funky jewelry. A fit bod. Maybe I want the gold but I don’t want to dig. 

I share this with you because transparency = safety even though my mind often thinks the opposite, thinks that I need hide things to feel safe.

My mind wants to judge this struggle as bad–that’s my knee-jerk–but I know better. It’s not bad or good. It just IS. The simple solution is to let it be there, recognize it as evidence that I am a human person who, like every other human person, has this tendency to get lost in either the past or the future.

And then–get back to the Right Now.

When I recoil from what’s happening, I start to scramble or doubt myself or get graspy, like I’m losing ground; I strain my neck to see what someone else is doing or fret about what I’ve done in the past and, really, OH MY GOD HOW EXHAUSTING.

When I notice what’s happening and let it be there, my nervous system starts to stand down, like someone calling down from inside my head to the rest of my body, OKAY EVERYBODY, THAT’S A NEGATORY ON THE EMERGENCY. REPEAT: NEGATORY.

I can look around and see the horizon or the wide open sky or simply the ground in front of me or, at the VERY least, the ground beneath my feet.

I can feel my body–a tightness here, a tingling there.

I can set the timer for ten minutes and write and keep writing until it goes off.

Is it any good? I don’t know. Is it what I really want to say? I don’t know. Is going to be enough? I don’t know. Will I finish in time? I don’t know.

But those bees. Those golden bees. I think I can hear them buzzing.

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