Monthly Archives: November 2012
Remember back in mid-October when I said in one of my posts that I was going to read Cloud Atlas before seeing the movie? Well pat me on the back for following through! I rushed over to Amazon that same day and ordered the book. Waiting with bated breath, I finally received the book in the mail a week later. I began reading with frenzy.
I patted myself on the back again soon after for so easily digesting a book that some were describing as confusing and overly complex. After all, there were supposed to be SIX different stories that were somehow separate in era but yet intertwined. Sounds like it should have been as hard to unravel as the wirey mess that is usually how I finally find my earbuds at the bottom of my purse. But here I was doing it! In fact, I was having no problem whatsoever following the story of the Catholic priest, Belk; the intriguing Yup’ik Eskimo, Lily; the drunken Shaman, Ronnie; and the unpredictable and snarling, Gurley. In fact, these characters seemed to be going along with their tale in a very linear and cohesive way. Intertwining? There was no intertwining. (If you’ve already seen the movie, you know where this is going and that in fact there is neither a Belk nor a Ronnie in the film, but bear with me.)
It wasn’t until I was about a third of the way through the book that I stumbled upon a wordpress blog that was reviewing the book. The writer, Leah from Books Speak Volumes, explained…
What’s more, each story is literally contained in the story that follows it; Zachry hears the “orison” (interview recording) of Sonmi~451, who watches a movie in which Timothy Cavendish reads a book about Luisa Rey, who reads the letters of Robert Frobisher, who finds the diary of Adam Ewing. It’s all very strange and baffling, and it made me wonder whose story I’m in.
Zachary? A diary? What the heck is a Sonmi~451? And I knew exactly the story I was in. What was Leah’s problem?
Something wasn’t adding up.
I got my book. Okay, a different cover than the Cloud Atlas cover all over the internet but that’s okay. They’re both weird and vague and include pictures of clouds. Let’s check the authors.
And THAT is when I discovered that Liam Callanan had tricked me into reading his book The Cloud Atlas, instead of David Mitchell’s book Cloud Atlas. Mr. Callanan published his book the same year as Mitchell! Don’t they crosscheck those kinds of things?? Isn’t there some kind of etiquette?? (Truth be told, I don’t know which book was published earlier in 2004 because my 3 minutes of trying to figure it out on the internet left me with nothing conclusive.)
Once I recovered from the shock of being duped so, I went back to reading this fabulous book. I LOVED it! Eskimo mysticism, Japanese balloon bombs, love in all of its twisted and tangled forms, wolves leading people on esoteric journeys…I couldn’t put it down. The only hard part was revisualizing my leading characters…Tom and Halle had to go.
An old friend of mine who lives in New Jersey just said…
“…but holidays tend to soften the striking surprise of hearing from someone from your past that you haven’t heard from in a while. Holidays and hurricanes, it seems.”
Words of wisdom. The holidays are a time to reunite with people you love despite months or even years of not being in touch. Of course! That is part of what makes holidays so special. But it’s also true that an event like Sandy can lead us back to people as well. When Sandy hitting our shores last week, I was struck with how many east-coasters came to my mind…people that I care about despite our lack of correspondance. I saw similar sentiments all over social networking sites and from firsthand accounts: feuds being put aside, postponed calls being made, life and relationship suddenly being viewed from a different perspective.
When it comes right down to it—-when the storm hits the sand—-it is that abiding care that prevails. A lack of correspondence doesn’t necessarily signify a lack of connection.
So because we all need this reminder from time to time, remember to give yourself moments of stillness to allow your mind’s eye a gaze upon that great “cloud of witnesses” that surrounds you in the midst of your journey…the people who have touched your life for good and, intentionally or unintentionally, been a guide. Send them love from your heart and healing from your hands. And if the spirit moves you, send them an e-mail.
In college I majored in linguistics and French. I have worked as a speech-langauge pathologist for almost a decade. I love writing. I have had a good deal of personal experiences with conflict, conflict resolution and practice in self-expression. So I think it is fair to say that language examined is a centerpiece in my life.
Today, during my “quiet time” which I set aside for prayer, meditation, and/or inner work I encountered the irony of calling it that. It began when, in a moment of feeling the past and future drift away and resting only in my present and constant connection to God, I had an urge to verbally express the wave of gratitude and peace that was overcoming me. I began to speak.
But instead of remaining in the motion of that beautiful moment, the feeling of connection lessened. With the words out of my mouth, I was fully in my physical body again…using my vocal folds to create sounds, my mouth to create words, my brain to put it all together in an order that makes sense to someone outside of me… I was no longer in that wave of unspoken gratitude and love where God and I meet in heart and spirit.
I thought, Okay, I’ll stop talking for now and just be in this moment. After all, I’ve done that many many times. I figured it would be easy. I returned to a place of connection and did not open my mouth to speak. But the linguistic mind is an amazing thing. We think in words. We can have an entire conversation in our heads without uttering a sound. Even though I had silenced my mouth, my mind continued to talk about what was happening.
Mind 1: What a wonderful feeling this connection is. Thank you for this moment with you, God.
Mind 2: Shhhh…. Stop talking. Just feel it!
Mind 1: Okay. I’ll stop. I’ll stop talking so that we can just feel. Ready? Okay on the count of three we’ll just start feeling and not putting words to everything like we always do. No words. Just sensation. Wait, would it be “sensation” or “feeling?” Maybe we should just call it “experience?” No, I’ve got it. “Being.” That’s good.
Mind 2: Shhhhhhhh!!!! You’re missing it!
Eventually, I was able to be in a place of even mental non-talk. Not completely and constantly–it’s a hard habit to break!–but to a much greater degree than ever before. I just was. All feeling of gratitude or love in my heart, in the moment of being felt, was already being communicated. No words necessary. As people drifted through my mind with a feeling of connection and appreciation, I let go of the need to open my mouth to pray for them. Instead, I rested with them in that beingness and we were completely known to one another and to God. God knew all I would have prayed for them as I just let myself remain silently in that state of supplication. I could “hear” insight without processing it as language. I just knew what was being relayed.
When your sense of self is no longer tied to thought, is no longer conceptual, there is a depth of feeling, of sensing, of compassion, of loving, that was not there when you were trapped in mental concepts. You are that depth.
– Eckhart Tolle
It was new and beautiful.
There is a time for language. I hold fast to my belief that there is a time for powerful verbal prayer. There is a character that is built through the practice of careful selection of words. But there is also a time for silence, a time for our spirit to drift with the waves and just be.
In silence there is eloquence. Stop weaving and see how the pattern improves.