Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Swinging Into Oblivion

I watched a movie the other night called A Gentleman's Game, starring Mason Gamble and Gary Sinise.  The movie is a "drama revolving around characters whose lives are transformed one summer at an exclusive East Coast country club."  (IMDb)  It's a golf movie, and no, this isn't a review.  However, there was a scene, a conversation, in the movie that zinged me enough that I paused the movie to go hunt down pen and paper so I could write down what they had just said.  The conversation was between a boy, (Timmy), and his teacher, (Foster), regarding the boy's preference for practicing golf on the beach, hitting the balls out into the ocean, and went something like this:

Foster:  "You like hitting balls to oblivion?  What's wrong with the driving range?"

Timmy:  "Nothing.  Here's just better."

Foster:  "Why?"

Timmy:  "Because there's no one watching me.  There's no yardage markers, or targets, or anything.  You just hit the ball, and it doesn't matter where it goes.  Even if you wanted to aim at something, you couldn't.  You can just swing, and don't even worry about it.  I like that.  You should try it with me sometime."

Yes.  That.  Right there.  That place, that space, that feeling, that experience within, when we "don't even worry about it," that allows for the "pure swing," ( a golfing term ).  The more I think about it, the more I think he's on to something. 

I've written here before in this blog about suffering from an acute sense of self consciousness regarding putting what I write "out there," ( or here, as the case may be ), and I've also experienced the exact same feeling when standing on a stage to sing or to talk in front of an audience.  I do understand it's some kind of  preoccupation with self, and that we all experience it from one degree to another.  I once read about a study done where scientists put forth a question to folks regarding what they feared most, and the number one fear was public speaking.  Number two on the list was death.  Soooo, people would rather die than stand in front of a bunch of eyeballs looking at them.  So yeah, while in a lot of ways it's good to know I'm not alone in my neurosis, that still doesn't take care of the issue.

Because here's how I view it...

Have you ever danced with abandon under the moonlight, bare feet drumming on the earth?  Have you ever belted out a naked song in the shower?  Or made sweet love in the snow - your senses coming alive, with the contrast of heat and cold feeling oh so delicious, the scent of evergreens all mixed up with the clean crisp air - and had your soul standing forth, setting itself free through the misty cloud of your breath? Or sang from your whole heart, face lifted, eyes gazing lovingly up, setting your voice ringing to try to match, or to answer, what you feel from the stars?  I've literally lost any sense of myself in a song while I was singing it!  Almost as if I became the notes themselves.  The same goes for writing.  Have you ever lost yourself so completely in a sunset or sunrise, that you didn't know where the sky began and you ended?  Or thrown your whole body onto this glorious Mother Earth, with a grand desire to be big enough to embrace all of Her, melt into Her warm embrace?  Or yelled at a mountain, ( releasing pent up anger energy, but not wanting to hurt anyone else with it ), shaking your fists at its hard, immovable body.  It can take it.  Just as the sea swallowed up those golf balls.  We're afraid of being swallowed up into the All, I think, not recognizing that we're already playing a unique part in It.  Without us, It wouldn't be Whole. 

Have you ever set yourself free, just once!, taken your hands off yourself?  Stopped manipulating your emotions, stopped monitoring, and editing your self, your thoughts, and simply let yourself BE.  Drop down, and sit in all your BE-ness, here/now, in the eternal moment... and a blade of grass becomes a magical wonder, instead of something to be plucked or mowed.

I've experienced all this, but when it came to expressing myself in a public setting, like here, or up on a stage, I found myself clamming up, putting a blanket over the light within me, trying to be careful not to draw too much attention, as if I was preparing for bombs that might fall in the night - like in world war II, when people had to close all their curtains, extinguishing any evidence of light, so the planes overhead couldn't mark them as targets.  Any sign of light meant that's where the living dwell. 

It feels almost paradoxical, because it's almost like being fully present in an experience is the same as losing the sense of oneself in it.  The thing we're doing when we're in a state of self consciousness is an action of holding ourselves, our full expression, back.  Separating ourselves from wherever we happen to be standing in the moment. 

So I asked myself....if I can experience this sense of fullness of presence when I think no one is looking, then it begs to reason that I can experience it at all times.  There is no difference between here and there, people in the room or none whatsoever!  Because wherever I happen to be standing, experiencing whatever I happen to be experiencing, I am, in essence, standing in the same place, one place, if you catch my drift.  There is no where I am not. 

So the difference between writing with the intention of allowing others to see it, and not, can only be coming from one place.  Me...and my view.  Which basically boils down to that kind of "me looking at you looking at me" weirdness going on. 

The more I thought about what that boy in the movie said, the more I felt it's exactly what I needed hear to help me with this issue.  Because, frankly, I don't like it.  I haven't ever felt comfortable with this discrepancy I found within me, regarding a self consciousness that felt like it was crippling my spirit of expression.  If I wanted to write, write dammit!  I was just fine freeing all of myself into the written word as long as it wasn't being observed by others.  But the very instant the thought even entered of another looking at it - yeah, it felt like an automatic shut down was being activated.  I couldn't pretend I didn't know what I was up to!  I thought with the practice of writing on this blog that I'd eventually get over it.  But it hasn't let up, and there have been times that I felt so tired of feeling I was fighting my way through this thing that I thought, "Hang it!  I don't want to do this anymore."  But that's not the case either. 

What this boy said about hitting the ball and it not mattering where it goes...I think I've been trying to aim for a target.  Indeed, even trying to find where or what that target is!  The idea of not worrying about a target, or not being concerned with measuring myself against some unknown world view of what is "good" and what is "bad" to write about is a freeing one.  The idea of swinging expression out to oblivion, not concerning myself with where it lands, simply for the sake of expression, frees my spirit to express itself with, or as a part of,...well, Everything.  What it is, I think, is swinging into pure trust, when we finally give the finger to the notion of dis-trust ~ in self, in each other, in Life ~ and throw off the burdensome mantle that hinders our every move, subdues natural expression, and creates a veil, and a sense of separation from All.  

"You can just swing, and don't even worry about it.  I like that.  You should try it with me sometime."

I like that too.  And I'm trying it with him in the form of writing. 


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