December 4, 2010

Glass House

I was quite upset a few nights ago; for no good reason I had bent myself out of shape and readied myself for a bile soaked rant. Ranting is easy. It takes  little courage and only serves to satiate the writer’s ego. By cleaning out ones own toxic thoughts, the writer feels that the he has done the world a service, but passing toxicity seldom makes the situation better. Dumping venom into the world only makes it more sick. This realization has been a big step forward for me.

I have a tendency to rant. I like it. I jump right up on my soapbox and let loose my opinions, as if they carry weight or have any significance to the flow of the universe. I flex my muscles and hide behind the bravado of words. Seldom part of the solution, I am finally learning that the view is skewed from the soapbox.

Some of the best advice I have ever received on writing was from my mom. I am paraphrasing here, but she asked what service does writing provide if it is not helping the reader in some way.

Tall order? I know. Who the hell knows how our words will touch other people’s lives? While I may not be able to “help” any one but myself, I beginning to understand when I am being harmful.  Sharing rants may make me feel better, it is not polite, however,  to spill noxious thoughts onto you, the reader. I do not want to do you the disservice of forcing you to attach to my negativity. There are so many more beautiful things to shed the light on. So I will put down the stones and open the windows of my beautiful glass house instead.

It finally hit me while writing last night. I was  really punching the keys. I was in about three paragraphs when I realized that no good would come from the post I was writing. I was wrestling with a confused anger that I needed to deal with internally.  I stopped and hit delete.

image by SandoCap
This is what I came up with tonight:

I am standing outside admiring my new lawn, actually it’s this weird spreading grass that never need be mowed. It has replaced the weeds and mosquito nests we had there before and I enjoy thinking about it setting roots. An all-encompassing gentle mist lingers in the air, and the grayness of the sky is neither bleak or gloomy, but subtly filled with shades of purple, yellow and violet, as if it is hiding a shower of rainbows, just waiting for a hint of the sun to shine. 

Inside Skyelar is nursing a cold and has finally fallen asleep. I am at home, alone, taking care of her. Her tiny cheeks red with fever, I have been holding her all day. She looks into my eyes and we smile. We kiss. We sleep on the couch. I enjoy the brief respite outside the front door staring at a massive tree in font of my house. I live in a city of eleven million people, one of the dirtiest in the world I am told, but at this moment everything is perfect. Every thought from my rant evaporates and disappears with the floating mist.

What makes it even more perfect is the fact that I am realizing the beauty of the moment as it is passing. It is a rare moment that we are aware enough to breathe deep and not concern ourselves with our thoughts. A perfect mediation in the now. I think about all the anger and cynicism I harbor, and exhale it away with one breath.

I think about the last time I was lost in wonder. Why do we allow our lives to be drained of astonishment and replaced by routine. It doesn’t take much to rekindle one's childlike curiosity. I stare at the tree and think about how it is really just another vessel of water, soaking in the moisture from the air and roots dug in beneath the city of Jakarta. The magic and power of this tree reminds me to focus on spreading light rather than toxins. Reminds me to highlight the moments of simplicty and not settle on the ease of routine.

I think about the rant I was brewing a few nights ago and am embarrassed by its pettiness. Life is too simple for mucking up so much unnecessary complexity. There is rain and trees and fevered one-year-old children who simply need to be made to feel safe and loved. They want to be held tight and caressed and reminded that their daddies are strong and capable and filled with hope and light.

These are the words that have been running through my head for the last few days. I hope they help.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Jabiz. I think this is an incredibly important epiphany. Not only does it prevent the spread of toxic emotions, but empowers you and your readers to do something about the fires that burn within us.