Wednesday, November 7, 2012


A frenetic day of sending emails of all shapes and sizes, and updating Facebook not as myself but as a representative of an organization: Dislike.

The day started out well, with getting the house in order. Today O. actually left the house to work at the office, for the first time since Hurricane Sandy. For the first time in almost two weeks, I was alone in the house for most of the day. It surprises me every time, how different the house feels when O. is gone for the day: free, peaceful. Not that it isn't peaceful with O. here, not that I'm not free. But what do I mean?

I mean the release of my attention to be fully located within my own body, in the here of my hands and feet and back, the here of my eyes and fingers--not my ears, they are never paying attention to this exact place, they are always listening for things happening elsewhere. They hear not-here.

When O. is here (in the house, I mean), the house becomes my body. Some thread of my consciousness keeps snagging on his presence. I am interruptable. I am listening. Attending. Waiting, that would mean, if "attend" in English meant what it means in French. Yes, I am waiting: for him to say something to me, or say something at all; for me to say something to him, or say anything at all. An audience: that is the difference. Life does not become a performance but it becomes something listened to, something interactive, a multiplicity, a web with two centers, a binary star--two flaming lights orbiting some common center, located somewhere between them.

Sara Groves sings about living for an audience of one, breathing for an audience of one. She means God. How often do I think only of the Divine audience, disregarding entirely my own judgment, truly oblivious to the audience of whoever else is "here" (wherever here is)?

Probably never. Not completely, I mean.

"It is not good for the man to be alone"--but what about the woman? I come closest to that single Audience when I am alone. In the language of Anatomy of the Soul, it is in solitude that my left brain is most offline and my right brain has freest reign, to live an unexamined life--which is worth living, I contend, more than the obsessively examined life. Because what is examination, analysis, but distance? You cannot really live at arm's length from the mud, the penetrating wind, the smell of baked beans which drifts (at last) from the oven; the flavor and texture of fresh bread on your tongue, between your teeth; the rabbit that scratches you as he leaps out of your lap, the husband who cradles you when you crawl into his. You cannot really live, at arm's length. But the arm's length is what you need to analyze, and so those necessary periods of examination are periods of pausing your experience of life... Point being, my focus is less divided when I am alone. I am more embodied, my experience is more direct, when no one is watching or listening. Sometimes it is good to be alone.

Of course, the healthy alone of the morning was devoured by the pseudo-alone of emails and Facebook all afternoon. I did not protect my solitude as I might have; I bowed under the weight of my job, all those expectations (such a large audience).

And now I am ready for O. to come home. It is evening, dinner is ready. The sun vanished long ago, first behind clouds and snow, then below the horizon. The snow is still falling, and O. is trapped on a train platform on the other side of a mile-wide river, and all the trains are full, and I am not fully present here because my spirit goes out to him where he is.

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