Presence

I’m happier now than I’ve ever been. I’ve even begun expecting to be happy, which is intensely strange. And I’ve gotten used to skeptical looks when I say I’m happy, like I just don’t know any better than to be happy.

I’ve attained several of my life goals. I’m a writer. I wanted to write even as a child, and when I was 16 I actually said so. I started a journal when I was 33. That’s how long it took me to screw up my courage to write anything at all, and that’s another thing I’ve accepted. I’m slow. Truman Capote was famous young. I’m still not famous—we won’t even talk about rich— and I’m a writer anyway.

I have fine sons. I say fine because I like them. I’ve known several parents who didn’t seem to like one or more of their children. Some never seemed glad to see their kids and they never talked about them except as problems and mouths to feed, sometimes when the child was right there. So I’ve always been happy that I like my sons. I like having them around.

I have a loving wife. I’m tempted to say “long-suffering” too, but of course suffering is optional, so I won’t. I also no longer feel sorry for her for having married me. Sympathy, yes; guilt, no.

Now and then I forget who I am and start thinking that all the stuff about the importance of the breath just means that I don’t deserve breath either, along with fame and fortune. I just don’t think it long. Now I recognize that, although the drivel is knocking around in my own personal brain, that thought is not only not me, I just caught it, like a cold that’s going around. Nobody deserves anything.

I like stories, though, and they appear on their own, so I at least try to feature the ones that make me smile. When the old bushwa shows up, I don’t pay it any mind past noticing it, and I save wallowing for my fantasies, for which I also forgive myself.

I’m not trying to accomplish anything in particular past recognizing the good in each moment. What my mother said was laziness was my appreciation of the stillness underneath it all and the clarity that comes with it. That sounds pretty highfalutin and esoteric to me, and that about sums it up. I try to be present, and I forgive myself for drifting into the future or the past. Then I come back to the present, and so on. I love it.
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Posted Thursday, September 24th, 2009 under Uncategorized.

4 comments

  1. Sharon Favor says:

    I almost always read From the Edge first in the CN&R; I either get a chuckle, a nudge in the brain, or a bit of wisdom. But today, it was a special nudge and bit of wisdom—it was exactly the boost I needed. Living fully in the present moment, gratitude for breath and loved ones, appreciation for stillness and the clarity beneath it—quite the insights. Thank you, Anthony!

  2. Oliver Steinberg says:

    (I suppose I might as well be envious since I have concluded in my own case that my mother’s verdict of laziness was accurate.)

    You’ve got to keep writing, no matter what, because you are GOOD at it!

    I like to find things other people have said or written and then repeat them. For example, Mark Twain: “Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits.” Or Robert Ingersoll: “The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make other so.”

    So I will try out that appreciation of stillness & clarity, etc. See if I can pull it off. But I’m pretty sure my mom would scoff.

    • Yeah, my mother was right, too. It’s just that laziness isn’t good or bad by itself, unless we enjoy it—bring our joy to it—and then it’s wonderful.

      I’m glad you like my writing, Mr. Steinberg. I intend to keep at it.

  3. Hey A.P.
    I’m so glad you are happy, me too. And I love reading your blog, when I get the chance.

    In fact, I came here for my students. I wanted to use samples of your blog for ways to write and think out of the box. I disagree avidly with your nonchalance about rape, though I have no opinion on Polanski’s case. I think any situation where force is used to take away the freedom and happiness of someone more vulnerable, especially someone younger, is an act of dehumanizing violence—a way for someone to use another as a “thing” on which to act out their aggressions, obsessions, and pleasures. Children are not things. Women are not. Men are not. Classes of people are not. Groups of a certain color or religion are not. People are not things and should not be used thus.

    Chlldren, indeed, do have emerging senses of their sexual senses, drives, etc. But it is not for adults to prey upon them as things. We do, as a society and as individuals, have a responsibility to grow up in this way.

    We need our imperfect justice system to help in this.

    mb

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