I wrote the following poem after having an anxiety attack walking down the street, East Village, Avenue A, near Tompkins Square Park. It was the mid to late 1990s. I experienced this sort of lift-off regularly and worked diligently to keep myself from floating away – or bursting into shards.
Where Asteroids Come From
as I walked
I found myself
lifting off, floating in
A piece of ham, a tad of T-bone.
A heart-ache, a tooth-ache
When I was a kid, my dissociation was self-protective coping behavior from abuse and neglect. My biggest detachment trigger as an adult is working in corporate or office settings. Desk jobs are like being shackled and tortured with extreme boredom, borg-like mentality, or surface scum occupational politics and micro-aggressions. I used to push myself to at least try to be interested. For a time, the only way making a job worthwhile was to offer the best service I possibly could. I’d ask myself everyday, “How can I be of service – not just any service – but the best possible assistance and kindness – no matter what?”
That worked for me, until it didn’t. I had to fight off this feeling that I was containing this huge part of myself, the real divine me, in a teeny tiny box in a recess in the back of my skull. I’d promise that part – I’ll come get you later, just hang in there . . . only to be too tired to keep the promise when the day was over. Or, I’d have two dialogues happening in my mind regarding my reality during that 9-hour work-a-day world and this feeling that I was wasting my life/not wasting my life – just push push push through the boredom/ find ways to not be bored / this is making you a better person better person better person / just be better – you can do it!
It often felt like skating toward a waterfall while simultaneously falling asleep.
And still, I did an outstanding job. I always did an outstanding job.
Art, music, writing, meditation, bike riding, being in nature, and yoga were, and still are, my medicines for staying embodied. When I first discovered writing, I found a way to breathe and give voice to my disappearance. And I can only give 100% of my presence when I actually care what I am paying attention to. Life is way too short to not be in it fully.
I’m much happier navigating my physical survival/abundance/thrival through creative work, teaching, and actually sharing presence with people who wanna be present and connected and human.
I’m still figuring this out.
Space exploration is a good thing. Lift-off can be amazing, at the right moments, for the right reasons. There is a difference between embodied transcendence and checking out.
But seriously for me: Stay away from the grey cubicle/trading floor/beige box!
- What are you paying attention to?
- Are you fully embodied in your life?
- What makes you feel alive?
Peace and love!
April 18, 2021