The lessons built-in to this experience of moving household surprise me; it’s as if they’re hiding inside the packed boxes, or beneath them, released each time I move one. If I open it to see if what-I’m-looking-for lurks just inside.
The lessons are I believe the spirit of this move; perhaps pointing the way to what my soul seeks from the choice – to move – to move here.
Here is where people are poor, live poor and, too often - poorly. When you’ve got nothin’; as the song says. Not everyone, of course IS in poverty. A famous and – even better - respected architect, my next door neighbors with their rain barrels, ‘community’ garden and dinners from their large backyard garden, the owners of my favorite coffee shop, and surely others of their mind live up here.
It’s real up here, alongside the canal that moves ships into the Ohio. People yell when they’re mad, and fight out loud, laugh heartily and with a hard edge; here on the northern edge of the city and state there are no barriers to reality. Compared to nearly everywhere else I’ve lived there’s little work at beautification up here. Except for the random homemade art that one comes upon unexpectedly. Against a canvas of often boarded up houses that stand like sad reminders of a time when Portland was prosperous, more than a neighborhood on Louisville’s northwest border, it’s own city; art – made sometimes of junk or found objects and brightly painted, boxes or giant spiders.
The practical reasons for the move – economic, and otherwise perhaps too typically Aquarian; I’ve been accused of hard-headedness and provoking trouble by moving here. Maybe I do look for trouble – actually, no maybe about it. But that, I’ve had to find acceptance for, is part of who I am; I like challenge and edgy activities. Sitting on my bed each night surrounded by slowly decreasing walls of boxes I hear noises outside my walls: arguments and sirens and buses, sounds I was brought up to fear. Yet they come to my ears as life – messily and noisily happening, right now.
One therapist I saw only twice several years ago asked me why I was intent on making life harder, “the idea is to make it easier” he said. I was embracing a brief affair with analysis then, and was amazed at his rush to judgment. But he was correct – I make my life more difficult than it necessarily needs to be, just to see if I can make it. That way I’m in charge. Maybe I’m here because of that. But only in part I think.
And there it is again – the search for reasons, for why, the desire to learn the lessons right now instead of simply sitting on my bed, or on the front porch (ahhhh, front porch sitting – even in the hurricane generated rain) and allowing what is of, and in, the moment to present itself. The [what feels like] urgent necessity for understanding – hell, for KNOWING something I am, perhaps, not ready to know rises up from my toes and sits beside me – again.
Occupation of a new space is the only occupation I need to have in this moment. Tranformative learning – indeed!