Paula and Emilia and Jochen left comments under yesterday's blog entry. Their postings opened a whole new door of reality for me.
Here's what Paula wrote:
Your school time memories made me think about my own, and I realized that they are all very clear and vivid in my mind. All the memories of my early years in Finland. Suddenly I realize that it’s as if I’d lived two lives. One where I was awake until I moved to Italy, where it seems that I’ve lived in a state of sleep. Maybe I shut off my heart because it was too painful not to be recognized, not to have an identity…I must ponder this a little more deeply. Thank you, Gloria, for this input.
Here's what Emila wrote:
I am having some problems with the passing time. Once I used to have many sweet and therefore sad memories because I felt the loss of those people and places and of that state of innocence and wonder. Now I am not able to recall almost anything, or maybe I do not want to remember. I don't know. Where is my past, have I never lived before, am I living now?
And here's what Jochen said:
"... am I living now ?" That's a good one, Emilia. And also strange that a question like this, one we all seem to be familiar with, can be asked at all. "Is this living?" Somehow not quite. But there are moments of innocence and wonder even now, and there seem to be no preconditions for them to occur, they are out of time and story, out of anything, they are newness itself. I sometimes feel that these moments find me in spite of my learned and habitual warding them off. They find me when I forget for a second that, given my story, I'm supposed to be unhappy. And then the moment is gone, but leaving a sense that innocence and wonder are really what all of this strange and bewildering story is floating on.
I knew immediately what Paula and Emilia and Jochen were saying.
And here's where their thoughts led me:
I remember reading a short story long ago where the main character, a man, described the division within his life. I don't remember the name of the story or the author, but I remember clearly that the man had divorced his first wife many many years earlier. He remarried and now has a new family. Here this man in the present time of the story is feeling that his first marriage and his life back then were real, and his life now in his second marriage is unreal.
Now, in Heavenletters™, God tells us that relative life altogether is not real. None of it is. It is all a communal dream we're having. He tells us that our identity in the world is not our identity that we think of at all. Furthermore, God tells us to let go of the past.
Unlike Emilia, my memories are still strong, and yet I do know exactly what she is saying. Unlike Paula and the man in the story, I don't have a clear division between my "lives."
I could talk about my geographical lives -- Longmeadow, Massachusetts. Springfield, Massachusetts. San Francisco, California. Sacramento, California. Back to Springfield. Shorter times in Phoenix, Arizona and St. Cloud, Florida, and now an extended time in Iowa. How did I ever wind up in Iowa? All of this seems so unreal to me right now, as if I were making up a story.
I could demarcate my "lives" by the houses I lived in, all of which I seem to be deeply attached to. I can almost take a tour through every room. The house where I was born and all the others. In my mind I can see the wallpaper. In my mind I can almost touch the walls of the houses that meant so much to me.
I could demarcate my lives by what I was doing. Okay, first years of my life, elementary school, junior high school, college, more college, jobs I had, where I traveled to, men in my life, marriage, becoming a mother, divorcing etc. Who is this stranger who lived these other lives?
I could divide my life into before Lauren was born and after. Lauren as a baby, toddler, and the different divisions of her life are dear to me. They happened, and yet they don't seem real. Neither does the adult Lauren seem really real to me. It is all seeming like a dream. Maybe I am like Rip Van Winkle who slept for twenty years and then woke up and was puzzled at how changed things were.
I could divide my life into before God and Godwriting™ and after God and Godwriting.
I suppose I could divide my life between when I wore high heels all the time and when I didn't wear high heels any more.
The two words that stick with me are identity and attachment.
We who read Heavenletters have an idea of our True Identity. I guess all the rest is attachment, and yet there must be many shades and degrees of attachment and to what we are attached to.
Is this sense of distance we may feel toward our lives in the world, is it possible that we are losing our attachment which is what God tells us to do? Is it?
It's funny, you couldn't pay me a trillion dollars to give up Godwriting, yet, in the same breath, I could say that I'm not attached to it. It is like Godwriting and Heavenletters have a life of their own, and I happen to be sitting there, typing. How can I be attached to Godwriting when Godwriting goes along its merry way without me? And yet, I have to ask myself, have I attached myself now to an identity as one who Godwrites?
There is a Heavenletter (Jochen, will you find it?) in which God says that our memories are like banisters that we hold onto.
Life seems to run away at breakneck speed and doesn't let us catch up to it.
All the ways we demarcate life seem to fall into the categories of time and place. God says time and space do not exist.
How real can life be when we type words of our thoughts as I am now, and then I press a key, and the words of my thoughts reach you in a matter of seconds -- even while there is no time, and seconds don't exist. And what does it mean that I feel that you may indeed be the most real part of my current life when life itself is a current that moves so fast it has already gone by?