04 April, 2012

Being Flynn

Once a week I spend most of the day at the U of MN Landscape Arboretum. It's my "Sunday",  A day of reflection on the aspects of my life I usually screen out or keep on the back burner while the front burners boil away with my job, and other immediate concerns, tasks, errands. But for that one day, in nature, away from the city sounds I observe myself attempting to impose structure on what is intended to be an open experience of simply being, as opposed to my usual approach of "doing" I leave my list of chores behind and close the gap between the day before and the day after my "Sunday" I just watch the birds  and the progress of the seasons. I listen to the plants. And my own inner voices. I look for poetry and watch the creative process of the earth.  It is my gift to myself. I just notice what is happening and where my attention goes as I walk through the landscape. The staff is always working on projects: re-roofing, cleaning various beds, rearranging beds, removing and storing the snow fences...I am thinking about the movie I saw last night: Being Flynn. I didn't really research it much before I decided to attend. Honestly, I had forgotten it was my Saturday night, as my schedule has changed and now Weds is my Sunday. I vaguely remembered seeing the previews and thinking that it reminded me of my kids, both of whom are avid writers, one of whom has recently won an amazing grant to publish her latest short story. And this movie is about writing, and the stories we tell people about our experiences and our lives. The stories that give us dignity and offer us a chance for self respect instead of self hatred, self destruction. I recently realized how deeply ingrained my self hatred has been and how it has nearly destroyed me at times. The movie, with it's vivid and accurate portrayal of homelessness, addiction and life on the streets reached a memorable climax that brought me to tears and grief as I started my car. The words of this derelict father, guilty of a plethora of sins was a shining, blindingly brilliant act of grace. And apparently conscious, in spite of his mindless pain and suffering on the streets of Boston. My kids, like the hero in the movie, are the genuine writers with heart wrenching stories of courage and inspiration, determination and joy. I am a "wanna-be", with endless skills in gathering information and a brilliant field researcher. I scribble hoping that one day they will uncover my notes, my raw material and make some sense of it by putting it in the proper context. As I watched the hero blaming himself for his parents decisions, I recognized how often my own parents appeared to blame me for the unpleasantness in their own lives. And how it watered my self hatred and my unrealistic belief that I had control over other peoples lives. And disguised the truth that I had unmeasurable power in my own life and experiences. That I had created and participated in each event, every experience willingly, yet without understanding the full extent of the resonance in my creation. And now, riding in the car next to my daughter, a thin ray of light shines on the landscape of my today, making the inspiration a little more vivid, more naked, inexplicably obvious, in spite of the too common belief that we are victims of our circumstances.