Wednesday, December 9, 2015
I woke up two days ago with a simple revelation. It came though after months of struggling with hard issues about myself. I don't know that simplicity is quite what we think. Solomon's words were not complex but the perfect wisdom there was hard fought. I believe, a lot of the time, he was quoting his father: "My son, listen to me ..." David pleaded with his son, and the essence of it was: Do not take the path I took.
I guess it comes in waves, simple wisdom. Perhaps it skips a generation or some sound teaching falls seemingly irrelevant off the table.. I don't know. I rode hard and pushed hard and played hard and nearly killed myself some days, with hair on fire and recklessness and accidents. I feel like David maybe. I want a son. I want to tell him it can be simpler than all of that. I want to tell him about my revelation from two days ago. No, I don't have a son, so, I will tell you.
A voice woke me up after days of coming down from some intense work. It said, "Who are you?"
It bothered me at first.. more than a lot. It made me very unhappy. I didn't have an answer. I got depressed for what seemed like days but after that was over I got this gentle courage to forgive myself for not having an answer. So I asked the question aloud and rested knowing that the answer would come. It did come.
Two days later I woke with this:
"Today you are 5 things. Be all of them and one at a time. Tomorrow will be different. So tell me Joshua Payne, what are you first?"
I shot out of bed! "I am an athlete!" I said, as if some great race ensued. I don't know why I got into the shower.. that made no sense, but it was my first reaction to the statement. I don't have a swimming pool so maybe there was some need to find water after this proclamation.
So there I was in the shower, rinsing. I began to hum. And incidentally the feeling of "being" encouraged me to run a few vocal exercises. That felt good. Anyway, after rinsing off whatever it was my instincts needed to rinse, I bundled up, threw on my shoes and ran hills like an athlete until I was tired.
I came into the house exhausted and laid down on the couch to rest. The voice said, "What are you now?" I was surprised to hear it again so soon. I answered, "I am man who takes care of himself." The voice said,
"Then go do."
I made a green smoothie and put vitamins back into my body and then took a couple of hours caring for myself, making beautiful food and resting. I finished the last bite of a meal and there it was again. "What are you now?"
"I am a visual artist," I answered.
The voice said, "Pick up your work and flex those muscles until they satisfy you!"
I immediately did and came away with 7 new studies. When I closed my sketchbook the voice came again. "What are you now?" Then answers were coming easily:
"I am a writer."
"Then you best get to it," said the voice.
I sat a wrote for the better part of the day. The sun set. I closed my laptop with no handle really on the time. There was a party of friends gathering South of town and I'd committed to be among them. I dressed for the party and the voice said, "Who are you now?" Notice it didn't say "what are you?" I answered,
"WHO am I? Why, I am a friend. I've become a friend."
As I drove south I realized that without being a friend to myself, to my own nature, it was impossible to be a friend to others. I laid my head down that night excited, troubled, hopeful, fearful, expectant, joyful, sad. I slept. I woke the next day and the voice said, "Good morning. What do you want to be today." I answered,
"I want to be happy."
The voice said, "Then go.. do. Be."
Perhaps the proverb is this: My son, listen to me. BEfriend WHAT you are. Only then can you BEfriend WHO you are. And only then can you BEfriend the world. Only then can you BE happy.