I have had my heart broken, though not cut in two. Gratefully.
It does feel quite a bit more dramatic to have a heart cleaved than broken or cracked.
Today I found myself with heart aching for a small boy on a marvelous train. The train is from decades and decades ago. It features sights, sounds and feelings from long ago. There is something to wonder at every turn. If not the train-car itself than the people dressed up in the car or the people watching it with astonishment as it arrives. There are no shortage of ways to receive magic. And this small boy had a smartphone on which he played a game and never looked up.
It’s not a heart cleaving so much. He’s not my small boy. But to think that a small boy is already so immune to wonder, to think that he will grow up and never learn how to marvel at anything, well it does make my heart ache for him, his future and all the little ones like him who will only find patterns in front of them to look at.
Back when I played this part, I found this line very challenging – but looking at it now – I think if I just re-punctuated it –
With a dash
Instead of a period
It’s really just the weird ending with that “in”
But if it’s meant to go on…
Well…the ecstasy is very cunning in fooling your brain or showing you something – but she doesn’t get to say what the ecstasy is cunning in because Hamlet cuts in.
It’s the sort of thing I could do as an actor without having to actually re-punctuate. I could just think that I’m about to say more and all that anxiety I had about this line would have vanished.
It would be very cool if our brains could actually coin money. Like, if you could just think yourself solvent? Manufacture dollar coins by picturing them? Or, more efficiently, gold ones you could sell?
So many traditions try and convince us we can think ourselves into wealth.
Just picture your bank account growing.
Just create a vision board
Just chant enough times a day
Just believe hard enough
Just be grateful for what you have – cherish every penny that comes into your possession
But to actually be able to coin money with your brain? That would save you a whole lot of trouble.
Others have houses and cars. They have children and rooms to put their children in. They have basements full of things they don’t really use but aspire to one day. They have vacations and trips to the country for the weekend.
All of which seems wondrous – and yet I recognize that all of those things could be mine, as well, should I choose them. I choose something else – something to the side – something that I didn’t realize was to the side when I chose it – but I recognize it now. I choose art and a kind of wild integrity to who I am. I choose a continual realignment with my values. I choose only that which leads to further integrity and better art. It’s probably crazy. And probably that is nothing. But I choose it with another artist who has made similar choices in life and so here we are with nothing but ourselves. But ourselves are not insignificant.
In the transcript of one of his eye lessons, Dr. Feldenkrais talks about the ways we habitually limit our vision. We tend to only look at things from angles that are familiar, so we are always getting a partial view. We improve our vision by expanding the possibilities of movement of the eyes. We learn to see more, to see the middle, to see where we typically skip over, see what’s been hiding in our blind spots.
We see more and more and more.
Expanding our potential with each layer of seeing.
To see it all, truly, instead of just thinking I see it all, would be powerful.
I had a world of things I meant to accomplish. There were emails to write, social media to manage, grants and jobs to apply for, postcards to make, decisions to settle on. You know what I actually accomplished?
Some people have an ideal reader. You can feel who they’re talking to. I read a novel recently that was definitively written to the author’s mother.
I’m not sure who these Hamlet writings I do here are for.
The audience changes every day.
Some days it feels like I’m writing to a friend.
Some days I’m arguing with a scholar.
Some days I’m talking to my family.
Some days – most days – it’s some unknown listener – some particular friend to whom I could explain it all at once.
This is good question to ask of someone who is seeing things you cannot see. It makes me think of a story my zen friend told me about a girl who believed she was covered in snakes. She was convinced that snakes were writhing all over her despite the fact that no one else could see them. They called doctors, who tried to show her that there were no snakes there. They tried any manner of healers who all tried to show her that there were no snakes, that she had nothing to be afraid of. Finally, someone came in – probably a zen monk, given the source of this story – and he says, “Tell me about the snakes. Help me see them. Describe them to me Let’s get to know those snakes.”
And of course, they disappeared.
It would be great if we all had our own little patient rain cloud we could call upon when times were tough. You could feel your heat index rising, your face flushing, rage building in your belly – but rather than set fire to the tinderbox of fury, you call in the cool patient rain and the cloud comes to hang over your head, raining down on you just when you need it most.
I would very much enjoy having my own personal rain cloud. If it rained water in addition to patience, I would use it on hot days when there feels to be no relief in sight – and when I’d come in wet, people would say, “Is it raining out?” And I’d be like, “Just a quick local downpour” and smile mysteriously.
What does the Queen know about sleeping soldiers in the alarm? Why does the Queen know what soldiers startled awake look like?
It is a curious image to use. Or rather, it is a curious image for a Queen to use. Did she go on to the battlefield with her husband? When he was out sledding the pole-axe, wearing his beaver, doing his dread war-like duties – was she there? Was she in his tent to help dress his war wounds upon return? Did she see sleeping soldiers startled awake by the surprise attack? She seems to know exactly what their hair looked like.