Archive for October, 2011

Feel of the Mind, Part 1: Emptiness

An idea came to me last night. Write an essay that describes how the body responds to the different symptoms of a mentally ill mind. To take the brain chemistry into the body and see what happens when symptoms are lived, described. I want to explore the feelings in the body of the words that declare what an ill mind is. Words like grandiosity, irritability, detatchment, inability to feel desire, rapid thinking, paranoia, anxiety, and the like.

First up (because I was depressed last week and this is how I was feeling…no worries, though, I’m feeling awesome now!): Emptiness.





Sometimes, it grows. Sometimes, it deepens.


Emptiness is when you are lying in bed, your back numb on the brown sheets, numb from being a back lying in bed for so long. With this numb back on this brown colored bed, you lie with the emptiness. It pushes through your skin, nestles in the spaces behind your eyes, under your retina, the hollows of your bones, the layer of blood slowly slinking through the veins of your stagnant back. The skin, confused as to what creature it covers.


Emptiness has crept in, has seeped in through the pores in your skin of your tired toes. Perhaps it started earlier in the day, in the week. Perhaps its creeping, its growing, its multiplying in your body started awhile ago. You were at work when your feet began to detach, when your body began to hollow. You were at dinner with your friend when your legs began to mist. Your friend sat talking, curling Pad Thai around her fork, bits of egg tangling in sticky brown noodles while the emptiness, the void hit your kneecaps.


That was a few days ago, or maybe yesterday. Time slows down in emptiness. Its meaning has nowhere to go.


And as the creeping continues, as the shift shifts through your body, the emptiness yawps. You lie down in the face of this spreading, barking gape, because there is nothing else to do. You have plenty you have to do, your lists dusting from the days they have been lying around, waiting for your impetus to do, to tick off.


Lie on bed. Check.


This is not on the list, but it should be. So you lie. In your supine position, you see the white ceiling, the spot where it meets your tan walls, where the paint has crossed over, white penetrating the vertical brown. The top streaming down. A violation of when things should stop. Where lines should be drawn, it instead turns downward, seeps, weeps.


And now it has been awhile. And now it still continues. You return from the coffee shop in which you tried to live out in the world, to prove that you were a being who was doing, and as you sat in the black cushioned booth, you felt the mist traversing through your cells, the legs gaining weight with nothing. Your body needed to lie down against the oppression. And so you return home, return to your room that now feels more like a cave, and you lie, unable to resist, to change the way the emptiness has crashed into your bones, pressed on the inside of your skin.


It’s there, has found its home in telling you what not to do, in helping you to not do. Your ears ring with the silence of its home, with the sound of nothing. Emptiness. And so as your back numbs into the mattress, your eyes unfocus on the spot where white crosses into tan, and your head begins to fade.


The emptiness takes over, squats in the home that should be your body, should be a body living, doing.


Friends become past ideas. Spirituality, an illusion. In emptiness, you no longer exist.


You wait. Your body does not sleep, but continues to numb. It is too gone to sleep, too far away to function properly. You wait. You wait with your body stiff for the emptiness to become bored, for it to realize it fills a space that no longer responds, resists. You wait for it to realize the control it has is no longer fun. You hope the emptiness will become impatient, as you become bored with yourself and time begins to tire.


You wait.


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Waking Up at Bob’s

“In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the center of chaos, make one definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write….There is a great sense of autonomy and security to know we can write anyplace. If you want to write, finally you’ll find a way no matter what.” –Natalie Goldberg

I write in anyplace I am. In the same way my body is with me at all times, the writing is also with me. Words forming into lines in my head. I feel the writing life within me, the thoughts that eventually and always lean into the page.

I am outside of Bob’s Java Hut, again. The sun has made its appearance, and is starting to warm my ears. I sip at my americano and I think of the amount of time I have spent writing, of the life I have created living in this writing space.

I am also thinking and dreaming about the feeling of settledness–of sinking into the body, and letting the body be itself, grow into itself. My eyes, the lids still sleeping. Even with the early morning breeze dirting into my ears, caressing the lobes and shifting its way around my shoulders, the eyelids are still believing they are closed, in another space–the space of dreaming.

I have taken the day off of work, given myself the time and space in which to feel I am alive. Breathing into me and motioning my fingers toward making movements of love and compassion. I type and write to heal. I knit to feel settled and bend into the notion of focused. A vague sense of concentration drifts through my body, claiming its space and concept in the cozy home of myself.

The glass ashtray on the white picnic table sits serenly. It is patient and waiting, ready to hold the ash I leave behind–the past parts of me that will eventually swirl into the fall air. The sun continues on its trajectory upwards, forever travelling on its own circular path of home. It welcomes its sense of growth, as it cannot avoid the fact of growing and moving self. It blazes in the joy of being alive. As the sun is always with itself, in itself, practicing its calm and steady zen-like movements, my eyelids, as well, slowly continue their trajectory upwards.

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