Anchoring Freedom

Mark Doty. Still Life With Oysters And Lemon.

I found myself resisting intimacy as portrayed in the workings of breath and keen looking. This gesture of resistance had good reason — it was imitating what the author himself had done quite earlier on. He seems later in the memoir/meditation to have forgotten the struggle. Let us recap:

But then why resist intimacy, why seem to flee it? A powerful countercurrent pulls against our drive toward connection; we also desire individuation, separateness, freedom. On one side of the balance is the need for home, for the deep solid roots of place and belonging; on the other is the desire for travel and motion, for the single separate spark of the self freely moving forward, out into time, into the great absorbing stream of the world.

A fierce internal debate, between staying moored and drifting away, between holding on and letting go. Perhaps wisdom lies in our ability to negotiate between these two poles. Necessary to us, both of them — but how to live in connection without feeling suffocated, compromised, erased? We long to connect; we fear that if we do, our freedom and individuality will disappear.

The nest is a vessel. That’s my answer. World and home are not always poised in opposition. Solidarity and singularity are not polar opposites. There is a different way of mapping… The urban cafe table is open to the coming and goings of patrons and yet is an oasis for the self. I think it more profitable to think in terms of calm and swirling. Intimacy itself is not always a calm, quiet experience. Its modes can be marked by the turbulence of sheer lust and the haste of sexual gratification. It’s about speed and not so much about space. And it is about being attentive whatever the tempo may be working with or against the pulse of our flow.

Freedom is far closer than we fear.

And so for day 1018

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