The Anniversary & Other Non-negotiables


Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my first blog. My intentions would tell me that I should have written and posted this commentary at least a week ago. I always had in mind to take a moment to look back at this past year and make some permanent notes about the experience – because I called it an experiment. (My science background notwithstanding, a review of what happened is warranted in limited detail.) I guess it’s now less of an experiment and more of a plan or objective. I was hoping it would be a spiritual oasis where my thoughts could go to live into eternity for someone to discover decades from now and wonder who I was and be fascinated by me. And with that in mind as sort of a back drop, every occasion to write would be ecstatic in its own right – a celebratory extension of privileges of thought and free time. But it’s kind of not that. ¡Qué lástima!

So an anniversary is a non-negotiable. It is that because it happens regardless of the ways we acknowledge it – like time that continues whether we look forward to the occasions or not; whether we know what we’re doing or not; whether we feel up to the journey or not. I’m reminded of how loosey-goosey (my current favorite term) we are with our last-stands – how adamant we are in the heated moment about our circumstances and our solid convictions. Points are made and lines are drawn. Then points are rescinded and lines are erased. And statements are made that underscore the disbelief one has that one is misunderstood. Well…

My sense is that what we remember most about our non-negotiables is the euphoria that the rush of adrenaline injects onto that memory stored in that brain cell. And when that brain cell is called upon to reenact that moment, our bodies respond to the shadow impulse – the rush of feeling-aliveness that we cling to no matter the level of rationality the non-negotiable actually embodies. This is how grudges survive. This is where stubbornness hinders progress and eats up mortal timeclocks.

In a fit of anger and determination my friend spoke about the non-negotiables in her relationship with her mother. She didn’t use that term directly – it was the “nevers” and “will always” that represented the “non-negotiable.” So I asked, “Are any of those things worth never seeing your mother again?” Of course she thought I had over-reached. And of course, I hadn’t. I was just steps ahead of her reasoning. Because if you really mean “never” you have to be willing to walk away in order to assure that. Other people have a way of not following your personal scripts to the letter. They are the adlibs of freewill interacting with ego expectations of control. So since I knew she couldn’t support her non-negotiables, we talked about acceptable ways to compromise by trying to understand what she really needed and where her fear of not getting that originated.

And with that I recognize this past year’s efforts of writing coherently or at all was challenging. I became very aware of the existence of virtual eyeballs whose persons I had regard for – that tempered or shaped the decisions I made about the ways I would write or the topics I would surrender to and it became burdensome. The burden was not the final production or the process of writing. It was the constant consideration. It was the second-guessing potentialities for offense or seeming disregard. It was the counterpunch of authenticity and the desire to be loudly unseen and all the more relevant. It was the discomfort of the burden that lived in the gaps. And so I guess it is in those places where this year’s discoveries will be born.

To my ideas of perfection I say - Damn you, damn you all!


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