The excitement would start while half asleep, tossing and turning, waiting for morning to jump out of bed, freshen up, and make my way downstairs to discover my latest surprise.
It would be gift-wrapped. I’d have to use patience to uncover it without destroying anything. I’d sit comfortably, close my eyes, extend my arms, and open myself to a process that has never failed to materialize. My thoughts drift away like wind-blown clouds until one image, one thought would surface, that special one that would inspire me to see Life in a unique and wonderful way.
That’s the way writing has been for me lately. I don’t know what I’m going to find when I meditate and let my mind expand. Most of the time, something from the past crops up, something good and memorable. But, it might just be one image, let’s say, of when I was 16, and flying in the air about to pounce on some high-schooler trying to bully a friend.
I’d find exhilaration! Just in remembering that brief moment in the air. By focusing on it, I could stretch it out, recalling in detail my friend Tommy Cannon and the area of the school gym in Philadelphia where I took a running jump to come to his aid. I remember wanting to “rescue” him, by knocking down one of his assailants, but cushioned the blow at the last second when feeling sorry for the misguided bully. All took place in the matter of milliseconds. How do I know this? It’s been imprinted somewhere in side of me. Like other moments in Life, particularly, those filled with physical action.
- Jumping out of an airplane the first time.
- Being French kissed and not see it coming.
- Hurdling a would-be tackler and running in for a touchdown.
And, of course, the more quiet moments. Hearing taps played at the funeral for my brother George; seeing my best fried Johnny Keller go in the hospital to get a kidney transplant from his brother; saying the “Misericordia,” (a Latin prayer) as an altar boy at Sunday Mass.
All have the potential for stories that can be mined, carefully pulled out of my psyche and cleaned up for public display. Just like reaching into a box of chocolates, you never know what the Forrest Gump in each of us might find.
Even the fearful gunk, which we believed we had buried could still be there. The abandonment I felt as a baby being sent away from home to live with grandmom. The kids teasing you ’cause your dad spoke with an accent. People in authority telling me over and over that I’d never amount to anything.
It’s all there. But with the “loving compassion” that meditation creates in it wake, I get to see the “bad” in a softer light, a more understanding light. And, no matter how ugly a black piece of coal might look naked in a jewelry box, it has had the potential to become a diamond in the rough.
If I choose to see it that way. As a gift. A surprise. A part of me lying dormant awaiting a new “airing,” a public showing.