Her World on a String

I once knew a woman who kept her world on the shortest leash imaginable. This overstuffed orb consisted of all she felt she could control and nothing she could not. It must have been mind bending trying to keep all the plates spinning in the air, for if one crashed to the ground, it would be over. All or nothing. And nothing scared the bejeezus out of her.

On the flip side, nothing is what I strive for; nobody wrangling for attention around my ankles anymore, no mental mice racing on the cerebral hamster wheel, little obstructing my view, no plans most days. I seek nothing like a teen intent upon a scavenger hunt but instead of discovering an old leather shoe or a vinyl record hidden in the crotch of a lichen-encrusted oak tree, I discover solace, blessed quiet, welcome respite from nervous natterings over nothing. Instead of din, I crave a steaming beverage and good companionship. If I cannot sit with a kindred soul with whom I can empathically discuss world events, philosophical leanings and the beauty of what last surprised us in nature, I’d rather be still.

The longer I live, the more I crave quality in daily interactions. The wordlessness of dogs is preferable to that of gossip; the serenity of sitting across the room from my beloved intent on reading grants the mind ease in a world fraught with tumult and chaos. A lack of dissonance soothes the cilia of ears overwrought with the thrum of existence. The overworked fist of my heart craves slack time, a free-flowing whoosh of blood through capillaries like and unlike the fast-forward aerials of headlights on busy freeways. It’s why I live as I do, in the naked blackness of star-struck oblivion; in the endless blue where sky meets sea.

The tintinnabulation of a city’s bustle and hum, metal against glass, hammers on asphalt grant me little rest. At the end of the day my mind cannot cease its grasping, try though I might to engender calm. I don’t wonder at the plague of urban insomnia, for it was not all that long ago our ancestors matched movements with spade hitting soil, watching sun coming up over frosty fields spiked with the husks of dying crops. Before that we roamed seeking food and shelter, a surplus of idle time not likely contemplated, much less craved. Technology has brought, among other things, a promise of release. Machines doing what used to gobble up time have now become our obsession in and of themselves. In the place of honoring silence, we fill every nook and cranny with sound and sight and substance. We fashion a world that then needs orchestrating in its complexity. Ancient genes thrill to the hunt, and we rise to the challenge. To simplify seems unthinkable. The body breaks under the pressure but we drive on, ignoring subtle cues.

I knew my friend was tired. You could see it in her drawn expression, the dullness that veiled the light in her eyes. Some of us are doers and some of us of necessity must simply be. And in holding the balance necessary to a world steeped in paradox, I left her to meet the Beyond with an unspoken whisper of gratitude just inside my lips; for the path I have chosen. For the choices I remain free to make.

16 thoughts on “Her World on a String

  1. A scavenger hunt for solace sounds quite lovely, Bela. And I think I share the same sort of craving… to enjoy a shared space, a quiet moment, the exploration of ideas, the view of a setting sun…


  2. Smiling at our shared cravings Bela. ☺️
    Most days I would rather be still or in nature. The cacophony birds is so much more preferable than the twittering of people. xo

  3. “…nothing is what I strive for…” – it takes years (and most times more than a lifetime) to get to a phase where nothingness would mean everything. ‘Her world on a string’ is powerful, my friend. I can say this with a bit of confidence that you’re either in that phase now or will be there soon, where nothingness would mean everything; and how beautiful life is/will be. Please keep us updated and trust me, I’ll be one of your first disciples. After reading this: “It’s why I live as I do, in the naked blackness of star-struck oblivion; in the endless blue where sky meets sea” – I wish to replace #wisdom with #beladom. I mean it.

    1. Mahesh, you make me smile more often than not 😉 This may be far more than you asked for, but here goes:

      You know, it’s interesting, this culture clash between east and west. Though things are changing – and I think sadly, but who am I to judge? The old traditions of guru and disciple have become considerably distorted in the west. If one seeks a teacher, it is often because that person is looking for The Way. And the teacher is looking to make the big bucks and perhaps get some hot young thing/s to adore him along the way. I cannot tell you how often I have personally witnessed this sad truth.

      I don’t know if you are aware (probably not), but I spent over two decades teaching, writing and hosting radio programs to expand consciousness in my small corner of the world: http://www.johnsonintuitive.com

      Many times in my career I was offered opportunities to teach at large events and venues (Omega, Kripalu, others). I turned them down because it was and is clear to me that fanning the flames of ego in this lifetime is not for me. I had to develop an ego to survive, along with defenses I am not proud of (meeting mental/verbal aggression with m/v aggression, for example). But I always knew my knowledge and experience were best utilized in a one-on-one basis.

      Okay, so I set up a thriving practice in Maine. But too often people would come – not for their own growth and enlightenment – that was far too much work – but to have me somehow magically transform them, to give them The Answer so they did not have to do the hard work of growing up and into their divine inheritance. And yes, a few did come with earnestness in their hearts and the desire to ‘do whatever it takes’ to move beyond the pain cycle they continually found themselves in. I loved those people unconditionally and they largely thrived on that acceptance and did grow from our experiences together.

      Fast forward to life in Hawaii. Moving here in 2005, we set to work restoring a huge old Hawaiian home. When I dipped my toes into my old profession, a few did rally. I gave a lot without remuneration, and people seemed to just suck it up for the energy hit rather than to dig in and do the personal work suggested. I took this as the universe’s way of telling me that phase of my life is over, though I will always help when called on.

      So I do art (!) Which I love and it feeds my spirit. So dear Mahesh, I doubt I’ll be taking on any ‘disciples,’ but if you ever find yourself on Hawaii Island, you must look me up. I would love to see your shining face and we could talk until the stars rose in the heavens – and then talk some more. Big hugs, and sweet Aloha to you, my friend. ❤

      1. I feel blessed that I’m your friend. Thank you. You are a beautiful human being, and I “love” your voice (I heard the podcast.) Lots of affection and prayers. And a big hug. 🙏🙏

  4. Isn’t it ironic that we crave to rush into the chaotic world…everyone has his or her reasons…love, success, money, power…and reach a point when all cravings calm down! Some keep going though and seem to be quite absurd. You seem to have accomplished a higher position Bela and just a few reach that level! Love and hugs dear friend.

    1. Yes, I contemplate this a lot these days. To continue that madness is simply habitual, it cannot be otherwise, can it? And while I appreciate your kind accolades vis a vis my own station in life, to me it is the only way I ‘could’ live. For which I might thank whatever divine source guides me through this amazing journey. Aloha, sweet Balroop. Enjoy a blessed weekend! 🙏🏽

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