Sunday, January 1, 2017

Reason and Passion

Today is New Years Day 2017.

I haven't done an update on my blog in over a year now.  That's a little hard for me believe given my recognition that my blog was a dear, intimate friend for a long long time.  We talked every day - sometimes more than once a day.  Although the nature of our relationship changed over the years - I started the blog a dozen years ago - and the frequency of our "talks" has varied I've never gone this long.  An entire year.

I'm not about to start the New Year by making promises I can't keep.  HOWEVER - I'm going to try to be a better friend with my blog.  I've missed her in my life.

We've got a lot of catching up to do.  I don't play to do it all now.  I'll do it little by little, as needed.  However, I'll start where I left off.  I wrote an entry last year on Dec 22 - just before Christmas - and never posted it.  I'll start with that.

To set the scene - I had lived in Charleston for the better part of 4 years.  The problem (or, one of them) was that I had chosen to LIVE in Charleston but I couldn't find a job doing what I do there.  As a result, for the better part of almost 3 years I was working somewhere during the week and going home to Charleston on the weekends.

There was no balance.  There was constant motion.  There were long commutes - 3 or 4 hours to Charlotte or Raleigh.  I actually rented an apartment in Charlotte for a while so I had some semblance of a home to come home to.  But once all was said and done, it just wasn't healthy.

A couple of things that happened during 2015 affected my ability to justify it all.  First was an Easter week dust-up that I won't explain in detail here.  Suffice it to say that it changed my perspective on why I was willing to put up with so much to be there in the first place.

The second thing was when I ended up in the Emergency Room in early June.  Recognition that I could justify the dual job/personal lives I was living for the sake of convenience or economic necessity just didn't cut it anymore.  I recognized my need to surround myself with a support system of friends and people I cared about, and although I had never felt "lonely" in the traditional sense I became aware of a hidden "cost" I hadn't realized before.

I'm a big believer that the right things happen if you just give them a chance, and that you believe in the outcomes.  I'm talking about the kind of trust required to close your eyes and starting to walk - following only your gut.  That's the kind of trust, or courage, it takes to simply take another step.

So, as 2015 started winding down I started to investigate "what next" with specific focus on addressing the things I had come to realize during the course of the year.  The pull of Charleston hadn't lessened all that much - however, my willingness to deal with everything that kept me away from there had.  And - first and foremost - I was looking for some stability.

As my contract was winding down I started to send resumes to  opportunities that looked like good matches.  I've done this dozens of times over the course of my career - it's just the nature of being a contract worker.  But this time I sent a couple of them to companies in Phoenix.  Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2015 I interviewed for and was offered a long-term contract at American Airlines based out of PHX.

December last year was a blur.  It involved planning and implementing all the logistics needed to get myself back across the country to start this new job on Jan 4.  I had only recently finally brought the last of my stuff that I'd been storing in a storage unit in Phoenix TO Charleston with the mistaken understanding that my days there were through.  As events would prove - that was premature.

So - given that backstory this is what I wrote on Dec 22, 2015.

I consider myself to be an emotional person.  I care.  I feel things deeply (although I may not seem that way).  For better or worse, I am often driven by passions first and rational thought second.  I can point to dozens of thing I've done that were not wise but were fueled by emotion.

Over the years I've noted passages from Kahlil Gibran's "The Phrophet".  He's got brief but deep insights on a variety of topics that effectively articulate very complicated things in very clear ways.  One of the chapters explains this delicate balance between Reason and Passion:
Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.
For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.
Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion, that it may sing;
And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes.
I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house.
Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and the faith of both.
I get that.  I feel that, all the way down to the core of my very seafaring soul.

The one thing I'd add is the need to come to peace with the two of them.  Looking back at your life -specifically, at decisions you've made - with the benefit of hindsight and in the context of reason alone will make you crazy.  You can't do that.  It doesn't work.  I've tried, and every time my mind goes there I recognize the folly of it so I stop.

Much of what is happening in my life right now is tossed upon those stormy seas churned by passion and reason.  I'm approaching it in a very workmanlike way because it needs that in order to do everything that needs to be done in a very short period of time.  But every once in a while the emotion of it all creeps in.  I'll note that the Holidays don't help....

The past several days have been full of packing and bringing things to a storage unit.  Again.  How many times have I done this?!  This is actually the 4th time I've moved it all since last February - I haven't been posting regularly but I've moved all my stuff 4 friggin' times!  Knowing that is very much what this is about.  I can't keep doing this.

In February I moved from my apartment to Charleston.  I didn't have a solid landing pad at the time so I filled a friend's garage with my "stuff".  After a while we needed to free up that space so I moved it all to a storage unit where it all lived for a couple of months.  That move almost killed me.

In July a friend helped me move it all to the place I'm living now.  I've been joyfully storage unit free since then.  Until last week, that is. To find myself moving back into one is - well - depressing.  You'd think that at this stage of life I'd have more stability.  Apparently not.

I like to believe that each of us can control our lives more than we know.


Immediately after that, things started moving fast.  I drove from Charleston to Asheville NC on Christmas Day to drop off the pups with Rachel and Lauren to love until I had a stable place for us all to be.  I drove back to Charleston the next day.  There were some crazy days of moving the things into storage, cleaning the house, and packing the trucks.  Then, a couple of days before New Years last year I started the 4-day drive across country.

The sentiments that I was trying to express at that time remain a constant.  They're still true.  The internal battle between Reason and Passion is ongoing and, in fact, I think it's that Yin/Yang dynamic that provides fuel for much of what drives me.  Some seem to feel that finding peace - a state where there is no conflict - is Paradise.  To me - the only thing I can imagine that meets that criteria is death.  Rather, the key to living for me is finding those brief moments of balance.  It's not the same thing.

One of the neat things about having a blog that you've kept up for a long time is looking back at your thoughts and actions with the benefit of hindsight.  That's one of the things I'll regret for not having kept this current for a long time....there's a big gap in the story.

I think that's where I'll end for now.  It's almost exactly a year to the day from where we are now.  And - as I say - I'd prefer to catch up in pieces.

Oh - it's nice to be back.  :)


Cassidy said...

Happy New Year, Donna. It's lovely to *have* you back. :c)

== Cassidy

Gwen said...

Welcome back! <3
It's been awhile

Happy New Year