12.18.2007

Learning is Doing

My mom always says to me, “I need to learn to do all the things you can on the computer.” She says it like it’s a project that lays ahead, one that must be committed to and planned for. But today, as I looked at how I manipulate my machine to make cards and gifts, to edit movies and create DVDs, I realize that learning is doing. I never set out to know these things. I didn’t one day say, “I must figure out how to make a photo book.” I just did it. Trial and error. Navigating through screens and tools, mistakes and successes. Had someone taught me how to get the results I wanted, I wouldn’t have gotten the results I wanted because I didn’t know what I wanted until I saw it and built it and lived it.

Maybe I need to remember this when I grow frustrated with the progress – or apparent lack thereof – in my life. I always come back to fighting the process and longing for the results. I do live by doing, but the doing can feel slow and tedious. The doing can hit serious ditches in the road that fling me from the seat I ride in, toss me in the air with no way to navigate. I flap my wings, but I’m no bird, so I hit the ground hard. I stay prone and cry a little, secretly, into covers pulled up to my eyes so no one sees and no one knows. After all, I have my pride.

Pride. My other demon. Pride and Success laugh at me because they know I hold them in such high esteem. They know that as long as they are my goal, they will dine without me. They know to get to sit at the table with them I must take a circuitous route. A smarter tack would be for me to turn my back on those beasts who taunt me so.

So I called up Process and asked if we could have coffee. Process smiled knowingly into her end of the phone line. She’d been waiting for my invitation. She doesn’t know how hard it is for me to be her friend, to even want to be her friend. She doesn’t know that even when I want to appreciate her, others plant fear in my mind. They tell me that I may go broke. They tell me with their eyes that I am being foolish, that I am a sweet dreamer. Those looks activate my inbred fear, give life to what rests buried within, bring to the surface what I must struggle to shove down again.

Over our steaming brew I ask Process how to better embrace her. I ask her where to find Trust, a necessary companion for the journey. Process tells me that she can’t tell me, that the answer lies within her and is only accessible to me through our friendship.

For a moment I feel cheated, deprived of instant answers and the comfort of knowing. I tell Process that everyday I try to believe in myself. I try to quiet the dissenting voices of Security and Instant Gratification. I try to not need.

But I do need. And needing is hard. We live in this vast community of fractured ties. We come together in times of real trouble, but I don’t know how much we’re there for each other when only simple questions arise, questions that may seem personal and specific. We don’t slow the way the support demands. We talk about this and we know this, but we don’t know how to climb off the treadmill. We have become addicted to our habits. We don’t know how to break loose.

Except when we do, when we pause and say, “I can do this differently.” Those are the glorious days. Those are the nights that we go to bed not exhausted but exhilarated. Those are the times we most dream of. This is when we find our true selves.

My true self needs to work hard on my relationship with Process. A casual coffee is not enough. It needs to not let you scare me with your words of concern, with your “How will you earn money now?”

“I don’t know,” I whisper gently into the wind, hoping my words will float to the land where what I say and do matters, where the images in my mind have meaning and value, where I can be me and live and flourish and appreciate Process. If I see it, perhaps it can be.


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5 comments:

QT said...

I am right there with you ~ beautifully done.

jen said...

i love it when you write about yourself like this. and for allowing us to Process along with you.

Anonymous said...

I've never known ANY one who could capture & express an epiphany better than you do -- or for that matter, even recognize when such a moment was at hand. This entry is one you need to keep for a book you're destined to write someday...

tno

Johnny C. said...

Thank you for processing this.

Anonymous said...

I loved this one DZ...as I love almost all of what you write. I agree with the comments from anonymous! RGK