Saturday, January 27, 2007

A kinder, gentler Walhydra?: In which drastic things happen, and we have to proceed without a road map

[Note from Walhydra's amanuensis: Here's a story written in 2003 for the Crone Thread listserv, about three years after Walhydra and hubby Jim moved to Florida. Although Walhydra complained at the time, the gentle reader may recognize some parallels with her confession in Walhydra's Convincement.]

Walhydra is having an identity crisis.

The fifty-something, queer, would-be writer she rides around in has discovered a new mindfulness practice which is "changing his life."

For decades he's known that he is a grouchy, critical, angry old soul. Yet, since childhood, he has been a master of the art of being polite and generous and affirming to people while cursing them behind their backs.

He can be "endlessly tolerant" of the demanding, obnoxious things people do in his presence. Behind the wheel, though, every too-fast driver on his bumper, every too-slow driver in front of him, every driver who creeps through the yellow to leave him on red, gets shot at with streaks of blue death. Likewise every object which obeys gravity at inopportune moments, every website which loads too slowly, every pen which runs out of ink before the end of....

"So what's wrong with that?" Walhydra inquires coyly. "A well-adjusted curmudgeon. A man after my own gallbladder."

Of course, Walhydra has been known to spend entire incarnations terrorizing the neighbors and reporting little dogs to animal control.

So what is she to do, she wonders, now that he has finally noticed?

It began a decade or so back, when he started to feel guilty that he didn't practice what he was preaching. Naturally, he always forgave himself. God is a forgiving Goddess, you know. But it rankled.

Then there was that dangerous reading he did in the late 80s. That guy James Breech in The Silence of Jesus, stripping away all the doctrinal add-ons in the Gospels and finding just sayings and stories about people who resent the choices other people make.

"Oops," said Walhydra, sensing danger. "Too close to the bone there!"

She managed to distract him for another decade. During which he spent eight hours a day helping homeless, mentally ill and drug-addicted men in prison—and then resenting being hit up by street people while drinking his cappuccino al fresco after work. It was a hard battle, but she managed.

Until the move.

"Oh, that move!" Walhydra grows livid when she remembers. "Everything, everything got bent out of the frame when he and his honey moved!"

Both would-be writer and honey hated their new jobs. They loathed Jacksonville. Would-be spent the first year and a half diligently avoiding being there. Refused even to learn the names of streets or which ones were one-way in which direction.

But love will out, damn it!

Sometime during his third year, driving home from a movie across one of Jacksonville's seven high bridges, he realized that he now knew the back route from anywhere to anywhere else in town.

"Oh, no!" he thought. "I've finally become a Jacksonvillain!"

As he turned to explain this to his honey, Honey said, "I just had the same thought!"

"Curses!" muttered Walhydra.

It got worse.

Toward the end of that third year, he and hubby were on the out and out over a much-in-need-of-a-retread marriage. And he was praying and sitting zazen overtime to find the discipline and emotional self-reliance to stay reasonably sane.

And then one morning....

"No," said Walhydra.

He realized....


That he was angry because of resentment.

He was resentful because things didn't go his way.

And then....

"Don't go there!"

It occurred to him....


That there was no reason why things should go his way.


He was just one person....

"I'm melting. I'm melting...."

In an ageless, cyclical cosmos of being and nothingness....

"What a world! What a world...!"

And that: "It isn't about me."

"Oh.... Look what you've done to my wonderful wickedness...!"

Now, whenever he even notices annoyance, he says quickly, "It isn't about me."


And, because there's nothing to resent, his anger melts away....


And he just enjoys the scenery.


1 comment:

Liz Opp said...

Hello there, Walhydra--

Thanks for the email correspondence of late. It made me curious to take a look at your blog, and when I came upon this post, it reminded me of a post of my own, which touches on similar issues but with a different catalyst, I suppose.

Not sure where your journey has taken you since you wrote this piece...

Liz Opp, The Good Raised Up