Despite the metal sign over my door that reads “Laugh Out Loud”, I’m not a fan of those stick on aphorisms, the endless “Live, Love, Laugh” painted bits of wood, the tiny segments of quotations that are so bland as to make them meaningless. Bit I do have a yearning for little bits of poetry, excerpts from movies, last lines of great novels, somehow included in my life, hidden but in plain sight.
I have “Let the world breathe you” hidden in a rug I’m doing for a backrest for my bed. I found that in a tape by Andrew Weill, MD, one of the few hipster gurus that seems to have his head screwed on right (plus he’s so darn healthy and happy looking it’s hard not to believe him. Every time I have salmon with butter I raise a toast to him and his advice.) On this relaxation tape, he encouraged listeners to simply let go and pretend that the world was breathing for you. Try it. It feels wonderfully supporting, like there really is a god and he or she truly cares for you. It IS miraculous how our bodies work. Even if they slip up now and again, they take a lot of abuse and keep on supporting us…
Another line I’ve always liked is from Walt Whitman, as quoted in “Now, Voyager”, a movie with the fabulous Bette Davis, finally escaping into her own after climbing out from under a domineering mother. The movie also has the Claude Rains, a man of infinite charm.
The poem, called “Untold Want”, has always pulled at my soul. See what you think.
As with my favourite word, hiraeth, there’s an undefined feeling of longing. I’ve always had that. It makes me restless, not discontent, just endlessly searching for something. Perhaps for my long-gone parents, perhaps for a community, perhaps for my spiritual past. There’s another word, from The Meaning of Liff, scothropping. It means making the shape of what you want while looking for it, as in making your fingers look like scissors when you are digging through a drawer looking for them. I figure that’s what I’m doing with my various activities – knitting while looking for ties, needle stabbing while looking for sensation, writing while looking for my mind, playing the ukulele in search of music. Or maybe I simply want Claude Rains. Or even a fabulous hat.
I’ve been reading a lot about relationships for my upcoming book on MS and intimacy. I read that, of course, it’s hard to be intimate if you aren’t intimate friends, if you don’t share lives or ideas or non-naughty life together. It’s shared experiences and ideas that make the relationship weather the rocky parts. It’s the touch of love, not sex, that builds connection, the caring interest, the pat on the back. My marriage starved through a lack of feeding that side, both of our faults.
So I was thinking of the pillows you see everywhere that say “Kiss me goodnight.” It occurred to me that the pillow should be meant for BOTH partners, whereas now it seems to read like a command for one to the other. Or maybe the pillows should read “Hug me goodnight.” Because a hug can mean so much more than a kiss, which in my case leads to lust and then well, the moment gets all tangled up with that.
And then I got to thinking that the real thought should instead be gratitude. Gratitude that the world still exists, that the sun will rise tomorrow, that you are lucky enough to have a partner who loves you in the world. Or, in my case, a purring cat sitting on my chest. Whipping his tail past my eyes.
So maybe the thought should be to hug the world goodnight…hmm. Maybe I can work that into a bed pillow…