We are all guilty of hubris, that confident knowing that turns out to be pure ego. Hubris is the quality we note in others, while ignoring it in ourselves. Hubris is also our great embarrassment when we are fall flat on our face into our own ignorance and clumsiness.
In all things I am overly sure of myself, then completely stymied by my own ignorance. It is a Gemini trait, jumping in and then paddling back to the side of the pool as quickly as possible. These past few weeks I've done an awful lot of paddling back, and then clinging to the side of the pool.
My daughter's wedding drew us into the woods of Oregon. Two weeks of getting ready and being immersed in the set-up and break-down of a wedding held at the end of two miles of dirt roads. It was beautiful, she was beautiful. And I was kind of useless, having cracked a rib on the drive from Colorado to Oregon.
Instead of lifting tables and chairs, instead of feeling helpful, I was more of an observer. I could watch the small children, but physically there was little else I could do. This down time, which was really chaotic and filled with people and bottomless activity, was a particular kind of purgatory for me. I like physical labor, I like helping in a concrete way. I was forced to watch everyone else work, which forced me to look more deeply at myself. I thought a lot about contributing, how each of us has our own way of being in the world, of giving back.
I suspect writers give back with their words, their intimate feelings shared with strangers, and I have recently decided that it's time to return to my own work with a greater seriousness. On the drive home, I thought of ways to expand the amount of time spent on writing and submitting my poetry. I made lists. When we got home, I immediately got sick with a terrible head cold. For the past week I've been useless still again, at the mercy of my body, which hasn't cared about print jobs or deadlines or emails stacking up in my yahoo accounts.
Now that I've come out of the fog a little, I remember my last blog post about Whitman's body electric. How humbling to go from the high of acknowledging the senses to laying flat on my back watching seven episodes of a British televisions series, The State Within, in case you're wondering, back to back to back.
My projects have suffered, my editing jobs stalled, as well as all tiger's eye projects. I have had to literally wipe off my desk and begin again. I am humbled in the face of my own hubris, as well as my body's needs.
Walt Whitman would understand, I'm sure.
My writing often deals with the environment, my poetry filled with allusions to natural and man-made disasters. I have unlimited hope though, there is just too much wonder in this world to become a defeatist. As Margaret J. Wheatley said, Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.