Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One Step at a Time

This weekend I had a dream.

In it, I was walking.  I didn’t know where I was, I was just walking. 
I didn’t try to inquire with anyone, not even myself, on where I was going. 
I was just walking.  Moving forward. One step at a time.

The greatness of the sun was directly above me, causing my shadow to be almost nonexistent as I continued on. As I looked up ahead, I could only see in front of me a few yards from where I was- the great space beyond what was next on the path remained a mystery, yet I never stopped going.

I just kept moving forward. One step at a time.

Soon, an indefinable anxiousness within me led me to start to jog, and eventually my speed quickened and I was running a steady, moderate pace.

Although I didn’t know where I was going, I never questioned my direction. 
I just kept moving forward.  One step at a time.

Breathing in rhythm with my legs, I continued on, never looking back.  My heart was racing, partially because of my now long-distance jaunt, but partially because of something else; the same thing that was causing my stomach to feel a bit fluttery.   A cross between the the last day of school and the moment before the plane takes off.  A little bit like being 3rd and goal, or on the line for two when the score is tied. Everything was hanging in the balance, but it did not stop me.

I just kept moving forward. One step at a time.

Around me, I heard no sounds- just pure, unaltered unliving.  It was not death, but more like an absence of life.  No sounds of birds or wind or any sort of being near me.  And as I focused on what lay ahead, the cadence of my own running was the only sound my ears could hear.   pit pat pit pat pit pat pit pat. Zoning in on the movement of my arms as I continued on, I could hear the gentle swish with each stroke of my forearm passing my side. swish swoosh swish swoosh.  Pit swish pat swoosh. Pit swish pat swoosh.  Centered on the echo I was creating in my otherwise silent surround of landscape, I carried on.

I just kept moving forward. One step at a time.

Soon I began to realize that I was abnormally and somewhat uncharacteristically, not tiring. I had been running for what suddenly seemed like miles, and yet I had no desire to slow my pace, no desire to catch my breath, no desire to stop.  I was comfortable in my race.  Comfortable in the numbness that surrounded me.  Comfortable in the pit pat and the swish swoosh. My comfort soothed me ahead.

I just kept moving forward. One step at a time.

I was alone in this place.  My head was held high. Although comfortable in my surroundings, I kept my eyes straight ahead- looking forward for an answer.  Where was I going and when would I get there?  What was I doing on this path and what adventures were laid in front of me? I was comfortable in my confusion, in my questioning inner dialogue, in my hopeful, eager, unknowingness of my current state of simply being.

I just kept moving forward. One step at a time.

The moment I realized I was at peace in my journey something changed.  I knew I was doing what needed to be done, everything about my movement- the pace, the sound, the steadiness- made me feel I was being successful.  It seemed like what I was supposed to be doing- running this way.  I had made the right decisions; I had felt confident in my actions.  And as I had made note of my personal triumph of doing something that felt so right, I saw it ahead of me. 

A darkened building in the distance.
Doorless, almost barn-like, open to the outside.
I kept moving forward.
One step at a time.
My pace slowed as I grew closer.

The room was devoid of an inside light source, yet the once hovering sun seemed suddenly in the distance, behind the building, casting an eerie glow through colored glass windows on the west side of the structure.

Rows and rows of backless benches. 
Split into two sections. 
Creating a natural aisle.
I moved forward.
One step at a time.
Ahead of the benches was a sort of alter.
Dark, weathered wood.
Although frightening, somewhat warm and welcoming.

I approached the back of the room.  Suddenly more aware of myself.  Aware of the lack of others. Feeling somewhat strong as an individual and somewhat eager for community that may gather here in this room.  I took a mental inventory of all that was around me.

Empty room.
Empty rows.
Empty benches.
Empty sounds.
Empty feelings.
The emptiness created so much unknown. So much possibility.

At the aisle.
I moved forward.
One step at a time.
Looked to my right.
Looked to my left.
One step at a time.
Took my time.
Took my chances.
One step at a time.
Passing each row
Of cold, empty spaces
One step at a time
One step at a time

With all my questions still in tact – the when, what, where, why- all seemed to start to disappear.  It simply didn’t matter anymore. 

It didn’t matter where I was.
It didn’t matter what I was or wasn’t doing.
It didn’t matter when I arrived or when I was planning to depart.
And it didn’t matter why.
Positive, Negative.
Dark, Light.
Quick, Slow.
Eager, Anxious.
Nothing mattered to me.
And nothing needed to.
The time had come.

I was at the alter, ready for what lay ahead.
Ready to look back.

On my own and standing tall, unafraid, I turned and faced where I had come from. 

In front of me was a room of imaginary congregates of my past. All with their own opinions and judgments.  With their own takes on the stories of my past and the outlook of my future. Their own agendas and propaganda. Their commentaries so often louder and more entertaining than my own words, than my own memories, and than the truth. 

Now, however, I didn’t hear a sound from any of them.  Just my own heart beat, slow and steady. Pum-pump. Pum-pump. And I knew that’s what I needed to hear.  What I should want to hear. 

My own heart beat. 
My own pace. 
My own race,
My own pit pat and swish swoosh and pum-pump. 

And so I head back down the aisle, strong and tall and alone.
No questions answered. No understanding granted.
I just kept moving forward. One step at a time.


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