Lydieth A

Lydieth A
Location
North Carolina,
Birthday
April 13
Bio
Mom, wishful thinker, keeper of too many animals, Arlo Guthrie fan, teacher of freshman comp and commuter of too many miles (at any price per gallon).

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Salon.com
AUGUST 27, 2008 11:03AM

Front Porch Mystic

Rate: 2 Flag

  I’ve finally figured out my dream job. I want to be a mystic. I’m not good at it, but maybe that will give me credibility with other amateurs. I can’t meditate without worrying about whether I turned off the coffeepot. I can’t go on sabbatical because I don’t have enough leave saved up. A trip to Tibet is out because I don’t like to fly on airplanes. But I could be a little front porch mystic, couldn’t I? I could sit here on the steps and receive devotees with questions.

“A little vinegar will take that out.”

“Rub aftershave all over the mother and baby and see if she’ll nurse him then.”

“Leave one egg so the hen will still lay there.”

`“Put half a cut apple in the flowerpot and put a plastic bag over the whole thing. Then you’ll get a pineapple.”

Okay, so I’m more of a Hints from Heloise kind of mystic.

But I do wonder if this mystical stuff can work for those of us raising children and paying mortgages and trying to remember what we’re out of at the grocery store.

I have bookshelves lined with titles like. “Work as Spiritual Practice” and “Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow.” So far I do see work as a spiritual practice, but more along the lines of self-mortification. And what if doing what I love involves a hammock and a drink with a little paper umbrella? Find me that job, and I’m there until retirement—I’ll even put in overtime.

Most of us can’t wrap ourselves in a sheet and sit in a half lotus on the mountaintop. These days, I need more support and lift than a sheet can provide, for one thing. What do the rest of us do to reconnect with who we really are and what matters to us most?

One key element for me is time alone. I crave it and develop an eye-twitch if I don’t get it. And I can be “alone” in a restaurant or on a park bench with other people all around, as long as I don’t have to maintain a presence or a conversation with another person near me.

I can sneak off for a solitary lunch in the car in a parking lot. I can lock the bathroom door and sit in a tub of hot water for hours, preferably with the lights out and some candles burning. I’ve developed great metatarsal dexterity and can add hot water with a flick of my left foot. (It is a pity talents like this can’t be shared.)

Another thing I need pretty often is a view of things that aren’t manmade and a place that gives me at least a few minutes at a time of natural sounds. Cicadas, birds, bees buzzing and rain are great. In a pinch, I can close my eyes and pretend highway traffic is really the ocean. If I can’t find a park, I try to focus on a single tree or bush, or I put the car seat back so I can only see sky.

And what do I think about while I’m alone? I wonder about where I fit in the world and how I can combine what I’m good at with what makes me happy and how that can translate into work that would make enough money that I wouldn’t feel a disconnect between who I am and what I do.

I haven’t figured out yet how my skills fit into any particular career track. I can be funny,
in a diabetic coma-inducing sweet way. I can string words together and describe what I see and think. I can catch chickens and worm goats and grow plants that don’t require any attention. My first job was piercing ears in the mall, and I was pretty good at that. I can teach small children in really small groups. I can sit quietly for long stretches and think about where I fit in the world.

I’m not sure my parachute has a color—it’s more of a paisley or a madras plaid.

So I haven’t hit on the answer to my career and spiritual connection yet, but it’s the puzzle my mind works on solving whenever it’s given the chance.

At best, I can have these little retreats for an hour or so. No matter how long I may get to revel in this blissful solitude, eventually I have to return to phones and faxes and people who say, insincerely I think, “I don’t mean to bother you, but…”

I’d like to think that having that break means I can present myself to them refreshed and ready to give my brain to things that aren’t eternal for a few hours, but I’ll admit that there’s dread that probably shows for an instant in my face, and that I’m not thinking, “Oh, goody! More work!”

Maybe that comes when I achieve the next level of my spiritual awakening. Until then, I’m a front porch mystic.

Hey, watch it. You’re stepping on my sheet.

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Comments

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I love the idea - front porch mystic. I think of myself as an everyday mystic, seeing the deeper dimensions of everyday reality as I move through the world. Being aware of more than one thing at a time, feeling how my body is relating to the trees, listening to the birdsong for its deeper meaning. Your right about the breaks, and even tuning off the radio in the car can help me sink deeper.
Thanks for your sweet comments!