Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Going Back

I remember reading that when you have a fallback position you do just that—fall back.

And so I think it’s been in my case, with my childhood home in Santa Fe.  As long as I could go back, I went back, looked back, held back, dwelling in the past as much as anywhere.  I was pulled always in two directions, though more strongly to the first.  Tugged by a stealthy undertow of memory, of long-established expectation and obligation; caught in a most amiable trap.  I never quite left off being a child (not paying any real attention to Corinthians, though loving the language).

Several years ago I took a weekend workshop at Tassajara with Edward Espe Brown, the Zen teacher and bread book writer, “Change Your Handwriting and Change Your Life.”  During the course of that, one of the things that did change my life, happily, allowing me to move into a different and a better place than I had been, was learning that I needed to cross the tails of my long “ys” and “gs”—always before, I’d left them dangling in the past.  Left them hanging out uselessly, leading only backwards.

And now, I think it’s time for me myself to write myself again forward, to look to the future and think of myself there.  Intention is the crux of forwards progress, I have heard.  So while I won’t ever forget the past, or those in it, or the places I’ve loved so well, I must move on.  I must stop going back, or at least thinking of it as the direction I long for most.

image:  Christie B. Cochrell, At Hadrian's Wall


  1. i've visited this post before. i didn't omment.
    i needed to think about your words.
    i often do that.
    then i came from leslie's just now.
    and from my own peanut where i spoke of the burning of colorado.
    and your words as always take on an even deeper meaning for me.
    i never had a home place for very long. we moved always. due to my father's job.
    "back" meant nothing. absolutely nothing. i had no feeling for it.
    now. for some reason . . . i do. and i understand posts like this one.

  2. We're going in the opposite direction.
    These last years have revealed to me that the only possible direction, at least for me, goes backwards. Analyzing and reworking the past is the only way to foresee, predict, prepare, understand what is to come.
    Memories have that evocative hue that I can use in acting and writing. No no no, looking forward won't work for me.

  3. I absolutely agree that for my writing, and obviously many, the past is essential. The connections, reflections, lessons learned, aching regrets. But I think that in living I get mired in the past more than is good for me (likely because mine, my childhood and beyond, was worth lingering in). And now that I've been studying mindfulness meditation, I've got to be wary about both holding onto the past AND anticipating the future! As someone in the class said, "but this moment seems so much less interesting to me than others!" I had to agree . . . if connections can't be made in all directions. But I guess there's a time and a place for each thing, and we all have to work it out for ourselves. And maybe I'm just trying to make myself feel better for having to give up my beloved Santa Fe house.

  4. Happy weekend and pondering anyway, good friends!