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The value of information


Too little information.

I can’t smell anything.

I can’t taste much.

I can’t speak foreign languages.

I don’t know when I’m going to die

Or how.

I don’t know what happened before I was born.

I can’t know how others feel about me.

Or what’s been said when I’m not around.

What it means when they say I love you

Or fuck off.

Too much information

I’ve been a therapist for 30 years.

I have a laptop and an iPhone and an iPad.

FaceBook Twitter Instagram

Sunday NYT

Xrays, MRIs, CT scans

I was born again one time

I also kind of died once.

I was with my father when he died.

It’s confusing

All this information.

So the questions I ask myself today are ones I thought I’d share with you – what do we do with knowing that there’s seemingly important information that we don’t have, maybe even can’t have, at least not now?

And what do we do with too much?

And my answer today is not all that different than my answer to most dilemmas that I face. I root around – mind, body, spirit - until something opens and new words, strings of sound, pictures both moving and still life, come popping streaming sliding in as though all I had to do was ask. And then I slow down enough to write them.

I don’t know what I would be like now if I wasn’t like I am. I’m sitting next to a clear glass vase filled with fresh lilacs. They are … pretty. At some other time in my life I might have gone on to describe the Spring party of scents that erupts from their clustered blooms. I would have buried my nose in them just to reassure myself that they still smell as sharp and sweet and thick as I remember.

I don’t do that now because my nose and my mind aren’t speaking to each other.

I am mad at my nose and mad at my mind and mad at the lilacs and mad at the fucker that didn’t see me on my motorcycle. I could conclude that I do not have enough information here to smell the lilacs but, if you’re with me here, that doesn’t seem to be true. What seems more true is that there is some information, the kind that does not come in through the nose or the tongue, that can steal the show. Like mad. Or sad. Or scared. Or confused. I think this might be true elsewhere as well.

There might also be too much – too much information.

I don’t want to be cluttered with visions of rotted garbage and bloody corpses and plastic seas. I don’t want to hear about the awful things we do to each other or even the awful things we think of doing to ourselves. I don’t want to reach up only to fall back down and I don’t want to let go only to be hauled back. I don't want to watch someone I love go away. I want to understand what’s going on and how to fix it, I want that Serenity Prayer and I’m tired and I want to smell lilacs but I don’t want to smell or see or hear darkness and suffering.

So I guess that’s where some of the struggle is coming from. The more I go on here, the more I can see the problem I have created with my wanting and not wanting – they are not always in cahoots with each other. There’s things I want but I don’t want what comes with them.

I’m glad I didn’t die and that I get to be here today but today is cloudy and I want it to be sunny.

Okay, I’m changing that up right now. Because it’s also true that I love cloudy days – they help me stay indoors and write. Now, doesn’t that feel better?

I want to be able to use all of my body in the ways I used to enjoy and I want to be spiritedly engaged in my work and my not work. I want to feel sassy and smart. I want to make something new that lights up the room and the day and the faces of those I love and even those I don’t love. I want to be part of a wave of creation.

But for now what I will celebrate is that I am glad to be writing this, that I have the time and the space to do it. I’m at a women’s co-working space that has grown since I first joined. I drove my car here. I stopped at the Y on the way and rolled around on an exercise ball with a bunch of Baby Boomers to the tune of Shut Up and Dance With Me.

I’m smiling right now because I’ve read that it makes us feel better. It does. This much I know is true. I can start there.

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