Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hell's Kitchen, Sept. 2007


When I wrote about simplicity yesterday, I was coming at it from a consumer angle - that we really don’t need all this stuff, the newest plastic gadget or watermelon in February. But that’s only one aspect of simplicity.

On a deeper level, it means feeling the sun on your face, feeling your breaths in and out, feeling each footfall as you walk, seeing what’s in front of your eyes. Not getting caught up in the dramas of your mind, the crisis of the latest story. That’s true simplicity, and again, I only sometimes recognize it, because I’m as susceptible to drama as anyone.

In the comments yesterday, Reya mentioned the complexity of her thoughts. (That’s why we all loved your blog, Reya!) I may have an advantage here, because honest to God, my thoughts are not all that complex. I pretty much just stroll along, trying to pay attention to what’s around me and avoid being swept away by daydreams. When something really upsets me, I learn all I can about it and then try to remember what's really real.

My father was diagnosed with lung cancer at the beginning of August - not a total surprise, because he’s smoked for 50-plus years and we all knew he had a “spot” that the doctors were watching. The news was upsetting, but at the same time I could meet it with a kind of clarity. I tried not to get caught up in “what ifs.”

I flew down to Florida to spend time with Dad before his surgery. He’s since had his operation, and he seems to be doing well, though healing will take a long time. I don’t mean to gloss it over - it’s been hard for him - but ultimately it’s just a knot of renegade cells. And for the moment - which is all that’s real - they appear to be gone. Is this denial? No, it’s simplicity.

7 comments:

Reya Mellicker said...

I salute your ability to keep it real like this, Steve, I really do!

Though I am a complicated thinker and human being (my version of keeping it real), I, too, love stopping long enough to feel the sun on my face, etc.

One of my favorite things about my kinship with you is how often we find ourselves on the same wavelength - we're thinking about the same topic (in very different ways) or we take very similiar pics during a particular week.

I love the diversity that is a hallmark of being human, and I love being shown how interconnected we all are, no matter how different from each other.

I salute you! Bravo!!

theresa said...

I teach at an all girl Catholic H.S. in Manhattan. My goal this year is not to allow the drama that is created by 500 teenage girls to have an impact on what goes on in my inner life and my life outside of the school. I tend to take on the emotions of the people around me. I want to be more conscious of not doing that this year. Teenagers exhaust me.

Steve said...

Reya: I absolutely agree that you're "keeping it real" in your own way. And I don't mean to suggest that what works for me is the answer for everyone -- or even that I have all the answers for myself! I'm just bumbling along like everyone else.

I used to marvel at your blog, at all the places your mind would go. It was amazing. :)

Theresa: I imagine keeping it simple in a school full of teenage girls is darn near impossible! :)

Gary said...

It seems as though your attitude is working quite well for you so keep on truckin' my friend.

Best to your dad.

Steve said...

Thanks, G!

Pod said...

accepting things like that, in a matter of fact way, can really help, but the more emotional side can kick in at points too. i could see little moth's illness in that way sometimes, as just an expression of the disease, but at times it was, and still is, just unbearable and awful and sad. such is life though hey. at times. then you have such lovely days and everything is ok.
it's 34 degrees here today!

John said...

Thank you for bringing such nice posts.