This is Water

by beccaborrelli

Day Pool in Blues. David Hockney

Sometimes you don’t realize there is a hole, until something begins to fill it up. Then you say to yourself:

“Self, how is that you lived so long with that gaping hole and never noticed?”

Such is the nature of human adaptability.

I was probably about 10 when I first began to dig. My digging slowed around age 17, but I began furiously digging once more my freshman year of college. I was 22 when I became accutely aware of my then ginormous hole, and began the arduous process of filling it in with some good stuff again.

One of my best and brightest friends came to me with a “business opportunity” that year, which ended up being a network marketing/pyramid scheme- milking young people on promises of dazzling futures… if they were willing to invest the money. It ended up going bust a few years in- yet ironically, was one of the best things that happened in my young life.

During my time working for this Internet Marketing company/hoax/whatever it was, we planned and attended weekly local meetings, monthly state meetings, and bi-annual national meetings. Put simply, there were gajillions of meetings. These meetings were comprised of giving, and listening to motivational speeches about “inner worth, setting intent, and creating a culture of optimism.”

Most would gag. It reeked of cheesy hidden incentives and greed I know. But I had been unconsciously charging one expensive lie on my soul’s credit card up until that point:

“You are a product.”

That one thought, sponsored many other thoughts over the years- which I will refrain from listing- save they were mostly preceded by “I need…,” followed by “some external thing,” and succeeded by “to be happy, to be worthy” etc. By the time I reached 20, I was wondering: “Is this it? If this is it, I can see why some people choose to end things.”

That alarmed me.

So when network marketing salesmen and women were the very first people to introduce me to the idea that I could create my own destiny I was ready to try. They said my entire universe was between my two ears, and suddenly new light bulbs began firing off in my cerebral cortex. They preached that everything happening to me was 90 percent my reaction to it. They taught these concepts in straightforward ways that could not be mistaken for anything else. Not my parents, not my public education, not even my college education had attempted to do this. I lived the first quarter of my life thinking I was a product, and all the major “education agents” in my life didn’t peep up once. This made an impression on me, and I carry the memory as a teacher. We truly leave children up to their own devices when it comes to navigating their mind.

Last year around this time, I was snooping around the Zen Moments blog… which if you haven’t been, you really need to go (pending completion of this post, pleaseandthankyou.) They led me to the Kenyon University Commencement Speech written by contemporary novelist David Foster Wallace… approximately four years before he took his own life.

I wish I had written it.

I was jealous that I didn’t… couldn’t have written it.

To me, his speech says exactly what must be said to every human being about to embark on life’s journey. Children are taught in every waking moment to pay attention to everything but their own minds. Slowly they grow into adults who have no idea why they are overmedicated, overweight, broke, addicted to any myriad of substances/behaviors, unhappy, lonely,  etc.

As I prepare for graduate study in the Fall- this is what I want to be a part of-

“How will public education rise up to meet this emerging culture of unconscious people?”