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The Storming Bohemian Punks The Muse: 2021 Edition #13 – ‘The Shine Will Out’

The past few days, I have had mental arrhythmia. I mean that the rhythm of my thinking and my emotions has been out of whack. My sleep schedule is off. My internal dialogue is speeded up and covering more ground than I’m used to. At other times, it is suddenly silenced. My diet and exercise program is also without a center: one day I over eat, the next day I starve myself. One day I walk for two hours, the next I remain on the couch.

This happens periodically, and it doesn’t upset me, particularly. I know it will pass. But it is irritating, like being a passenger in a taxi with a lousy driver. I don’t really expect to crash, but the turns and the sudden stops and starts are nauseating. And the driver won’t shut up.

At times like this, how do I know myself? Identity is a fragile thing, and when familiar rhythms run haywire it may seem to turn slippery and lose its essential core. Who am I, I wonder, when I say, “I’m not quite myself.”

But something is consistently “there” and always familiar. It is as though I have an internal landscape which I am always navigating, living in a civilization of one, and it never really changes. It has its fields and valleys, familiar vistas, and landmarks, repeated memories and themes. I move through it, sometimes at a reckless pace, sometime stopping to smell the flowers or uncover a dead animal or stumble across an old shed. I only discover the new in the old. I wake up every day in this world—never on Mars, so far. And I come to consciousness from sleep in my own internal landscape, never another’s. Not yet.

In this inner world, as in the outer, there are good days and bad, unexpected encounters, surprising thrills, rainy weather, and sunshine, the changing of the seasons, the gradual entropy of the years.

Like the world, the interior landscape is vast — I can take residence in new areas, go on vacation to a foreign land (what else is a novel?), rearrange the old furniture, but the landscape itself is mine until I die.

This is both wonderfully reassuring and rather disconcerting.

I can take it, I suppose. Is there a choice? One must, as they say in recovery, learn to take life on life’s terms. I live where I live, both within and without. There is only a single escape.

Does this sound like depression, this mood of acceptance? It isn’t. The amazing thing is that the inner world, like the outer, is dappled with evidence of Spirit.

The shine will out.