Sunday, July 29, 2012

Year Three

Three years ago today, I launched Dreams, Deliriums, and Other Mind Talk. I created this blog because I love to write, and I wanted to share random pieces of my writing with the random visitor in a space made just for that. In the interim, I’ve had my ups and downs with the whole blogging experience. I’ve had moments where I felt mesmerized and enriched by it. And, I’ve had moments where I felt exhausted, bored, and distracted from my main purpose. To be honest, it’s the social networking bit that continues to challenge me. Social networking is just not my forte. If it were, I’d at least be on Facebook by now.

My friends are all, almost without exception, on Facebook. And whenever the topic comes up (often!), and I have to gently remind them of my ‘Not on Facebook’ status, they look at me as if to say, Really, Nevine? What rock are you hibernating under? And I never look back as if to say, Friending one another on Facebook doesn’t really make us friends. I just say it! And, let’s see… what else is out there? Oh yes… Twitter! To be quite honest, I’d rather amputate my right thumb than join Twitter. When I’m as famous as Kate Middleton, and I’m certain that everyone in creation is keen on being notified every time I brush my teeth, I’ll start a Twitter account.

That having been said, I must admit that, in the three years I’ve been blogging, I’ve met some pretty awesome people online, and I really mean that. There is no shortage whatsoever of creativity, kindness, uniqueness, giving, and sharing in Blogland. This is why I keep blogging; it really is the perfect social networking medium for social-networking-challenged me. On the other hand, I’m currently entangled in the womblike quicksand of a furiously demanding doctoral program. This means that while I do continue to maintain a blogging presence, it tends to be a rather sparse and ghostlike presence.

Nevertheless, I’m still here, and I’m not going to be leaving anytime soon! So I’ll continue to post… and visit… as time and the spirit allow. And to those of you who have been faithful readers of Dreams, and also to the occasional wanderer who pauses for a small respite, I offer my deepest gratitude. Thank you for your undying support… and here’s to another year!

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NOTE: I’m going on my summer vacay in a few days. When I return, I’ll be relaxed, refreshed, bursting with Vitamin D… and anxious to hit that “Publish” button once again! My best… and coolest… summer wishes to all of you!!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

On Excess... and Blindness

Star Maker, Les Edwards

You wander from room to room, hunting for the diamond necklace that is already around your neck. ~ Jalaluddin Rumi

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Years ago, when I still lived in Egypt, I traveled to the Sinai Peninsula annually. Every November, for six years, I separated myself from the chatter of everyday life, went into the desert, and prepared for my climb to the summit of Mt. Moses. On the morning (or rather, the night) of the climb, I would wake up at 2:00 a.m., wrap myself in as many warm layers as possible, wear two or three pairs of socks, put on my hiking boots, and board the bus that would take me to the bottom of the mountain, where I would begin a cliff-ridden journey speckled with small chapels and other niches of worship, that would end at the top just as the sun was about to rise.

As I stepped off the bus and stood at the foot of Mt. Moses, there was never a need to look up into the sky to see the stars. Everything around me was stars! The sky was everywherehumming against my cheekbones, rubbing against my skin. I remember the falling meteoroids, plunging to their final rest so beautifully, like a platinum firework. We like to call those “shooting stars.” But they are not shooting. And they are not stars. They are dying pieces of rock that sing their swan song as they fall into our atmosphere in an explosion of light, as if to say, I am eternal. Always remember me.

Here is an excerpt from my journal from the trip I took in 1998: Walking in the supposed footsteps of Moses, passing beneath the night shadow of what was believed to be the original burning bush, I never once stopped to think about the holiness of the place from that context. The holiness for me was in the heavens. And the heavens were not up there, but right here… enveloping me like a blanket. It was all so overwhelmingthe brightness, the aliveness, the sacredness, the now-ness. How to take it all in?

Most haunting were the sleepless nights that followed, as that brilliant image lingered inside my psyche, knitting the tips of my darkest nights with interconnected haloes.

These memories called me outside again, last night, like innumerable nights before. And I stood at the step leading up to my front door, beside the “Welcome” garden gnome who perches there, my head craned back, my eyes scanning the heavens. The sky was so dark… the stars so bright. And I wanted so greedily to see it all. Every star. Every glimmer. Every dip. Every pose. Every eloquent and timid hue of purple. And silver. And black. And as I swiveled my head up and down, left and right, in my hunger to take in this immenseness, I realized the absurdity of my greed, and how insidiously it metastasizes.

Jorge Luis Borges once said that when he went blind, he became an insomniac. He’d slept all his life in total darkness, and now that he could no longer see, too much light danced behind his eyelids, haunting the receptacle of his absent sense, and stealing his sleep.

Ah, yes!

Last night, after countless insomniac nights… insomniac years… of searching the sky for stars, my neck sore from trying to support my ricocheting head, I walked out onto my front lawn, planted my bare feet firmly in the grass, and understood: The stars are there, even by day, even when I can’t see them. I need not search for them.
They are there.
They are there.
They are there.

I can’t see it all,
Can’t do it all,
Can’t have it all.

And the beauty of it is that I’m finally… finally… perfectly at peace with that.