I casually mentioned to someone that I had notebooks dating back to high school in storage. They are generally filled with lyrics and poetry of various sorts and some long rambly bits that could be called a journal. Of course, during Pantheacon a friend of mine had One Of Those Dreams, which said that I should get the notebooks out of storage and scan them, and make some sort of book out of them that would describe how I got from there to here. And as we all know, “From There to Here, from Here to There, funny things are everywhere,” as Dr. Seuss told us.
Scanning these notebooks has been embarrassing at first, but after I got over the initial embarrassment I was struck by a thought while scanning. I was scanning and watching Doctor Who at the same time and had the sudden realization that we are all Timelords.
Doctor Who is the same person, in a sense; he has some consistent qualities that stay the same, but at the same time his incarnations are very different from one another. It is always a crisis that forces a change for him, a drastic change into someone who appears completely different. But who isn’t different. But who is.
Going through the notebooks, the 16 year old me, keeping a scrapbook, obsessed with guitars and rock music and girls, and fearing for the state of his soul and being confused about Jesus, is different and yet the same from the 22 year old me, writing poems about everything and still getting tripped out over the conflict between austerities of faith and the lusts of the flesh.
And that person is different from the 26 year old me who gave up on Christianity after a crisis, and dived into those lusts. And then became the 30 year old me who awoke, politically aware, and found a path toward his own idea of the Divine. And who somehow started having a real relationship for the first time in his life, not just a series of heartbreaks and ridiculous expectations wrapped around another person. And who discovered he was clinically depressed and began taking meds for it, and saw the fog lift that he never knew was there.
And that, again, is another person from the me in his 40s who became aware of his own mortality, trying to understand where and when and who and how much, and struggling with changing course in midlife, and hurricanes both internal and external. And that brings us to now and 51-year-old me (about to turn 52), surveying all these incarnations from what vantage point there is here on the hill.
In these incarnations I see what is me and what is not me, what I tried on that ended up not fitting, what I discarded too early and clung to for too long, what I saved that was worthy, what I kept that was strong, and a few things come through. I don’t like to be told what to do, even if I don’t know what to do; and I love beauty and creating beauty, and other things I have not begun to lay out yet. It’s dizzying and a bit intimidating. And the transformations still go on, with me becoming.
I have been reading a book called The Kabbalistic Mirror of Genesis, which is an analysis of the first book of the Bible from a Kabbalistic point of view. The author points out that the phrase, “In the beginning, God” has been mistranslated in the west for hundreds of years. The actual phrase translates to “in the beginningness, the gods.” The author goes on to explain that beginningness, “bereshith,” is not accomplished; on the contrary, it is still going on. The universe is constantly in a state of beginningness, and the gods – that is, you and I – are always in constant motion above the waters, creating, creating, creating. What we are creating has yet to be seen fully, has yet to be finished, and may never be finished, if the ancient writers are correct; our creation is infinite, eternal, opening and expanding, blooming into the universe, our creation as gods yet to be.
These notebooks contain a little of my beginningness, my small beginningness, my bereshith on a personal level. There are parts of it that I’m not comfortable with, but true magic almost always exists outside of our comfort zone. To meet those selves takes an effort. Going back to Doctor Who, any time there was more than one incarnation of the Doctor present there was conflict between them, even though they were the same man, so to speak. My path through this is to reconcile self with self, to have compassion on my own foolishness (of which there is a lot) and to give those voices that live in the past, and yet live in me, a way to speak now.
I have no idea how that will be done. That part of the beginningness is not revealed to me yet. But right now, all I need to do is to scan and observe.
We will see what happens.