The Delicious Letdown of Losing Oneself

comments 47
Creative / Poetry

It started with an idea, as these things usually do.  “I need your help with something,” I said.

Hafiz was working on his Nerf ball free throw.  “I’m listening.”

His face was an expressionless intensity, but the perforated foam hope fell short of the mark.  He seemed to savor the data point.  Silent as a feather in long term storage, the ball hit the knob on the closet door, rolled across the floor and settled against my heel.  I picked it up and tossed it over to him, and he began the recursive process all over again.

“I need a tag team partner.  It’s a steel cage match kind of thing.”

He nodded, fired the silent protagonist off the backboard this time, and watched it land in the same spot as before.  I found myself automatically engaging in the recognition of patterns, anxious to uncover their hidden meanings.  “Standing eight counts?” he asked.

“It’s a steel cage match, Hafiz.”

“So no holds barred.”

“Everything goes.”

“I’m partial to the Vulcan nerve pinch,” he said.  “Who’re the other guys?”

“You Could Still Die Badly, and I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You.”

His face was an expressionless intensity.  The ball sailed wide of the hoop and through an open door casing.  It landed in the toilet bowl like a wintering mallard returning home from a few errands.  He looked over at me, his concentration broken.

“I need your help, Hafiz.  That’s what I’m trying to tell you.”

“I see what you mean.  That Die Badly’s a real sunuvabitch.  When?”

“Soon.  Soon as we can.”

 

I showed up in my favorite I Might Be Good Enough outfit and stood awkwardly next to the cage.  I tried to brandish my cape with élan, but it got wrapped around my throat and face because of vigorous ceiling fans above the cage, leaving me momentarily blinded and a little too vulnerable in my ill-fitting tights.  It was a bad feeling.  Where the hell was Hafiz!?

Die Badly sauntered over, punched my shoulder hard enough to knock the last person in line clean off the planet, and told me to sign the waiver.  I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You was waggling his finger at me in warning, but not the friendly kind.  It was more like the condescending kind, implying that I Wasn’t Really Enough.  Well that did it.  I wasn’t having any of that.  I signed the damned thing.

Next thing I knew Die Badly was coming at me with a small kitchen table as a lead blocker, and I Wouldn’t Do That was shaking his head in amused disbelief at my gullible nature.  I panicked, tried to duck and got clobbered into the next county.  Thankfully I landed in arm’s reach of Hafiz, who slid through the ropes and kissed my outstretched hand.

“Go get ’em, tiger,” I mumbled.

Then I blacked out.

 

I’m not sure how we got from A to B, but when I woke up Hafiz had his hands on Die Badly’s waist.  He was angling the big man just so and showing him how to flick his wrist on the follow-through to get a little arc on the shot.  The foam basketball, oddly saturated on the one hemisphere, flew like a drunken beach ball and straight through the hoop.  I Wouldn’t Do That was practicing off to the side, pantomiming glory.

“What is this, Hafiz?  You’re teamed up with Die Badly now?”

The big man interrupted his shot and looked over at me in surprise, then extended his hand in greeting.  His eyes were burning hot reservoirs of compassion.  “I’m Your Perfect and Inevitable Destiny,” he said.  “Nice to finally meet you.”

I Wouldn’t Do That got into the bizarre action and introduced himself as Every Good Thing.

I looked at Hafiz and raised my bruised and blackened eyebrow, to which I pointed significantly.

Hafiz shrugged his shoulders.  “You asked for my help,” he said.  “You want to go back to the old way?”

For an instant I felt myself becoming Perturbed At My Loss of Control, but Every Good Thing was flickering back and forth of the spitting image of I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You and my pattern recognition skills were at an all time high.  “Nah,” I said.  “This is good.”

Then Perfect Destiny smiled, picked me up and tossed me miles high into a sea of blue.

47 Comments

  1. I love this, Michael!! I feel like I’ve been in the cage of late, but I’m so very grateful for the transformations 😉 I hope you have a beautiful weekend…much love ♡

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yes, the cage is the pressure cooker, and the transformations are the miracles that change things entirely. It always amazes me how our experience of things can shift to such an extent. One moment it can feel as though a tremendous weight is bearing down– one we could never bear– and then with these transformations we just see openings in every direction, and clear light…

      Love to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Walking My Path: Mindful Wanderings in Nature says

    How in God’s name do you come up with this stuff, Michael?! I mean….! “You Could Still Die Badly, and I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You”? And “It landed in the toilet bowl like a wintering mallard returning home from a few errands.” I laughed out loud at that, as I did with your I might be good enough outfit, complete with tights and cape that you tried so hard to look gallant in, but it wrapped around your face and throat because of the ceiling fan, and…”silent as a feather in long term storage” And Perfect and Inevitable Destiny. And how perception changed. I just love how you can laugh at yourself and in the end Hafiz saves the day again, and you take us through the whole thing where I am just glued all the way to the sea of blue, and I’m left just shaking my head in awe of your pattern recognition and really, Michael…your brilliance. Thank you. I really enjoyed this!
    Smiling widely,
    Mary

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you, Mary! I’m so glad you and others enjoyed this curious bit of play. You never know when you experiment in new directions how it will be received. I laughed my self at “You Could Still Die Badly” and “I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You.” They’re such familiar voices aren’t they? This one kind of started with me imagining what would happen if I took my worst fears and doubts and put them in a closet, then chucked Hafiz in there and slammed the door behind him. I imagined it like a sack full of alley cats, but then somehow it turns into something else altogether. That’s one of my favorite feelings– the transformation of one thing into something else altogether… Without that, where would we be???

      I’m smiling back, having fun!
      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  3. after starting with an idea, Michael
    the middle got juicy
    with can & can’t dos
    leaving me sopping
    in happy Hafiz
    whatsup syrup
    as a surprise
    …to be continued 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Love this, David! I love the “whatsup syrup”… I keep saying it in my mind like “catsup”. I always wondered… how did we collectively get the pronunciation “ketch’-up” out of “catsup”? The surprises are indeed never-ending. That part is really amazing to me, too. It just never ends…

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

  4. When the clock hits 11:11 (now), the transformation becomes clear to me. For me It serves as a cosmic alarm clock. The thought leaders say that all is perfectly orchestrated and that Shit happens is really You won the Lottery in drag.Maybe we all have already won?

    Your creativity knows no bounds. Sometimes it takes me a while to follow the thread, but eventually I catch up in the Third Act with reasonable clarity. I am not certain that my sleep deprived self is making any sense, but I want to express my appreciation for your gift at illustrating spiritual concepts with humor and style.

    BTW, there seems to be a pattern emerging here with similar themes on WP. Check out Karin’s post for starters. 😉

    peace, Linda

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi Linda,

      I followed you and appreciated very much your appreciation for my strange creative maneuvers. I think those thought leaders have it correct, though it’s very hard to convince the unwilling. You can’t really convince anyone that what is happening is something else altogether if they’re unwilling to give up a particular vantage point, belief or judgment. Because it takes the release of those things to discover that one thing is really another! How malleable this field that we call perception! I look forward to checking out Karin’s post!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • glad you followed the thread. Sometimes I try to respond to your poetry and a poetic manner, were you aware of this? Other times my heart has a response and my cognitive faculties are a few miles behind…

        agreed regarding convincing anyone of anything! I think that we change our perceptions when we recognize truth that we already “own” somewhere in our vast consciousness.

        peace, Linda

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hi Linda,

          I’ve been aware of this from time to time, yes. Like in your opening paragraph here, which I greatly enjoyed. Commenting is the art of sending a coded message from one heart to another. I often think if I leave a comment and it coincides with a strong inner feeling, such that I realize I let myself get into something of an inspired place, that the other party will surely know/feel what I meant regardless of the grasping of my words. I think we learn so much about one another in our simple notes. There are so many layers to this experience… It is amazing!

          Peace
          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Wowza Michael. Your wrestlings fans have well expressed our delight at your word judo skills. Thanks for a fantastic demonstration of throwing our fears to the mat with love and humor. Next up- I Don’t Know partnered with Embraces the Unknown. Let the match begin. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • That would be a good matchup also, Brad! Sounds like that could evolve fairly quickly into a love affair… We all have this love affair inside of us, don’t we!? It’s children are “I Don’t Know How This Could Have Happened” and “I Can’t Live Like This Anymore”… 🙂

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is hilarious, Michael, I laughed so hard. 🙂 I was thinking last night, how much I love weekends, we’d go skating figure eights, and religiously practice our pattern recognition skills on ice, and go explore frozen waterfalls searching for bluebell faces somewhere under the frost, but most of all, I’d read all my favorite love and peace filled blog posts. And here, I open this, and did not expect watching Hafiz joining the Fight Club. 🙂 Too funny. I like that ‘Might Be Good Enough’ outfit. And the Die Badly, he’ll put a fear of God in one for sure (Just checked out the Die Wise book from the library, it’s thick enough to be used as a weapon agains the Die Badly).
    Sounds like a fun piece to write. Was fun to read. Thank you and have a wonderful surrender weekend.
    Kristina

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Kristina,

      Yes it was fun to write, but even more enjoyable to know we laughed together! I hope you’ve had a nice weekend of skating, hiking and pattern-recognizing, if weather permitted in your area. I loved the line about Hafiz joining Fight Club… so perfect… There is something that’s really great about acknowledging that our holiness and our humanness can coincide, and that they get along swimmingly as long as we’re not too serious about things!

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Hahahahaha brilliant. Very funny Michael, I highly enjoyed the name-play and switcharoon at the end.

    “Who’re the other guys?”

    “You Could Still Die Badly, and I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You.” – *falls about laughing some more.*

    – esme rolling about with uncaged laughter upon the Cloud

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Esme! Those were the lines that made this piece for me, too. I had so much fun imagining how to answer that question… Ha! I love when the Cloud laughs. Glorious things always fall from the sky shortly thereafter.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Great idea to personify haunting beliefs. And another brilliant idea to turn them around at the end to show their harmlessness. You are very creative and have a unique way of expressing the adventure of the spiritual journey.
    Much love,
    Karin

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you, Karin. I appreciate that you recognize the elements of the spiritual journey in these pieces. It isn’t always pretty or fun when you find yourself in the steel cage match of life, pressed upon by your beliefs and uncertainties. Always helpful to have a good Friend in the corner… Someone to offer a kind word, or to tag off and show you how to change everything… 🙂

      Love to you also,
      Michael

      Liked by 3 people

  9. footloosedon says

    I don’t know where your inspirations come from Michael, but I’m delighted that they arise in you and then you tell us about them. I laughed out loud when You Could Still Die Badly and I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You morphed into Your Perfect and Inevitable Destiny and Every Good Thing. Brilliant! Good thing you have Hafiz in your corner.

    Don

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks, Don. I’m delighted that you read here and offer the echoes of your heart’s laughter. Yes, a good cutman in your corner makes all the difference. Especially if he doubles as your tag team partner, your muse, and the One Most Likely to Succeed in a Stare Down With What Never Even Happened… He’s a wily veteran, that Hafiz.

      Love
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Michael,

    The silent protagonist…was my favorite. So ready for animation! Then, “The foam basketball, oddly saturated on the one hemisphere, flew like a drunken beach ball and straight through the hoop.” So much animation and spirit on that ball, even while being drunkly dribbled perhaps? Thank God for Hafiz and his cues, and his skillz, and for his assistance.

    Peace,
    Ka

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Smiling. This is brilliant. I’ve been in a bit of a cage myself lately. Nothing like resistance to what is, and being told not to go outside after dark to get You Could Still Die Badly running around in my world. As for I Wouldn’t Do That – it’s too late so I’m doing my best to focus on its morphing into Every Good Thing. It’s working 🙂 I Might Be Good Enough!
    Alison xox

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Alison! I can see how being warned not to go outside after dark could get Die Badly rousted up pretty quickly. Good thinking though, on Every Good Thing! And you are Definitely Good Enough! Hope you get out of the cage soon. They seem to drop down from the ceiling once in a while, and then later depart. These are the rhythms of our lingering uncertainties… I think I read somewhere on your site that you and Don would be in one place for long enough to do some writing, and to stretch out a bit. Hope that is going well! Nothing worse than being in a steel cage with an unwritten writing project! ha!

      Love
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I wanted to know what happened during the black out. But I know sometimes things just happen, because who ever is helping us works in ways we don’t understand and You Better Be Careful and They Might get Mad At You transform to I’m Not Going to Live Like this Anymore and Your Perfect and Inevitable Destiny who come shining through! This could be a book. Can you imagine a movie? Oh, the costumes!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ha! I wanted to know, too, JoAnna! I think it (the black out) probably consisted of a small eternity that transpired in the blink of an eye– something involving thousands of lifetimes and one clear look from Hafiz at the right moment of willingness.

      The costumes would be spectacular!

      Blessings
      Michael

      Liked by 2 people

  13. This is quite brilliant Michael, truly, and aside from its comic sheen and philosophical astuteness, serves as a fine and clear reminder that it is always wise to know one’s enemies – not as enemy combatants, but as they are in themselves, which demands empathy, compassion and wisdom too of course. Fear is so often the limiting factor, as you portray so cleverly, and as I feel certain most of us here reading will know, it runs persistently at subtle levels, corrupting our best intentions and endeavors. Thankyou my friend; you have produced yet another exceptional piece of writing here, and I take much away from it, should the rules of the game permit it. _/\_

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hello Hariod! I have missed you this week. Almost wrote to be certain all is well. Then you arrive with wisdom flowering as ever. I agree with the perspicacity of fear. I feel that viscerally with frequency. It’s like cleaning up from an oil spill… I’m always finding strands of gunk, black threads tucked away where I swore I cleaned up real nice…

      The rules of the game not only permit but encourage take-aways! Turnovers are key to a successful defense. Sometimes the only remedy to fear is a full court press in which we give it no quarter. After I panic and throw the ball into the fourth row a few times, I realize I didn’t really have the plot down very well to begin with. It’s not just a basketball game… We’re all mixed up in something much more than that.

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, fear – something the mind is highly attuned to it seems. So timid is the dear thing, that even asking it to go to sleep whilst our physical senses remain awake sets its neurotic anxiety off. What is so frightening to it about dwelling in a vacuum* – any ideas?

        *Not a cleaning device – do you Americans call them ‘vacuums’, or have I lost you?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hariod,

          I’m a scientist of course, so in order of precedence I think of a vacuum as, first, an endless expanse of nothing whatsoever that is filled with a boiling froth of light, and then second, a poorly conceived apparatus best-suited for filling the local void with choking clouds of dust. 🙂

          Michael

          Liked by 1 person

        • And I think fear represents the inner awareness that one has hitched his or her wagon to something that isn’t true, and thus can’t be sustained. So, what it fears is becoming the vacuum itself, and losing itself entirely… The threat of annihilation can cause even the staunchest of bravado-laden existentialists to buckle.

          Liked by 1 person

          • That sounds about right. I used to feel as though falling asleep whilst remaining awake – i.e being in the Dyson – was like jumping off a cliff edge. I may be mixing my metaphors here a little too liberally, but you get my drift – whoops, there’s another one.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Awesome Stories 259 | writing to freedom

  15. I was thrown in that cage this last week with the following well-known characters playing dirty tricks on me: 1. I-Thought-I-Had-This-Figured-Out; 2. Why-won’t-you-see-things-the-way-I-do; 3. How-dare-you-tell-me-what-to-do. There is a time-out for now, but the next round is coming – soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Annette,

      It sounds like they’re ganging up on you! These wrestling things do have quite a hard time abiding by the rules. I recommend you call in the Big Guns: This Isn’t What I Think It Is; I Baked You a Pie; and You’re Not in Kansas Anymore.

      Truly, I wish you peace in this encounter. I had a pretty challenging conversation a week or so ago in which this person and I departed on quite wobbly and uncertain footing. But after a bit of time and reflection it worked out beautifully and led to somewhere truly good. I wish you that…

      Peace
      Michael

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Michael, what brilliant writing! I love the cast of characters and I seem to think they have made cameo guest appearances in my life. Great fun to sit back and watch them perform – as they tend to do. Peace, Harlon

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes, Harlon, they are performers all! Brilliantly true to their names, until they assume a new one and flip on a different costume! I think we’ve all met them at one time or another. What strange characters inhabit our waking lives! Ha!

      Peace
      Michael

      Like

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