© 2020 Drew T. Noll

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Rising from the Dust and So-called Reality


My First Art Studio
When I was young, I often thought to myself, "What is going on here; what is wrong with this world?" It seems to have taken 50 years to receive some kind of an answer... and the answer, as you might be guessing, didn't come easy, if it even exists at all. You see, I have spent my entire life 'tuning' into the frequencies of living, of Earth. That isn't to say that I 'did' tune in, but to say that I tried, day in and day out. This process of attempted tune started when I became an artist at the ripe age of 7, maybe 8, in Mr. Gillespie's class. He was a tall man, maybe even taller than my father, who was just about two meters high (6' 6"). Keep in mind that this was an informative and influential time for me. I had even kissed my first girl in the playground that year, albeit unknown to her and, actually, it was on the top of the head. Funny, well… never mind...

Anyways, in Mr. Gillespie's class, I was rewarded publically for a drawing that I had done. I still remember it. I took a magazine picture of an umbrella in the sand, cut it in half, and did a rendering of the missing piece on a piece of paper that I had glued the original half image to. That was the first of a few times in my career when I won first place in the class, school, or art competition. The funny thing, however, about Mr. Gillespie… is that one of my earliest memories of being physically and emotionally assaulted was as a result of him.

I was, you know, trying to keep my head above the 3rd grade social-maelstrom and was whispering to the kid next to me, someone that I 'really' wanted to like me… during a test; I just didn't know that Mr. Gillespie was right behind me. In the middle of that ultimate little ego connection, where' I' felt alive because someone else realized that 'I' existed, Mr. Gillespie rapped me on the top of the head with his bare knuckles, right on the same spot that I had kissed my first girl. The tears streamed down my face, not so much out of pain, although it hurt so much that even today I lose my cool when I hit my head, but out of a severe emotional jarring. And then the emotional jarring continued, as I receded away from so-called reality for the next 20 or so years. I publicly stopped crying...

It wasn't until I was traveling in Europe with a backpack, after leaving Sweden and some wonderful friends, that I walked into a restroom stall, threw down my pack, and bawled so loud that the entire train station must have heard. I'm sure they thought I was on drugs or something…  All that pain, all that anguish, of having to stuff every little thing down so deep that I couldn't even recognize it came tumbling out inside that toilet cubicle. I was certifiably insane, as the so-called standard of so-called reality goes; but, as life would have it, the eruption subdued and I then, surprisingly at the time, found myself feeling alive, like I hadn't felt in… maybe 20 years. I came out of that toilet stall with puffy eyes, red cheeks, and the determination I needed to carry on alone, with just me and the skeletal forthcoming of my inner awareness.

I have since put some meat on those bones, but not really enough to understand what is wrong with the world yet. What a mess… Bulgarian/Swedish antisemitic left-wing/Muslim international terrorism, Syrian chemically laced despotism and genocidal harbingers, Colorado intellectual psychotic breaks… dealing death and mayhem with a full hand of Jokers, and yet… there is something so wonderful about the world too. As I look back on these events, both personal and collective, they seemingly have shaped my life. If only someone could have told me how powerful those things would become. If only I could have known how to navigate the hurdles without all the backwash. I can't help but think about how it must have been for Moshe in the desert while speaking to the Israelites for the last time. In this week's parsha, Devarim (Deuteronomy 1:1-3:22), Moses begins to recount all that occurred in the previous 4 books – yeah, a blogger after my own heart. He is reiterating to the people all that had happened to them, where they failed and where they succeeded. Do you think that they listened? Moses was tuned in to the truth, but did anyone care, did anyone understand the gravity of it all, the inevitability of 'so-called' reality?

I had a vision the other day of what it would be like to be reborn out of the dust of the Earth, fresh and with a 'real' understanding of the truth of the world. It started with the remote awareness of 'other' that slowly becomes part of me. The other was not a whole, but an assortment of parts, of elements, kind of like molecules and atoms. As my awareness grew, within this cloud of particulates, the entire history of the world came racing across my consciousness. I still perceived it as 'other,' but it was getting closer now to me. Now… I can see the tragedy and the wonder and it all makes sense. I see the truth of it all; I regret having been the cause of the falsehood, of the meat that blocked out the light of the soul. Within this moment of regret, I painfully coalesce into a being that knows the truth of existence. I fall madly and hopelessly in complete love with it… and then, truly, I am One.

May we merit the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Temple and may it be 'speedily' in our days… Amen.

Shabbat Shalom!