Life is weird place to live. Just a few days ago, people were calling me negative — so many, in fact, that I began to believe I really was negative — and now people are calling me positive. Not those same people, of course. I haven’t talked to any of the first group in a while, and some I might never talk to again. Even if I were negative, being called negative creates negative vibrations, and I certainly don’t need any more of those in my life.
I’ve been making an effort to meet new people. I found out that the local Sierra Club does a conditioning walk three nights a week, and I’ve been walking with them, which has been fun. It’s a great activity for introverts and designated listeners since everyone gets a chance to talk. (In most of my friendships, I’m the listener, whether I want to be or not.) Although we walk fast (three miles in an hour or less), it’s a social occasion, and the adrenaline and blood rush keeps us all in good spirits. The walkers are wonderful people, interesting and supportive of one another. And they think I’m upbeat, have a good attitude, am interesting. It does my ego good, though I’m sure the truth of me lies halfway between the two extremes of positive and negative.
Overall, the first group of people seemed more unhappy than this second group, and both groups were seeing themselves reflected in me and I was reflecting off them, like one of those mirrored illusions in a fun house where you see yourself reflected endlessly. If you see a thousand images of yourself, which one do you choose as the real image? Maybe all are real in one way or another. Our bodied selves might be an illusion, too. Maybe the person we see in a single mirror is but one of our myriad images that we choose to inhabit for that moment.
A better analogy might be the energy between two points. An idea, for example, doesn’t exist in our neurons but in the energy zinging between the neurons. Maybe whoever we are at a given moment are the personas we and the people around us create in the energy zinging between us.
When we are in love with someone, often we love who we are when we are with that someone. We love the persons we create between us. (This could be why the death of one’s mate is so devastating — among all the other horrors and gifts of grief, we truly do have to deal with the loss of ourselves.)
Hmm. I’ll have to think about all this. Are we really so fluid? Are we simply bodies of energy that flow around and through all we encounter, changing and being changed with every brush with another creature? If there is nothing immutable at rock bottom, then life really is a weird place to live.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.