Sunday, March 22, 2009

Living with ?????

For years now, I've had a secret friend, who lives in the cabinet in my office, sitting on top of a bin of paper clips. He's rotund, shiny, black and plastic. When I'm agitated or curious, I turn him over and see what he has to say.

My least favorite answers are "Concentrate and Ask Again" and "My Reply is No." Much, much better is "You May Rely on It" and "YES" in resounding capital letters. If I've asked the same question over and over and over, essentially demanding a positive response, the YES feels as if he's saying, "Enough already!"

Like throwing chicken bones or casting lots, reading my friend's bright white words on a ghostly blue cube connects me, in some strange way, with the un-manifested, with what is yet to be. While Rilke has said that it's more important to live the questions than to have the answers, my plastic, fantastic, magical friend comforts me. Especially since I practice patience (or is it obsession?) in searching for my answers.

A teacher once told me that our needing to know is a kind of addiction, a part of human nature that seems emphatically expressed in Western culture. When we don't know, when we take those leaps of faith, we can plunge ourselves into considerable discomfort. It would be so nice to be certain that we are "right," that the outcome of our actions will be good, enhance our lives, make us better people.

I've known precious few individuals who have that elusive, rock-solid certainty about what they're doing in Life. Those who go directly from point A to point B, in their personal and professional lives, who laugh at horoscopes, and would never dream of having an emotional response to a fortune-telling toy. I wish I was like them and I detest them, simultaneously!

There is a freedom to be found in laughter. My friend's gift to me is that I feel lighter in the goofy process of consulting him. Originally marketed in 1946 as the "Syco-Seer" he's about as silly as a fortune cookie and only slightly more complex than tossing a coin. But his predictions can be profoundly satisfying. At turning points in my life, I generally ask the Universe, again and again and again, in a variety of ways. Then, when I (finally!) act, at least I feel like I've covered my bases.

But then, my most favorite answer is Ilsa's in Casablanca, in 1940's Paris: "There's only one answer to all our questions," she coos in her satin dressing gown, as she plants a big wet one on Rick, and they melt into each other's arms.


Mattel's Magic 8 Ball: Does it hold the Answers?

3 comments:

Lisa G. said...

I love this! I love you!

I'm considering this post a personal invitation to give up all my damn planning for a damn minute, starting now. I hope I am NEVER a person who couldn't dream of having an emotional response to a magic 8 ball.

bigsurkate said...

Serendipity. I just watched Casablanca for the 100th time last night. So many great lines in that movie.

For me, it is Tarot cards, random lines in a book, Medicine Cards, or whatever is handy -- sometimes the lines in a movie.

Going out wildflower hunting today!

bigsurkate said...

Serendipity. I just watched Casablanca for the 100th time last night. So many great lines in that movie.

For me, it is Tarot cards, random lines in a book, Medicine Cards, or whatever is handy -- sometimes the lines in a movie.

Going out wildflower hunting today!