Renewable energies

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“He experienced the singular pleasure of watching people he loved fall in love with other people he loved.” –A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara

Going through life … evaluating all along, sometimes it takes many years to come face to face with the realities of the things you have done, the people you have hurt, the people you have left behind, the people who left you behind, the unfinished friendships, the unspoken words. Looking backwards there are so many missteps, misdeeds that cannot be taken back or redone. Yet, how we choose to live each day now – and how we choose to treat others – can perhaps be a form of renewal. We can generate a field of human renewable energy through our actions. (Never mind my telling someone that a hard-on is also a renewable energy.)

Yes, we can focus our full attention on the person in front of us. No devices, no distractions and no treating them more generally as though they are generic distractions from our otherwise busy and all-consuming lives. I try very hard to practice this, not always successfully. But it sucks to be a distraction to someone. On both sides of that equation: both in being the distraction, feeling that we are taking them away from something and in being the distracted, that feeling that we are just using someone else to pass the time or escape whatever is happening in our life. The worst part is: we are all so distracted on a regular basis that we don’t even realize we are doing this.

We each have our own version of these distractions. People we call when we’re bored, for example. People we meet because there is some lull between activities or significant events. We often cannot discern who our own distractions are unless they are actively making demands of us, acting in their capacity as the distraction who is bothering us, not when we seek them out to pass our otherwise unfilled time.

Life, though, is one of the few things that cannot be renewed. Yes, we can renew our hard-ons. We can renew our commitments to treating everyone we engage with with courtesy and compassion. We can renew our sense of humanity. We can be spontaneous. And, most of all, we can keep renewing love and enjoy how it multiplies. I keep writing about jealousy and possessiveness. How bitter people become when they try to tether and limit love, closing themselves and those closest to them off from the possibilities they each have. Opening up to these possibilities is one of the most renewable energies of all.

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