Room #Zero

Written last night in my aptly numbered room...zero: Everyone thinks that I am so strong to be here, in India, by myself. But it feels like anything but strength that keeps me here. It's pride...and some unknowable obligation that I have constructed for myself. As though fumbling my way through a third world country will miraculously cure this deep sadness that has been ailing me. As though losing myself in the midst of fellow backpackers will magically make me feel whole again.

It's odd...but I feel like I've hit bottom...like I'm confronted with the uncomfortable truth and, rather than struggling against it or thrashing about in protest, I find myself, for the first time...simply giving in...

I feel strangely calm...even though I really don't fancy the person I've been walking around inside of...I don't feel proud of the act I have been so haphazardly playing out...the face I have worn...the mask I have flaunted as 'myself'...trying to pretend that I am strong and clever and fearless....trying to convince myself that I am giving when really, I am taking...deluding myself into believing that my intentions are wholesome...that I am giving without conditions...that I have no expectations of those who I throw myself so intensely at.

The truth is that I am empty....I've been empty for a long, long time. I have tried to fill myself by 'giving' an illusory love that I don't even have for myself...trying to share an increasingly hollow space. Discovering ...over and over again...that such desperation only makes me more depleted...only pushes people away, making me ever more lonely at the very deepest level.

So...here I am...splayed out on this filthy, shit-covered stone...my imaginary flight coming to a definite, crashing end...landing, not so soft. So...maybe my 'self' is a strewn mess of splintered pieces...and maybe the frail, terrified truth that has been hiding inside me, wearing this 'Zipporah' suit, is exposed in all its glaring nakedness...but something is left to observe the mess it is in. Some part is still breathing...broken and destroyed, pulled apart...but still a faint pulse is beating. I've burned my house down to the ground to make space for the simplest, most pure truth to break soil...cleared out...emptied beyond a capacity to refill...vessel dried out and cracked open...drained to less than nothing.

I have nothing. I AM nothing. I cannot give what I do not have...cannot share a hollow, vacuous space.

Yes...some death has befallen me...some destruction that I have fought and feared and struggled against. But within this end, some tiny glimmer of some 'thing' remains...the smallest hint of a possibility for rebirth.

I accept....this hollow nothingness. I have nothing to hide behind...nothing left to hide within...nothing within to conceal or disguise...'I' am exposed.

Look...my existence is but a self-spun story...crafted to protect some imagined, shameful deficiency...sewn cleverly together with pretense...expertly strung together like so much poetry...each, descriptive word strategically placed to hide some piece of the void underneath...growing weaker with each retelling... wearing thinner with each replayed lie. Revising...redrafting...patching holes with new faces...new places...growing heavier with each, desperate stitch...labouring under the weight of denial...delusion.

I've been painting over the cracks and chips and inviting the world in, as though the space within is warm and fresh and pleasant...luring people with clever, charming masks...knowing the truth would eventually betray 'me'. And, as has happened more times than I can count, those who fall for my bait know they've been duped as soon as they get too close. Upon deeper inspection, they see that the walls are dingy...that repairs were made in haste, with desperation, hoping that some unknowing victim would move in and fill the emptiness. And, always...they recoil and retract...repulsed by the 'me' they discover in place of the pretty picture they were sold. They withdraw so quickly...extracting as much of their energy as they can before I consume it completely...discarding the hollow shell they bit into believing it was solid chocolate.

So...here I am again...tossed aside with distaste...pushed away with a disappointed shudder...crumpled in an appropriate nest of garbage and cowshit and clay. So many times I have found myself here...but never before have I felt so grateful to be in this precise spot...to be so confronted with the ugly truth and find that I'm ok here...that, perhaps, I need to take a good, hard look at myself and my surroundings and finally learn what it means to LET GO...to live in truth. Even if that truth is far less than pretty. Even if it requires that I hang out here for a while...alone and dirty...broken again and exposed...without hoping or looking to be rescued.

Here I am...here I am not. I am NOTHING...I am nowhere. I have nowhere left to run to...no more stories to tell...I'm all out of patchwork fixes. I have nowhere left to go but inside...straight into the emptiness...right to the very heart of the space that I have so feared...directly into the belly of loneliness. With a deep breath...calm resignation...no more protesting. No more lies. No more pretending....

.....I surrender.......

Written this morning on a quiet rooftop:

Everything looks different this morning...like a vibrant painting unfolding around me...smoothing itself into view. Birds in rippling, rhythmic patterns play in the morning wind...the golden globe of a rising sun highlighting their winged edges...crisp air bringing my awareness to this spot...breathing in a new day.

Little did I sleep last night, but nary did I worry. I lay in silence...dissolving...succumbing...settling into nothingness...sitting with my own discomfort...giving in to it...feeling the depth of my sorrow. Facing it without pride...allowing 'myself' to be utterly lost...inviting disillusionment.

I watched a vision unfold...lucid and aware...my own, slow-motion approach...a petal strewn aisle...bare feet gently stepping...naked body walking. Glowing casket, half open before me...feet pausing as they reach its edge...right arm slowly lifting...tulips placed with care...resting upon folded hands...my 'self' laying peacefully...an empty shell...a collection of ideas tucked around its edges.

Gazing upon what was...contemplating my own demise...owning it...accepting responsibility for the failures of this life...exhaling...saying a silent goodbye. 3 soft steps backwards...quiet pivot...walking away...into the dark unknown...laying down naked at its center...disintegrating...asking to be shown the way.

Admitting defeat...letting go completely...clearing out...becoming breath.

Inhale....exhale...inhale...taking comfort in this forever changing loop...tracing a circle in calm repetition.

Out...in...out...coming to understand that outside is inside and inside is everything...a perfect circle...round and empty and full....closed and open....filling up and spilling out.

Dieing and re-birthing each moment...meeting my own end and greeting a new beginning...in a dark space...punctuated by the whimpering and howling of Varanasi dogs...

Dead and newborn in room zero...