so the thing with today, part 1
is that it’s an identity shift for some in washington and, depending on a few thousand people in virginia and montana, a bigger one than most of us expected a few weeks ago.
it reminds me of a conversation i had last night watching results in a bar filled with periodic outbursts of applause and cheering when one or the other team scored a point. the cnn set, i noticed, was set up like a sports show and jeopardy combined.
over the noise, i was talk-shouting with a former washingtonian who observed that my living here longer than a few years was atypical, since most people don’t want to do it. he said that, to him, dc had no soul, that it was unclear which neighborhood you were ever in (as compared with new york city, where he lives now), and that’s why he couldn’t live here for very long. my inference is that he felt dis-identified here, unincluded and a little lost, wandering around and wondering, on some level, where his peeps, his real community, actually were.
my conversation with this nice guy, whose intention wasn’t to slam dc, got me thinking. my first reaction in that moment in the bar was to feel a pit in my stomach, as though i were dc and also have no soul. i felt terrible then, because i desperately want to believe i have a soul, and i don’t want to acknowledge a soulless reality in myself.
in that moment of reaction, i allowed the objective experience of dc (dc is just a thing, a concept in our minds) to influence my subjective experience of it. i thought, oh, you’re right, dc has no soul and i therefore have no soul because i live here and the soullessness of dc has become part of me. as important, my yucky feeling smacked of my own denial that his observation, in fact, does have some truth. in yoga, all observations have truth, and it was damn difficult yogic work to feel a connection not just with him but with all experiences of soullessness in dc. Or anywhere.
in the light of a rainy day, i thought about three things:
1) holy (indian) cow! i have self-confidence issues!
2) my free-radical theory of dc. i believe there are pockets of very interesting, soulful, and mindful people floating all over town, but their groups either aren’t big enough, or soulfully connected enough (!), or something, which prevents them from finding each other and discovering and believing in their own ability to gather some girth and influence as it does in fact happen in culture and community all over the world. Many people remain free-radicals blobbing around in an extremely interesting, educated, and well-meaning small, east-coast town. And then they move.
3) black residents of dc. i wondered what they would say about this soulless business.
Talk about perspective, right?