Tornado

Well, I made it. I’ve faced all manner of whirlwind and danger to arrive, and here I am, standing perfectly in the middle of a small circle, an island in the eye of the hurricane. Here there is only perfect stillness and peace. Here all is quiet and serene.

Outside, well… that’s another matter. Outside reigns confusion, outside the world is spinning in a kind of distorted frenzy, teetering crazily up and down, the air choked with flying bullets, tomatoes, dust, turds. If I even crane my neck slightly and tilt my head out of the safe zone, towards any story of future or past, I risk being swept back into the fray. Then it’s touch and go. At the very least, if I do make it back to this safe haven, I’ll be covered in mess and confusion.

So I’m holding strong in my 2×2 foot square, my mind still as a rock, then something strange happens. Someone asks me how I’m doing.

“Don’t do it,” I hear myself saying, “pretend not to hear them.”

Because to find out how I’m doing, I’m going to have to step outside of my island. I’ll have to venture outside, just to see where I am. It’s like the uncertainty principle in quantum physics – you can either know a) where an atom is, as a point in space–but not in which direction it’s heading, or b) you can see it as a wave–you see the direction it’s moving in–but you can’t say where along the wave the point actually lies. You can’t know both.

So I can know that I am sitting in the present moment, but I can’t find out where I am. And that makes it hard for me to find myself, because we almost always define ourselves in terms of direction (career, relationships, etc.).

Most incredibly – and don’t tell anyone I told you this – from inside that circle, it really no longer matters where I’m going, because all I had to do was get to this central place and then let the tornado guide me where it wants me to go.

Just don’t ask me how I’m doing.

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