Letter To A Lost Love (Never Sent)

by Tony Bennett


Dear S:

After talking to you on Wednesday, I was again left not understanding you or what it is now that you want. Why do you treat me with such hate? I tried to explain to you that Iíve forgiven you and within forgiving you, understand that Iíve also had to forgive myself for things that Iíve also done. But within this, I still wanted to have a friendship with you. If this isnít what you want you should just say so. My relationship with you and Sean was/is not one that I ever wanted to end, you ended that. But, my link to Sean is one that I donít ever want to end. It has been unfortunate that my travels have caused some distance between me and the son that I love dearly; but I will say this the only way I can and that is to write you and let you and him know how my life now works. Thereís a flat way of seeing; I know it well. I live with it most of the day. And thereís a spiritual way of seeing which comes to me suddenly and when it does that day is rare.

With this new vision I can see the innocence woven through all men and things, as though a shift of light had fallen across treasured objects in a forgotten closet, and for a moment I live with the vision and all things around me are changed. I associate this spiritual way of seeing with many causes: with music and poetry, with sunsets and seas, with friends who are friends, with love and now a then with a book or passage within a book. Mostly with God. These things have at times inspired me to this broader vision, but rarely have I been able to return and use one of them to recapture it. If I try, the poem or song will have lost its magic, and I only receive and echo of my previous wonder. Sometimes I doubt and sometimes I believe. And I like not making myself believe when Iím doubting, and not making myself doubt when Iím believing. Surely neither God nor Man need my consistency.

When I write the characters that Iíve thought of in my mind, the time and space that Iím in influence me. I reach out for them and they become real. The story or poem takes a new direction --- I influencing it as it influences me. I start to do one thing and something else happens "to divert me". I resent the influence and try to go back to my original intention; but I am influenced, ever influenced. I do not live in a vacuum together with my intentions. I am a relationship. I walk down the street and feel a sudden burst of warmth from the sun: I stop and bask my eyes. I get a letter or a phone call, a knowing look from someone and I am no longer the same. What I just was doesnít quite apply. What I just intended is in the past. This is not a lack of resolve, it is the way life flows: always a new story or poem, always a new me.

 

I am more a mind than a body, more of a body than a feeling, more a feeling than a memory, more a memory than a future? Sometimes Iím all anger and sometimes all peace. There are minutes I live for tomorrow and minutes I live for the moment. In last nightís hot bed, I was flesh and afterwards I was soul. But most moments, Iím not just a body, or a mind, and when I am at peace with this reality and my intellect does not override my flesh and my here does not deny my tomorrow, when emotions and memories an all the et cetera of my being; each has its voice, I can see that Iím how everyone else is and possibly even how everything isÖ Cause and; effect have no stopping point. Everything I do touches everything else. Since I have become more willing to express my displeasures I notice that I have started crossing my Tís.

And somehow this is related to the comment I made recently to a friend, "She liked me until I didnít give her her way." All of this appears to accompany my new posture: I no longer hold my head down; and I suspect there are a thousand connections. I do not see growth as a procedure which locates "the real me"; I look at it more as a process whereby I become aware of other aspects of myself which are equally as "real" as the familiar me. Iím always "being real" to some part of my personality and at that moment not "being real" to other parts. In this sense I am always acting, always choosing to act "not in touch." Everyone is in touch with something. There is the state of being "out of touch." Out of touch with areas of my body, with nature, with other people, with other aspects of my personality, with God.

And there is such a state as being stuck in what Iím in touch with. Much of my life Iíve tried to be a giving, caring person if little else and this I thought was true of most people and you, but it isnít: they stay pretty much within one chamber of there being. My attitude towards much of life is habitual. I have a fairly consistent telephone personality, a different, but predictable part personality and I make about the same kind of supermarket customer every time. I am in approximately the same mood each time I brush my teeth, run an errand, meet someone or take a crap. I pick out what Iím going to wear beginning with my shirt, seldom with my pants, and I shave starting with my chin. I never jump with joy in the shower or act silly while driving. Iím mildly good humored when I wake up and never precipitously go to bed. All of these attitudes feel "right" and veering from them feels "phony."

For ten years with you Iíd hidden these feelings trying to give you my utmost care and attention, which was never resipitated. I guess it could be said that I am being "genuine," but genuinely what? I felt as though I was slowly dying over the last five or six years, my life for the first time, was in a rut. I allowed you, things and people to take control of it instead of taking control of it myself. But, now my attitude towards a spiritual ritual is more affirmative. In order to break with the habits that I have over time I first had to become aware of how I would usually act. I had to see how I did things before I could undo them. At that time, I was not aware of how I shut down my attention or held back my warmth.

Now, this time I spend allows me to become a more real person, back to were I once was in life. I think of the process of "being real" as the shuttling of my attention between a feeling and an appearance, between inside and acting-out. But "being-real" does not mean that I am only allowed to shuttle between my behavior strongest feelings. My behavior can match whatever in me I wish it to match. "Being real" is simply being aware of what my actions do in fact match. To think that I must always behave in accord with what I feel most is self-reduction, whereas at any moment I am free to act on any dimly felt and long-neglected part of me: to be a ham, to be strong, to flirt, to cry, to be total silly, to dance, to play peek-a-boo or stick out my tongue. And if this feels phony because it has been so long since I have responded to this in me, still it is not phony; it is I. If I hold back any part of me, as Iíve done in the past, I suppress that much energy and potential.

The question that I ask myself now is not what behavior is "good or bad," but in what ways would I express these traits honestly, they might ripen into something full-favored and whole. For months I have been fighting my nice-guy game, but today I consciously use it. I take responsibility of all my actions. On your birthday, I thought, "Iíd spent many of them with you over the last 20 some odd years and Iíd seen many of your actions during these times, and now this; whatever it is brings me much pain. Your ideas or thoughts about me my have changed to suit this person that you now are, but the you and the I that we both loved for years still remain. Iím not sure if I have changed either. I know that Ií a little more aware of the people around me, that I associate with, time and people were using me up at a faster rate than I could replenish the energy that I needed for me and mine.

I have become a little more aware of peopleís feelings, nature, more aware of my own needs; but thatís not really "change", itís more of an "return." A return to person Iíd longed for for so many years. And I also know that Iím a little more tolerant of the way I am and of the way others are (those two things usually go together). Iíd spent an inordinate amount of time looking for something to do, looking for ways to become whole, when all the while my organism, God, is ticking away and all I need to do is stay with the rhythm. Heís made me understand that a problem doesnít have to be thought about in order to be solved. The paradox of my progress is that I grow each time I realize that I can only be where I am. My growth does not seem to be a matter of learning new lessons, but of learning the old ones again and again. The wisdom doesnít change only the situations.

Another kind of "being in touch:" being in touch with the situation and knowing when enough is enough. Events are not controlled by my will. It is irrelevant how I want things to go; the question, how are things going? I want things to work out for and between you and Sean, but I donít think I have to be a part of your lives to remain "in touch." But behind all these feelings and thoughts you and he remain dear to my heart. My desire for you all in my life is real and always at the forefront of my mind no matter were in the world I am. Surely this must be an ancient proverb: If the situation is killing you, get the hell out. But how can I, I still love you both.

 

Problems donít choose me. "Me against you," "Me against it" comes with my having a path and you not understanding that. But life is not the single lane. All the lanes are in me. I can look back now a see how so many of my difficulties resulted from the one-eyed way I chose to march. How I am working on a problem often indicate how I am keeping it a problem. So often Iíd wrestle with myself over how I want to feel instead of trying to discover how I really feel. Until today I didnít realize how powerful I really Iím. "I feel apprehensive. No, apprehensive is an interpretation. What I feel is a sensation. Life, FreedomÖ A little something I thought of while writing the letter:

 

What should I do?

NothingÖ

Nothing is the thing to do

(Nothing is the only doing)

I am worthwhile just existing

(Just? OK, Iím worthwhile existing)

What if the stars would start doing something?

What are you doing hummingbird?

Oh is that all

As soon as I start doing, I stop being

"I donít understand how you do so little"

Now thatís a compliment

 

Tony


Letter To A Lost Love (Never Sent) by Tony Bennett

© Copyright 2000. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.


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