Sunset on an old self

I’m in my car, sweaty after a day of working hard, and surrounded by a bunch of shit like a mobile hoarder with a windshield so cracked it’s a Rorschach blot. And it’s the night I start reclaiming my ankles from the bloat shit-eating (from lack of time) has attacked me with so I’m headed to some fruits and veggies to begin the process.

And as I pull into the Sugar House Whole Foods shopping center, Led Zeppelin talks to me of sex and texting that guy later and navigating my car around the corner of the parking lot, I see a family outside of Jamba Juice. Mom, dad, two kids, at a table, drinking their frozen juice together as the sun sets.

And I’m 13 years out from my divorce—my kids can’t even imagine I was ever married to their dad—yet while the two little Jamba Juice kids float around dad in his white shirt and crossed legs, leaning back in the chair as if owning all things, there we are. James and I. Taking part in this ritual of “quality time.” Going to Costco on the weekend, buying stuff we didn’t need, pretending we weren’t pretending, making every stupid little thing an event like we were just killing time. Enforcing planned interactions as if we’d forgotten how to be alive and normalizing incremental toxicity‘s—me sympathetically listening, wearing kid snot and no sleep, as he complains about his business dinner in France, etcetc—until I’m overweight and crying in the living room at 1 a.m., giving everything to smother emotional holes for the sake of some labels. “Husband”, “wife”, “married.” For the sake of a romantic dream some boring asshole made up as if it’s a holy symbol of stability to commit to 60 fucking years of trying to be the same.

And when you’re handed a bunch of shit from parents and magazines and TV, your loneliness feels like a personal flaw. Your fear is you not being brave enough.” Every unfulfilled need you speak up about is you being “too sensitive.” And blonde-haired blue-eyed good looks in white shirts have this world to themselves; charming the outside world because they know that shit sells. A dad as coiffed and overconfident as the patriarchy—unapologetically sucking oxygen out of a universe he doesn’t have to share—while mom long-steeped in her gender role as pacifist revolves around him like a planet dressed in clothes and calling him “honey.”

Thirteen years. Not long enough to forget that Mr. Coiffed then goes home to criticize every little thing that disturbs the sanctity of himself. Which ends up being the fish almondine I make for dinner and the girls’ happy squeals which are apparently way too loud for him to hear his Xbox.

And as I pass this family outside Jamba Juice, I see the past. I see the pain, the effort, how I never would’ve walked away and am so thankful he cheated and left.
For you don’t know life’s set up for salesmanship and brutality until you’re outside of what you bought. Until your stable family life, income, and sense of self-worth no longer rests upon making excuses for cruelty and narcissism.

Because marriage itself isn’t the sanctity of anything; the sanctity rests with the ideal to be better, more alive people because of it.

And as I sit in my car making my list, the sun looks like it’s resting. Like having Journeyed across our lives its holding position for one last look. Catching sight as it does of a 52 year old women who works too hard and sleeps too little—whose self-care is akin to a shot of whiskey while crying softly in a bathroom—in a filthy car with bloated ankles, blasting Led Zeppelin and 100% Life, and Panning out from a Jamba Juice scene to view a former self with a search light of the soul.

Realizing as she does that marriage doesn’t always make you more alive while you’re inside it; sometimes it makes you more alive in the parking lot of Whole Foods on a June evening long after. 

From my “Me” page

I once read that “Om” is the sound that was made at the inception of the universe. That when the entirety of all things was somehow formed out of a void, Om was the vibrational emanation that erupted when the energy transferred from one state to another.

And “Om” is deceptive, for when said clearly, it’s actually three sounds, “A”, “U” and “M” and it’s in our haste to utter it as a cohesive unit that it often comes out–incorrectly–as only two.

And of course, to believe the universe made a sound at it’s “birth” is a story right there. The “big bang” is the current working theory explaining the universe’s known physical properties and it’s hard to imagine such a bang not making a sound but because the emptiness of space doesn’t carry “sound” (current science: except for gravitational waves) we would actually have to redefine sound in order to understand it. What can something say if it can’t be heard? Begging the question of the deep existential unknowings, asking who is the observer in this? Who is the one who hears? Is there a consciousness humans don’t have that experiences energy and light as it explodes into being? Questions which probe our growth, bringing us back to “Om” and the communion of heart. Where cross-legged on the floor we make space for the quiet, and in so doing, come to chant those three emanations from our voice box which no matter what the science or philosophy reveals is actually and truly the universe creating the sounds of itself.

The site title “Aimless” is a moniker I received from my AP Economics teacher Mr. Rosen at Aptos High School (CA) in front of a class of my peers–who didn’t know me except as the shy, new girl whose face turned red when she had to speak. The moniker which hit an emotional target that’s taken me over 30 years to fully understand. Because I was someone born looking for the deeper meaning. I read spiritual books at an early age, took religious studies courses as my “fun classes”, and purposely-geared my University of California, Davis psychology degree into the “pseudo-science” of what consciousness was, simply because I respected science enough to see that the full arc of its story is that science is ALWAYS in its infancy. So the description of being “Aimless” was not only an insult but a fear. For to be “Aimless” was like saying I’d never find the enlightenment the Buddha described, or walk the earth in love with humanity like Jesus. “Aimless” was someone ambling purposelessly along a road of meaninglessness, the glancing blows of love and experience barely reaching into the deepest significance of who I was and what I thought was possible. But now at 52 years old, I see things more clearly.

Because over the course of my life, I did feel aimless. I’ve lived in four states–moved in and out of towns and cities, and relationships. Became a single parent in 2007 after a savage divorce, went back to school for a masters degree in teaching and started a pet sitting business to supplement my income then graduated in 2011 into Life’s cosmic sense of humor where I didn’t get a job, experienced unemployment, financial hardship, the traumas of my beloved daughters, irreparable rifts with the unkind judgment of those I thought were family, and all the other full catastrophes (grief, fear, isolation, desperation) until I began to question the validity of a life which could deliver such experiences. Who cares about deeper meaning when things are so hard and why do I even want to be here for this cruel social experiment known as “humanity”?

But one night while sitting on the stairs of my former home–the wreckage of my life hitting with an incomparable loneliness–I somehow reached a stillness. And from that stillness I rose knowing that within the external circumstances of my life—within the hardship I was still actively engaged in— rests the opportunity to see the profound purity of the love I’ve offered this world. And that it is in fact the ego-less love any of us offer this world that is our only true possession–the only thing we ever get to keep– and is what turns back to speak to us on the carpeted back stairs of 1531 Garfield Avenue during the depths of our dark night of the soul.

And it wasn’t magic. It wasn’t some voice from the sky. It was my self, and my muscles, and one moment free of ego, showing me/us that love is bigger than Amy and her family, and her goals and her loneliness.

I currently live in Salt Lake City, UT (no; I’m not Mormon), was 52 on 10/1/2020, am a single parent of two girls (Julia, 22 and Livy, 20), a business owner/pet sitter, an animal lover, a teacher, a writer finding her voice, a devoted believer in the emotional freedom that comes with complete authenticity, and an aimless soul intent on expanding into the ever-changing self of a single second.

Because the search for a deeper meaning to life is actually an unsolvable logic puzzle unless we can find a way to not “be” anything. For you can’t be anything or go anywhere or see any truth until you find a way to be alive inside the peace and unity of just one moment. For that is the only meaning we ever truly are.

And such it is that all these years later, I bow to the wisdom of Mr. Rosen, the painful clarity of emotional targets, and the dark nights of the soul that forced me to explore the deeper significance of no thing and no self.

Beyond this site, I’m scattered around and nowhere. But here’s some more pics of my life. Thanks for coming by.

Aimless/Amy Palleson. (Permanently: TBD).

On this day’s sun

Stella this morning looking towards the sun, her position concealing the large open, untreatable tumor on her face that is the reason she is currently in hospice care.

Stella’s human is enduring a personal emergency and was called away from her girl but Stella is a cat that gets twice daily insulin, pain meds shot down her throat and painful cleaning/dressing her face wound then mere seconds after these insults, pulls herself back to center.  Sitting then with me on the slope of their driveway, watching squirrels perform their life on the roof across the street.    The silver lining to Stella’s pain is her very own self.

As she and I watched this morning, one of the squirrels parkour’d down from the roof of the tan building on the left and ran to the yard next door.  Then, standing up and looking around casually, surveyed the scene as if having decided that the vibes were real good.

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A few years ago, I had an experience with a kitty named Melman where I leaned down to him to tell him that I loved him, and he (uncharacteristically) started rolling around affectionately on his cat tree as if he knew exactly what I was saying.   So I added, to keep this thing going, “Do you know what love means?” intending to breezily describe to him–with a mini-channeling of melodic words–the answer.  For this is what I do for my life:   I love creatures for a living.  I come into their homes and listen to what they need to feel loved and safe.   I read the room, and vary my words and my vibe until I nail it.   But all at once, right there near Melman’s cat tree, I stood up and was speechless, unable to verbalize what I wanted to say.  What did “love” mean for me and for Melman?   How does the word or the vibes combine inside the body of an anxious orange introvert on a cat tree to where he rolls around in pleasure and I immediately want him to keep feeling that?  What makes that happen?

And I had nothing–could say nothing/said nothing–suddenly understood that “love” isn’t something words can make truth from.  And that “love” is so much bigger than me I can’t encapsulate what it is from within the limitations of myself.

So I left it alone, intending to just rest with the concept of it as it existed inside me until perhaps some day, from the brew of experiences—with self, daughters, animals, sunrises—I might have another go.

And for several years, I’ve done that.

This morning, as I looked up the driveway at Stella—her shadow reaching back towards me—the sunshine was like this Navajo folklore (pic).

My initial worry that her mom wouldn’t get back to see her before Stella’s end time has faded out from our visits together because animals aren’t like that. They don’t live where we do in that way.   They live in the sunshine of the Navajo, where each day it rises to be the most beautiful sun there ever was.  Where those squirrels jumping around in the gutters on the house across the street are the most entertaining thing she’s ever seen.

And as I made to leave her house after our visit, I walked up the street a bit towards my car and looked back to make sure she wasn’t following me.  And she was.  So I turned back, and sat with her again, in her sun.  

Then when I got to my car, the music from my speakers was saying “… it’s the same old story, all love and glory, it’s a pantomime; looking for love in a looking glass world is pretty hard to do.”  Mother of Pearl by Roxy Music.

And 2020 has been a year of potential disaster, and the trip wires were all set for me.  Financially starting back at square one; trying to find my way to other opportunities but doing so unwillingly, with a bank account to match.  And for a while this year, it felt personal.  As if all that work—all the struggle, all the sacrifices—was going to start over, and repeat.  Carving out a path of “this shit again?”, with all the players dancing around in convergence of a targeted apocalypse.

But the bigger truth about struggle is that the trauma can change you.  It can crack you open to where you know you have nothing to fucking lose but to start seeing yourself and the world you’ve created differently.

Because, in sitting with “what is love?” I’ve come to understand that love is everything.  Love is all of these words; it’s the struggle; the opportunity to see ourselves, to become, to reach around outside the barrenness so as to rise.  

And had these days not arrived, again, I wouldn’t have believed this to be true.

Yet from this shift of worlds, with no idea of my next step, I drove home from Stella’s house living inside a moment where the sun is only alive for one day.   For Love is growing and experiencing itself constantly from within us, and is a story we’ll never stop writing, nor would we want to.

Stella‘s mom got back several months later— it got really rough for Stella before she did—and said goodbye to Stella in the way we’re sometimes called to do.
This is Stella before her tumor. Stella, means star, like the sun.