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Ernst Ludwig Kirchner: Wrestlers in a Circus (1909)

"He who picks away at things … also makes progress."

I suppose that ambivalence amounts to the greatest sin. When I cannot go All In on something, I seem to fritter away my gifts, however modest. I divide then slowly conquer myself, undermining my best intentions. Still, as I explored during my Authoring series, being AllIn might resolve little all by itself, for it, too, seems to take a toll, though perhaps a tad more decisively. I am realizing that I'm NotAllIn on my current batch of efforts. This Reconning Series seems to lack a certain focus. Repainting The Villa has not proven to feel all that motivating, certainly not as energizing as I'd expected it to seem. This Spring, with the weather definitely not cooperating, I've managed to fall behind on almost everything I've tried initiating. I'm realizing that some significant something's been missing and I'm loathe to understand precisely what. I'm already sorry I brought this up.

I should start listing the standard lame excuses here, explaining how this present condition might not actually be my fault.
I could identify extenuating circumstances. I could liberate myself by merely casting myself as an unwitting victim, then I could prescribe the usual ounce of acceptance before hesitantly proceeding on my way. How about I don't do that? I might instead cast my current ambivalence as more feature than problem, insisting that it's more information than definition, its primary purpose, perhaps, was always just for me to notice its presence. Who knows what it might mean? It could mean anything I decide it means. I mean, it's probably not one of those laden messages from The Gods or anything. Ambivalence, perhaps above anything else, is simply just what it is, nothing else.

Ambivalence does, however, seem to encourage the creation of lame excuses. Why was I not up on the scaffolding early this morning? That's a hanging pitch right across the plate! Just let me count the probable causes. Which have I recently underused? It just will not do to endlessly repeat the same old reason when ten thousand perfectly serviceable alternate might come into play. What prevented me today? Of course it was the same cause as yesterday and also the day before. I was wallowing in my own NotAllIn-ness, my shining ambivalence. I was just not quite up to being myself today, so I listened to a serviceable new biography of Truman, who was rarely NotAllIn on anything, even when an ounce of sincere ambivalence might have better served him and his country.

The Muse and my twentieth wedding anniversary yesterday provided an opportunity for me to reflect upon those times before when I found myself AllIn on something. I've reinvented, recreated, and retread myself many times in my life, and I reflect just how blind I made myself whenever I decided to go AllIn on something. It never seemed to matter what, a similar blindness always showed up. I'd lose my peripheral vision, the one that smears and blends a laser focus. I'd fail to perceive the essential ambiguities which add depth and meaning to pretty much everything. I'd become awfully shallow myself, forward focused while losing my past and a shadowy presence, barely even visiting my present. I started thinking about all my constituent parts which lose attention whenever I'm AllIn focused on anything.

While I still suppose that ambivalence amounts to the greatest sin, even greatest sins tend in to track some blessing with them. My ambivalence spreads my meager energy along a broader front. Nothing might get done, but more receives at least some attention. Twisting in the wind of my own making, I'm probably more present. I'm hardly entranced, definitely not absent, painfully aware of my abject humanness. I'm NotAllIn right now, but it does not necessarily follow that I consequently must be all out. I might be in just far enough, just about where I should be, regardless of how it might feel. He who picks away at things while wrestling with himself also makes progress.

©2022 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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