A Moment of Clarity


For Writers Island prompt:  Clarity

When I hear the word clarity, a very clear image comes to mind. That of a bird of prey: an eagle, hawk, or an owl. Creatures who move swiftly through the air at speeds that would blur human eyesight, causing tears, that would certainly obstruct not only our ability to see, but also to maintain such movement. They see what we can not: the silver flash of a fish in moving water, the scurrying path of a wee small mouse through dense grass in the darkness after midnight. Not only do they see it clearly, they immediately dive to obtain it, using every muscle and skill they own to point their entire being at solid ground, or fast moving water, in order to capture what they need to continue to survive. They own that moment of clarity. And do that day after day after day.

Since the first day of this current month, I have been participating in an exercise of writing one clear observation each day. Doesn’t sound all that difficult does it? It is based on a daily Zen practice of observation, and no, it isn’t easy. Because, for the most part, we don’t see clearly for much of our existence. We see the familiar, and because it is familiar, we don’t actually see it: observe it as separate from ourselves, existing apart from us, and doing that without our permission, lol.

I have been reading another Dean Koontz book. Rereading it, actually. I know I’ve read it before because I keep running across things I’ve underlined. Yet, I don’t remember the story much past the opening chapter. After that it is all new to me. That takes me totally by surprise because I have what is called ‘recall.’

When I read anything, if it speaks to me, I can remember it. I used it this morning, when I went in search of something I read last night. I knew what portion of the book it was in, and also knew which side of the two pages it was located on, as well as how far down that page it could be found. It took only two or three minutes of swift skimming to find it. I hadn’t underlined it when reading it the previous evening.

But, that aspect of recall fades quickly, sometimes within days, other times a week or two. All depending on how much of an impression was made the first time around, and how much I want or need to go back to that place of original contact. Recall is, perhaps, a close cousin to a photographic memory, when an individual can recall in vivid precise detail something seen somewhere in the past, and can them repeat it word for word, or describe it with a clear dimensional perspective.

Recall simply means I have a fairly reliable memory, not infallible, but reliable in a general manner. And because I am a writer, I more often than not, remember specific words of even long ago conversations, depending on how well I was paying attention, or how those words impacted me in that moment. Which, in turn, means that I have had many moments of clarity that remain vivid within me and can be recalled time and again, often in clear and sharply defined detail.

What is interesting to me, in this present moment, is that I am aware of having read this book previously. Clearly remember the details of that opening chapter, but after that it all becomes vague, or worse, brand new when it shouldn’t be. I can’t remember when I read the book, or where I must have been while doing so. The book has been on my shelf for years, and no, I don’t know how many. Just know that I have seen it there, often and simply knew I had read it in the past at some time. Also knew when I picked it up a few days ago, I didn’t have a clue what was in it, or what it was about.

What I do know, as I am reading it now, is that I wasn’t ready for what I am finding this time. I enjoyed it last time, even underlined a few things, but it was merely entertainment. This time, it is speaking directly to me and in this place I am in. This time, I am diving into it, with all senses alert, aimed at finding the nurture I need to survive. It is a moment of clarity. Many of them, as a matter of fact.

Example: One of the main characters, in the book, is described very early on. Not just a physical description, but a very close examination of her emotional and mental state which has shaped her personality. Three sentences into a description of that personality, I wanted to get up, walk away, even go outside in below freezing weather, something I don’t do unless there is a specific need for such activity. Needless to say, there was no such need, but the impulse was undeniable.

I was looking at me, my own person over thirty years ago. I understood every single word, knew the feelings, in and out, and it wasn’t a pretty or happy picture. It made me squirm, made me want to seek fresh air, even at the risk of freezing my tush in the process. I didn’t do that. I continued to read. I picked up a pen and underlined every one of those words. Then read them aloud to my daughter. I didn’t want to forget them, and I won’t.

I failed to see them the last time I read the book. I didn’t want to see them, wasn’t ready to be quite that honest or clear. I love synchronicity. I have spent three weeks writing out a daily observation, putting on the practice of seeing clearly, one thing a day. And today, see myself more clearly than ever before. See and know where I was before, and how and why that differs from what I see and know in this moment.

I am the eagle and the hawk, moving through the air of my existence, looking for that which allows me to survive. I am the owl, looking through darkness and finding what I need. And I am grateful for all of these things. This moment of clarity that I chose to miss the last time around has come back graciously, to show me the next step in my path.


About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: http://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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16 Responses to A Moment of Clarity

  1. Great post. These moments of clarity, don’t come often. For me they have come at times of crisis. Perhaps it is about survival, as you say, and all systems are alert. Thanks for your walking with me, as I continue to seek “clarity.”

    • 1sojournal says:

      Annell, you have to know that you are a huge part of that clarity. We can see a thing, but still not understand, even while knowing it is important. That’s when a friend comes along, says a few words, asks a couple of questions, and suddenly the clarity expands and moves freely through the whole system. So, thank you my friend,


  2. Interesting post. I guess it shows that our views of people, reality and ourselves change as our life changes. And sometimes we are just not ready for, and do not notice, what comes at a particular time.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Actually, I just reread it and realized it might be about how we choose our moments of clarity, denying some, reaching for others, being totally startled by still more. Thanks Anthony, your visits are always welcomed,


  3. vivinfrance says:

    I understand and share your experience in re-reading. I also share your ability to find a piece of text by position on the page. My memory plays tricks on me these days, but I can usually find something that is lost by a clear picture in my head of the situation. My book memories are more emotion oriented than exact, though. Much less clarity, as – like you – the same emotions don’t always return on re-reading.
    A very interesting post, Elizabeth. Thank you.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Viv, actually that ability to find material after the fact, stood me in very good stead while in college. I use it know to verify, more than anything. And you are so right about the emotional effect on the results of doing so.


  4. pamela says:

    Elizabeth, I love the last paragraph of this writing.
    I have felt that way just over the past few years.
    As for having excellent recall or a photographic memory,
    I sometimes believe it to be a curse.
    I can run through conversations or situations
    that occurred years ago and they still haunt me.
    Remembering everything right down to the smallest
    details, colors, clothing, setting, words, intonation etc …
    Blessing or a curse, what do you think?

    • 1sojournal says:

      Blessing, definitely. You’ve just explained what I marvel about in your poetry, that sense of detail, emotional and physical levels of it, line after line. That other side of it, of which you speak, can be a blessing as well. It allows for a grounding in oneself and makes it possible to find resolution and even, on occasion, the ability to change the end of the story.

      Was actually going to make some comments about that when I was writing the piece. Decided it might take me off in a direction other than the one I was already following. Thanks for bringing it up and letting me have my say, anyway, lol. Love it when that happens. Thanks Pamela,


  5. David King says:

    I relate very easily to this. I am a great re-reader and believe that what we take from a work is influenced by all manner of constantly changing variables. Even in a short time the impact of a work can change.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Yes, David, when I went back to that piece I mention searching for, it said what I thought it said, but not quite in the manner I had thought. I was actually thinking of using it as a quote here, but it wouldn’t have worked easily. But, going back reminded me of something else that was just as important, so it was worth that second effort.

      Thank you, and Welcome,


  6. Reflections says:

    Wow…. I can so relate to this, the need for clarity, the recall of things, iincluding the finding of the words on a page… and yes, the re-reading of a book, not recognizing much, but a few glimpses throughout of a page or paragraph being familiar, yet the rest seeming brand new. These moments of clarity that you are seeking in your zen exercises come to me, in the quieter moments, eras typically following life changing events: first is the blur of all the change, then in seeking direction, I find myself searching the world around me for moments as clear as the eagle or hawks vision and depth of simple moments. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed this one.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Reflections. My moments of clarity are often followed by memories, and bits of present day synchronicity as the meanings unfold. Like you said, that moment of clarity is a blur, then comes the deeper process of sorthing this from that and a deep sense that the Universe is making sure I fully understand and didn’t miss any of the important pieces.


  7. Mary says:

    I am sure this is true of many of us, that we have missed things earlier in our lives that become meaningful when we meet them today. I like your bird comparisons and your insights. As far as reading books more than once, this is rare for me. But my most-read book of all time, I believe, is The Little Prince, a book I always find something new in when I read it! Just long enough to be able to reread quickly. As for longer books, if I am going to read something I guess I’d opt for something new!

    • 1sojournal says:

      I understand and agree with you, Mary. I prefer new as well. But, in the moment didn’t have a new one, then realized I couldn’t even begin to remember what this book was really about. Even rereading the first chapter, with its familiarity, I knew I didn’t remember where the story went after that. I do reread the Koontz books on occasion, but for some reason this one was not one I had done that with. And it was obviously just the right time to do just that. It spoke to me, showed me a way to see my current situtation and why and how it might have come about.

      And I like the birds as well. I certainly felt like one as I perched above these words that held so much meaning for me in the present moment and brought more clarity that I could have dreamed.

      Go, Pack, Go,


  8. David King says:

    I know that experience very well, of reading and knowing that you’ve read before, but the story stays away. Excellent response to the prompt.

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you again, David. I figure, with my memory, if I forgot it so completely, there had to be a reason. Maybe I didn’t want to remember it? Or, never really saw its signifance, the first time around. Really glad I saw it this time, the info was incredibly important to me, in the present moment.


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