Thursday, April 16, 2009

Know Thyself (2)

Tuesday’s post garnered such thoughtful responses and kind thoughts, I felt more needed to be said on the subject. I always find myself astonished at the kindness of people and even more so, at the commonality of the human experience which can provide such comfort – there truly is something intrinsically reassuring in knowing “we are not alone” (and on that note, thank you, all of you (and profoundly, Gillette in particular), for your compassion).

M:e very aptly uses the metaphor of a plant. Each of us needs nurturing to some degree or another – and at different stages of our growth can withstand inclement conditions better than at others. Certainly as an avid gardener I can relate to the concept although truth be told, my mindset which can tend toward the dark side, sometimes veers too much to the “wither and die” vision rather than the nurturing one.

One lesson, however, I have learned over the past 14 months in particular is selkie is indeed a warrior.

I am, was and remain incredibly resilient in the end, in mind, spirit and body despite the buffeting of adversity and pain. Not entirely, of course, for some time I burrowed deep down into the hidden nooks of my elemental self, seeking the spurious safety of dark, hidden places to mask the totality of my capitulation to sorrow. I hid beneath my skin, removed myself from behind my eyes, allowed despair to whip a cowed and unhealthy submission into my very pores.

There is a comfort, after all, in separating from sorrow.

There is a calm to be achieved from refusing to feel.

But as Morningstar wisely says when she points out that it is up to ME to decide how much I am willing to fight, that “… the answer lies within you...only within in you... “ she is correct.

Ultimately, I can control only what is within MY personal control – not the events, the people, the actions of those outside my venue. In short, I can’t control how others react, act, feel or choose, not even those to whom I am bound in heart, mind and soul.

Further, I think it is human nature to want to abdicate responsibility to a greater or lesser extent for events in our lives that do not seem to be “our” fault. It is ALSO human nature to want to remove oneself from pain (at least emotional pain) and it probably could even be considered rational to avoid thought and effort and continued agonizing over events you cannot control.

But as trite an adage as it remains, “it takes two to tango” is the reality.

More importantly, the specious comfort of a refusal to feel is hardly a permanent life choice – at least in my books and, based on my past experience, not in my nature.

But as TG says, “unconditional acceptance” is something we all seek yet seldom receive; but in return, how much do we ourselves “unconditionally accept” our loved ones? It is often far too easy to turn the mirror outwards instead of looking inside the silvered frame, to expect, anticipate, demand from others what our own hearts won’t offer to them.

And yes, Amber, fluctuation IS uncomfortable but I realize when I’m not caught in the throes of self-pity, that discomfort in itself can be a positive force. It is fevers that alert us to viruses, pain that alerts us to dealing with bodily injuries, spiritual discomfort and mental disquiet in turn nudge us into thoughts and insights we might not otherwise have reached.

Certainly, Buffalo’s insight that life brings with it the full range of complexities and dichotomies that so many of us find difficult to stomach is truth indeed. The reality is that if we didn’t have the bitter as contrast, we may very lose sight of the true taste of sweetness. I think, simplistically, it comes down to accepting that life itself is full of experiences – that perhaps we should stop rigidly defining any experience as “good” or “bad” and instead seek the knowledge garnered from the experience itself. Not that I think that is easy – we are hard wired as a species (I believe) to seek to find a measure of balance and peace in our lives; when events occur that disrupt that balance, we are left off-kilter, discombobulated, unsure how to proceed or even frozen, unable to make a step in any direction. – at least in the short-term.

We are indeed the sum total of our experiences – it is those experiences that mould us, provoke us, create in us insights and perceptions that impact on the type of person we become. How we choose to deal with the ones that elicit uncomfortable and painful revelations is probably very much an indication of the person we are and more importantly, probably a very good indicator of the person we aspire to become.

Liras is right when she says all living things change; in fact the very nature of change being life itself is something I’ve discussed before. And poetic, lovely Liras is also right when she says sometimes you must bend and sway with the vicissitudes of life if we are to survive; we must learn that bending is not weakness nor swaying giving up but simply a way of surviving to thrive another day.

I guess I’m just not certain as to whether I will like the woman who emerges at the end …. but as many of you have pointed out, being ‘different’ does not mean “bad”. Metamorphosis, after all, often results to our human eyes in something far more captivating in its new guise.

And I think one of the biggest lessons learned over the past months, is one runzwithknives points out “First I had to tear down that wall and then put away the sword” – rage, incandescent, overwhelming and so utterly destructive held me in thrall for what seemed a very long time. Now, I truly believe, rage in the short-term can be a healthy, constructive way of dealing with justifiable hurt. It burns bright and hard and shines brilliantly in the murk of betrayal and its resulting despair. It buoys you through futility and its hard, brilliant need gives you the strength to keep moving forward.

But embraced without restraint, internalized with no limits, fanned to a white hot conflagration again and again and it will turn on its creator and envelop them in its painful want, destroying its creator.

I have worked actively and consciously to avoid living a life of rage; I have struggled for restraint and understanding and tried desperately to avoid bitterness. So that, in the end, perhaps like runzwithknives, at the end of it all I can say “The me who came back? She's changed in a lot of ways...some subtle and some not so subtle...she's still changing. I like her and that's all that counts.”


M:e said...

Wonderful posting sweetheart... bravo.

lots of love and a BIG hug.


Anonymous said...

Anger, and the resulting rage did in fact, propel me onward when nothing else could. And without that I might have been devoured in that quicksand you speak of is true.

It was however, this last time, seriously overdone. *laughing* Yah, I can laugh about it now because I know I will never be that again.

You are courageous in your posts and introspection...


Gillette said...

Yup...echoing all that. Hugs.

Liras said...

Rage can be useful when channeled and directed in the right fashion and the right manner. As a girl, I was told that I had to learn how to handle it, harness it to make a good change in my life. Many times, we women are chided for anger, thus depriving us of a tool.

Think of a garden. I just mentioned to a friend that we all love to enjoy them, but who wants to be the gardener? I like to sit and enjoy. I do not always wish to do the digging and hauling.

The hardest garden to tend is one's own soul.

Sometimes is is good to let it grow wild and riotous. But we should be aware that things can hide in the underbrush.

Be pleased with your need to change and the courage to do so.

Bend, twist, turn, be pliable. And spring back, stronger than before.