It's such a fine line, isn't it? That line between "explain" and "defend." And I think it all depends on perception, which sounds simple, but we've learned by now that simple rarely means easy. Your perception is colored by your history--how hard have you struggled; how comfortable are you with yourself, with claiming your choices whole-heartedly; and have you the skill--and experience--to differentiate between true curiosity and weighted questioning?
And then, of course, the other party's perception is involved--what is their history, how comfortable are they with new ideas, and are they driven by curiosity or by power? Those last two, when manipulated skillfully, can be almost indistinguishable. So back to you--do you ride, by default, on faith? Transparent in every answer? Or is your experience colored by cynicism?
It's no wonder our communication breaks down--so many factors to intuit, to take *time* with, and that's so rarely what we allow ourselves. I have a feeling if we co...
I woke up this morning and decided, for no reason I can understand, to write about love. And then my thought ended there.
Maybe it's because I'm feeling too exhausted to channel any inspiration (although, it might be said that a sleepy mind is quite likely the perfect instrument to come up with something more true than not).
Okay. Here's the thing: I go to bed early and get up by 5 a.m. every morning, not because I have to, but because I like to. I don't care what anyone else's habits are, but I will tell you this--I don't like to be teased about mine. I never have. Maybe if I were a less self-conscious person, then it wouldn't phase me. But after all this time? I think self-consciousness and I are wedded for the long-run.
What on earth has this to do with love? I don't know, except this--I've known unconditional love only a handful of times in my life, and this, for me, is the deciding factor: with that person, you will never feel self-conscious. Which is saying a l...
Shakespeare wrote, in Richard III, "Talkers are no good doers." I've always loved that, and I've always used it to remind myself that I don't need to fill space, that there's nothing wrong with quietly going about, getting on with my work. Silence, after all, can be far more profound--we don't have words for everything (and, really, thank goodness for that).
In silence we not only find ourselves, but we meet ourselves, sometimes for the first time after a long absence. That may not always be a comfortable reunion, but in time, it will resolve itself joyfully.
That is, if we don't talk ourselves out of the journey first.
I always think of myself as a personality magpie, hurrying away with bits and pieces gleaned from charismatic cultures and people, sifting through what feels true for me. I don't know if that's the typical way of carving out a personality, or if it's just that that's my personality, full stop. Follow the trail for too long, and the conversation gets a bit heady and needlessly meta.
Or maybe we magpies do it as survival instinct--the easiest path to fitting in or standing out, depending on one's leaning. Either way, and no matter who you are, for most of us, the true self is the one we meet when we're alone, and if she can keep you company, then I have a feeling we're doing something right.
I talk to myself all the time. All. The. Time. It's a habit that began in childhood, which I think is pretty common. I'm sure there are far fewer kiddos who don't talk to themselves than those who do. Actually, I'm sure most of us probably still talk to ourselves on a daily basis. I know, for me, it comes in quite handy whenever maths are involved. Or editing (my jobby-job)--reading out loud is an essential aspect of my work.
But I also find that I spend more time than I ever imagined talking myself out of/down from x or y, peppered here and there with a much-needed pep talk or the so-very-tired, go-to mantra, 'you can do anything for an hour.' (Thanks for that one, btw, Amy G--it's been of enormous use).
Beyond those rather obvious applications of conferencing with oneself is this: I think cultivating a deep friendship, a trusted relationship with oneself is vital to wellbeing. Keeping information about ourselves to ourselves serves as a vital buffer between us and the rest of the world...
Pattern is not the same as routine--I just want to put that out there for all my Type-A brothers and sisters who love a good, steady, reliable, comfortable routine, amen and hallelujah. No, patterns are altogether different creatures. While routine is a conscious choice, a lifestyle choice over which we have control, patterns are habits we fall into, universal maps of criteria that we seem, more often than not, doomed to repeat, consciously or subconsciously. A good therapist would probably call it self-sabotage.
Too, more often than not, we're unaware of them or aware of them only after the fact--after we realize we're in the *same* relationship *again,* or that we snapped at our spouse/partner/loved one *again* even though we told ourselves we wouldn't. Or we ate the cake, smoked the cigarette, drank the beer and made a fool of ourselves *again.* It's that dreaded "again" that's our first clue, as in, "I can't believe I did that AGAIN."
I love puzzles and mysteries, myths and history, religions and ritual. I don't mind not knowing the answers intellectually, rationally, but I do mind not knowing them bodily, intuitively. In fact, I'd argue the latter is far more important, far more accurate, and carries far more information.
But when I can't get a read on something, whether external (person, phenomena, action) or internal (self--health, emotions, physical pain), it's profoundly unsettling. When the radar stops working, even briefly, it's like what tethered us to earth has been ruthlessly slashed, and here we are, floating up, with nothing to grab onto and no way to reinstate gravity.
And some of us (ahem) are afraid of heights.
I don't have an answer, but I once read that our intuitive selves are located along our spines, broadcasting out from nape to sacrum, which makes sense--this is the intersection of every nerve in the back body. They called it a radar dish.
I like to think of it as where we house our wings.
I try to be transparent in all my interactions, and if I can't be comfortably so, I keep quiet. Part of this is an attempt toward fulfilling a personal philosophy, but the other is more pragmatic--I'm a terrible liar. Or, rather, I've discovered I'm a terrible concealer.
So, really, it's just easier to, with discretion, put it all out there. But what's so easy, so unbelievably easy, is hiding things from ourselves. There are so many places, when you really get down to it, to hide--and what with a lifetime of experience, we're bloody good at it.
I think, though, if we could only stand to stare into a mirror, right into our own eyes, in good light, a few minutes a day, we'd hide so much less. Would we sleep more? Less? Would we feel fragile for a few days, a week, a year? Sure. But what's wrong with that? Think of what comes after--the quiet, the light, no more running down strange alleys, ducking into shadowy corners, just to get away from ourselves.
It's all the stuff crammed inside the seed's shell--the good stuff, the bad stuff, the sweep-under-the-carpet-when-company-comes stuff, all of it. You have to know and pick up and handle and, if not love, at least acknowledge all of it enough to say hello to. Because, love it or not, it's all you and it will always be all you.
Even if you change your habits (which is always bloody harder than we think it will be), we have relapses and, even barring that, those so-called weaknesses are part of our map, our genetic makeup (if you will), and there ain't a whole heck of a lot of anything we can do about that.
But we can hug it all close, get what nutrients we can, and when we know that, no matter what the weather, we can stand to claim all of ourselves, then we can soak in sun and drink in rain with the best of them.
Only we can drop the weight we carry. And, you know, I don't even think someone else can point out that it's still there; this is a lone, sole, no-net sort of venture.
In other words, it's not like having a hiking buddy who can lift the pack from your shoulders after a day on the trail. This is total, complete self-sufficiency and it's the test we set for ourselves when we bought our boots and paid our fee.