Wednesday, January 25, 2012
We each, I suspect, have familiar inner bullies, personal quicksand, toxic enemies that sap our will and brave attempts at self esteem. In the past few days, my adversary was unmasked: the sense of not deserving (pick a word) happiness, comfort, joy, convenience or the peace that comes from order.
The circumstance that illuminated this ancient belief was the offer of a gift, something generous, unexpected, by my definition extravagant yet wanted but I found I was unable or unwilling to say, simply, yes. Thank you. It became another round of demon rassling, with the difference being this time I could look the demon in the eye and begin to wonder if it was as powerful as I'd once thought.
At any moment, I have a mental dossier of my shortcomings, evidence, that stretches back practically to quill pens. It certainly pre-dates electric typewriters and the Thermofax. No pages have been misplaced, and if they were, I'm sure there are carbon copies, smudged but legible. A part of me has clung stubbornly to the fiction of lives perfectly led - by others. It is a belief that keeps me tethered and dense, Earth-bound rather than lifting with no small grace like a wired actor in Chinese martial arts movies, Jackie Chan excepted. To soar means escaping our own gravity, those pockets full of rocks and rigid ways of relating to our souls.
I am fortunate to have the counsel, when I need it, of my son, who brings youth and, I can but hope, less baggage to a situation than I. I told him of the offer, I told him of my resistance. He found the right words: you work hard, you deserve it. To my eyes this hard work looks an awful lot like avoidance, farting around, procrastination and sloth. He helped me own that there IS hard work in the process of simply living with some measure of joy, of aspiring to evolve, of reaching out, of stillness and contemplation, of being present. He helped me say yes.
By saying yes, thank you, to the gift, I noticed that certain narrow thinking had widened. I have struggled with disorder much of my adult life. It may have begun as I spent too long in situations which felt helpless and helplessnss has clung to me though the circumstances changed. It doesn't seem as important to know those details as it does to acknowledge that impossible-seeming things became less so. I could envision a gradual step-by-step process to finding order, letting go of things and mistaken beliefs with one gesture. I could feel peace inching toward me, settling in, becoming real.
Whoever does not see life as a process is not paying attention. Sometimes the increments are so slight as to be nearly undetectable. Nearly. Then we turn and look over our shoulders at the discernible signs indicating something permanent has begun to shift. Contrary to all our assumptions, we are becoming.