Monday, November 9, 2015
Word of the Week - 88
Word of the Week: SELF-HELP
Let's say that we are in life as we may be in dreams, multiple characters in our own story. Victim and rescuer, speaker and listener, question and answer. This may sound like old business to many of you but it seems a fresh notion to me, brought on by my listening again to Beth Orton sing "Sisters of Mercy." That may be us, "Sisters of Mercy," binding up our wounds.
As I participate in a meditation course on beliefs, the process carves open pockets of emptiness, even if just for a moment or two, space in which no debris has collected, places of possibility. Since I often feel what passes for real life is a bill of goods in which we are constantly being urged to reinvest, it is not such a leap for me to consider that much of what we've been told is essentially untrue, that it has always been untrue. Consider this: what if we are not the lesser beings we always felt ourselves to be.
So I walk around the edges of the song, the entire notion of mercy and deliverance, and wonder is it wholly interior work. If this is the true and natural order, our acting as self-healers, no wonder so many of us have grown quite elderly and weary waiting for rescue to come from external sources. As I say, this may be a familiar idea for you. I stopped looking at so-called self-help books decades ago, deciding it might be less exhausting to blunder along in a state of disrepair than to try and mend, according to one specific set of instructions or another, all that I believed was broken. In my long-ago experience with self-help, I never had the sense of it being a process which one undertook for the long haul, the gradual merging of this into that organically. The books or PBS presentations always seemed to half-promise remarkable and rapid transformation, desirable as we judged our present manifestation to be so unpalatable, so wrong.
For this same reason I don't read books in which women especially embark on a journey - physical/spiritual - of rather short duration after which they become, quite simply, THE light. Such journeys, the expense of them alone, and such starry outcomes are not within ordinary grasp. Few humans transcend in this fashion. We are not less if we illuminate a smaller patch. Again I return to an acknowledgement of process, of time and effort. That progress as we measure it may not be swift does not make it any less remarkable. At 70 years and counting, I will likely never believe there is a destination we reach in this lifetime.
We lay our own hands upon our hearts and souls. In our heads we repeat mantras that pull us closer to center. A quiet mind is the best friend I can hope for. As it seems to be the most workable choice, is it not okay to remain part caterpillar, part butterfly, 100% work in progress? It is the only solution I can imagine that moves us forward without discarding the best-loved and loyal parts of us, a bit threadbare though some may be, that have brought us this far.