Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Repost: Still trying to loofah the past

It has been said that although we seem to find ourselves living life in circles, revisiting the same situations - and feelings - again and again, the shape is actually a spiral.  We have managed to ascend, to reach a different level.  It is not the same place, we are not the same people.
 Photo borrowed from here.
Three years ago, in this post about surrender, I must have thought I'd achieved some epiphany.  Perhaps I did.  What I know now, and probably knew then, is there will always be more to jettison.  Another box left at the curb, another vigorous exfoliation, another match set to piles of rubbish.  Today's secret word:  patience.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Well, THAT happened.

Today's headline is a quote from the David Mamet film, State and Main. It is truly a line for all seasons, it fits all sizes, all occasions.

Much as I indulge myself in thoughts of the impossible, even I acknowledge that when a thing has happened, it cannot un-happen.

Surrendering to life as the ultimate big shot who makes the rules is a process. You're not the boss of me. Oh, but I am.

THAT gives us two choices: remain caught by the wrongness, the unfairness, the awfulness, the horror, the grief, the guilt and shame, rage and resentment, like banana slices in a Jello mold or give it to the past. If option two was the easy, natural choice, history and all fiction would tell very different stories.

In thinking about this essay, I drew up a sketchy, mental list of incidents where the less savory option one was my pick. As a theory, I've understood letting go for a few decades. As a practice, it is much newer business. It is the result of the desire, the intention, to become more conscious, more compassionate. It comes from the wish to lead a life less fraught.

Too much stress, a response over which I have some measure of control, produces too much cortisol which goes on to interfere with and upend healthy physiological activity when it hangs around too long. Every issue, or crumbs of issues, that we continue to push around on our plates overloads us with stuff that will stop our engines.

Every time I thought about an event or outcome that should have gone differently, I embezzled a bit of vitality, perhaps longevity, from myself, by raising my blood pressure, messing with my blood sugar, creating inflammation and undermining my immune system. Even doing a little research while writing makes me queasy and, oh ho, stressed by thinking about how long I've resisted letting the bad stuff roll off my back.

I know I've written about all this before in various forms and I know I'm not done. It is the heart of my struggle. Awareness helps the process. Reminders can be beneficial, like Jake Gittes' being told, "Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown," by one of his old pals from the LAPD. If you're not ready to let the injustices go, reminders probably don't change things.

To find and maintain a mostly peaceful response where peace is not the norm can cut us away from the herd. But then I've never been one to run with the pack. Solitary is not unknown terrain.

In the simplest language I can find, I want to stop poisoning myself. We are cautioned of - and frequently alarmed by - threats from outside. We are in danger at least as great, I believe, from how we react to the world, to the models we are shown...endlessly.

THAT is going to keep happening. I choose to think we are capable of finding a different way to view all the THATs which have lined up, awaiting their spotlight moments.

They are the grifters who linger along our daily paths, not panhandlers or the truly needy, but slick types whose patter makes them semi-believable. Say no and keep walking, walk faster - exercise is good - don't make eye contact, don't get sucked in...to discord, debate, blame, outrage. Remain calm (Keep Calm and Carry On!) and if action is required, take it from a still and centered place. Robert Towne's dialogue had it right, too. On a metaphoric level, it's all Chinatown. Forget it. It happened. Let it go.


Lisa H said...

yup. This is where I come when seeking words of wisdom from a real human. Not someone claiming to "know the way..."
No, this is better. Better to hear someone wise and experienced reflect and just think out loud. If we're smart....very very Smart, we'll just hang around and listen...absorb.
Keep talking Marylinn, keep talking.....

Marylinn Kelly said...

Lisa - Thank you. You can be quite sure that nobody here (staff of one) knows the way or anything close to it. You're right, it is thinking out loud and in public, which can be a set-up for appearing a fool. I have survived being a fool many times before, I will, if necessary, survive it again. We are each building the road we need to drive on tomorrow, inch by inch. The Great Puzzle, eh? You are a tonic, my friend. xoxo