It’s okay to not include everyone.

Psychology, Self, Writing

I need to make this happen now.  I’ve been flirting with it for years, but I need to become someone who isn’t moved by what’s going on outside.  My periods of sanity in this way have been longer and more complete as of the last year, certainly, but there are still days, 1 or 2 days per 1-2 months, where I am moved in ways I don’t want to be.  Text is the trigger for me.  Text I think is ludicrous.  Maybe it’s because I spend much of my time, and that my work is, making the text on my screen correct, proper, that when improper text invades my screen (due to absolutely ridiculous, incomplete logic by the person writing it), it sets me off.  And it can take me an hour, or a day, or a couple days, to recover.  I don’t want to spend even 1 day per 2 months in such a state.

I know how to fix this, I just have to do it.  I simply have to allow myself to not interact with people, which people I don’t want to interact with.  I deserve to do that.  I don’t owe it to anyone that I communicate with them.  If for whatever reason I don’t want to listen, I don’t have to listen.  I know that intellectually.  I need to get it from the mind to the fingers.  Give myself the space to have exactly who I want…in my life.  And then, I won’t have to react against people who wear me out, because I won’t be listening to them—and so they won’t be taking from me.  I’m trying to affirm within myself that this is okay.  Not listening to people, not having people in my life, isn’t hateful.  It’s a reasonable thing to do, to protect my state.  I don’t owe anyone anything.  It’s okay to not include everyone.

Dream of church ruins

Dream, Psychology, Self

Dream my family was on vacation and in the town we were visiting there was this must-see church.  We went there and the courtyard was the size of a castle keep.  There were ancient ruins, stone statues, incredible architecture from an earlier age.  But that part of the church was kept as a museum.  They didn’t use it for their worship.  Even though the sanctuary had beautiful stained glass and the weight of time behind it, they kept it roped off and gave tours before and after their worship.  And their worship was farce.  It was pretend, it was chaotic, it was speaking in tongues.  The ritual was confusing.  The bulletin was incredibly complex, such that when you opened it multiple inserts fell out, and within the scope of a single reading you had to refer to multiple pieces of paper.  The locals thought this was all normal.  Even the seats we sat in, in their newly-constructed, cheap sanctuary, were metal folding chairs.  Some of my family were able to follow along with the service and some were not.

This (with help from a wise advisor) is about seeking god in the world, about seeking light.  About being able to see the beauty in an imperfect past, a family past, a personal past, that has the weight of time and is indisputably part of the present even though it lies in ruins.  About my need to not throw away the past completely, and to deal with it before pretending to move on—even though some of those in my past are unwilling to do this with me.  And about not being able to—even though I want to—worship with some of those friends and family and collaborators who have built their present upon a foundation that denies the past.  That I am someone who not only seeks the light, but wants other people to find it.  And about how, even though I wish no ill to those who have chosen a cheaper and more barren path, that the reality is that we can no longer worship together.

I find I tend to change two things

Psychology, Self

In an ecological system, like nature, like your life—a system with complex causes and effects—I find I tend to change two things at once, when I make changes that are successful.  At least two things, that is—but usually for me it’s two, because it’s hard to design fixes for problems in such systems and consider much more than the relationship between two elements…for me it is.  But changing one thing at a time rarely works.  I think it’s because one is a cause and one is an effect, and if I try to change one without the other, it’s silly.  Recently I had a shitty job and I was drinking too much.  The job wasn’t the only cause of the drinking, but having stopped that job, I am no longer stressed and I no longer drink too much.  There was an action and reaction relationship there.  In this case I stopped doing both completely…drinking first, then working that job.  But, given their relationship, it would have been almost as silly to stop drinking too much while keeping the job as it would have been to get rid of the job and continue drinking.  If I have a stress reaction to, say, a relationship, then dealing with the reaction on its own or the relationship on its own…is silly.  Of course the cause-effect relationship isn’t often cleanly defined in these systems, so it’s usually not the case that I can find two elements of my system that are cleanly a cause and an effect, but when I can find a pair of elements that have roughly that relationship, I find I make more lasting, better changes when I change two things at once: eating + exercise, location + dress, a thought pattern and a behavior pattern, etc.

The thing I’m most afraid of doing is the thing I most need to do.

Psychology, Self

Or: the thing I have the greatest potential to benefit from doing will tend to present itself to me as the most difficult thing I could do.  I don’t think that’s literally true, but there’s a tendency.

The hardest thing for my mind to accept is that everything’s fine.  Why is that difficult for me?  Hopefully I’ll find out by doing it, but I suspect it’s because I’m afraid that if I wasn’t living in the mode of facing off with {things not being fine}…I’m afraid that there wouldn’t be any me left, or I’m afraid to discover the me that lies beyond that struggle.

But that’s exactly what I need to do, in my life, and what I am doing…working, with my mind, to be able to deal with, to be able to meditate on, in my moments, in my days, the idea that everything is fine.

Presence (Ability and Freedom)

Psychology, Self, Starred

A therapist once suggested this as a definition of presence: that one was able to think, but not compelled to think. I do not know if that definition was hers or someone else’s. It occurred to me today, about nine years after that therapy session, that you could extend that idea like this:

free compelled
able present addicted
unable useless

The definition of presence that my therapist presented to me, is here expanded, suggesting other states. When I am able to think (or act) in a certain way, and also not compelled (free) to think or act in a certain way, then I am present. When I am able and compelled, I am addicted (or successful, or enslaved). When I am compelled yet unable, I am anxious or failing. When I am not compelled to act, and also unable to act, I am irrelevant, useless, or disconnected.

With each action in my life, each state, each moment, consider which of these quadrants best fits.

Also, consider that in small scopes (like the scope of one day, or the scope of one aspect of my life), when my state moves around those quadrants, it most often moves one square at a time, either horizontally or vertically. Because, generally, one of the variables (ability/inability or freedom/constraint) changes, and then, somewhat later, another (or the same) variable changes in sequence. When I’m anxious in a relationship, I’m not likely to switch immediately to presence, with respect to that relationship…more likely I’ll go to either success or irrelevance first, and from either of those positions I may move to presence. When I’m addicted in a behavior, I might get tired, at which point I’ll become unable, moving to a state of anxious failing…but the point is that to go from addicted to disconnected (or from anxiousness to presence) involves two distinct shifts, which most likely will happen in sequence rather than at the same time.

The presence quadrant of this square is special, and the variables that make up the square’s axes are relevant, when you consider a third variable: desire. Of the four quadrants shown, only one of them is such that regardless of whether you want or do not want (to think, to act in whatever way), are you able to act in accordance with your desire. In the other three quadrants, desire either is, or can be, an impediment to bliss.

The fullness of an individual person

Philosophy, Psychology, Self

can be measured by the distance between the two most disparate elements that reside within them.  That is not to say that a person without much diversity of thought, is not valuable, is not lovable, is not worthwhile.  But, as a measure of the fullness of one of these individuatable beings we call people, when one of them contains little diversty of mind, little diversity of embodiment, little diversity of action, little diversity of locale, little diversity of posession, that is not a reflection of fullness within that individuatable thing.  This is not to say that fullness of the individual container, should be the goal of each container.  Not saying that.  But, certainly, it is those containers which hold the greatest diversity of goods within the same house, that are the fullest in themselves.