Monday, November 21, 2011

Self-Significance & Self-Re-Mothering

Struck by the words she wrote that resonated with my new and increasing sense of personal codependence back then, I had to go see her work. She flung herself about, much as her words had suggested she would. Energy (or whatever then-mysterious sort) simply coming from everywhere and needing to be released. Her hands and arms struck me the most: the spastic movements looked just like those I had begun (and would continue) to experience when overloaded with emotions I was far from sorting out yet. Some time later, she said that she felt like some force she’d been so obsessed with controlling got hold of her. She’d learned from her spiritual guides to just let it go and be with it. My consciousness had not yet been down the roads hers had been, so I only partially understood.

That force continued to terrify me, but after my third long overwhelm, I resolved to come to terms with it in whatever way “coming to terms with it” proved to be. Nevertheless, I continued to try to “manage” and “control” it, because, regardless of what I heard from the “mystics,” manage and control was all the common cult-ure had taught me. She said that her common cult-ural mind told her regularly that she was a “geek” and had to build and maintain a false self that would give her credibility. I heard that, but only partially “got” it. I had been over-reaching for credibility with the significant ones all my life. ("Histrionic" some labeled me. For good reason.)

Listening, and listening and listening to, and then watching and watching and watching, her I found more of myself. I came to many understandings along intellectual paths that were similar too and different from hers: things about my “awful” hurt, pain and self-loathing. Her open-mindedness; her compassion toward self and others; willingness to be see, hear, sense and consider everything pulled me along like a locomotive. She might come to agree or disagree or add or subtract or say it differently, but she never said, “No.”

This was not the adoptive mother whose small, common cult-ural mind had blocked my path – as well as her own – at so many forks in the road. Nor was it even the natal mother whose much larger, but still cult-urally limited, mind had allowed far greater explorations, and then ultimately shot her in the foot. This was the really excellent little mother who could… be. And be with.

Alternately so integrated here and then so “unraveled again” there. Her body taking a battering. Unlike so many gurus, she seemed to have no lasting need to appear to be perfect to her flock. Revealing her own temporary overwhelm, “spasticity,” lost-ness and “geekiness,” she continues to pave a path for me to see my own defensive devices and self-limitations with less and less shame. Her public experiments and assumptions of responsibility for the consequences combined with what I learned from others to show me a new way to go at life’s opportunities to test my own ideas about it.

While my emerging mind (-fullness) can wrap itself around how it has been that she has come to be what she appears to be, I am nowhere close to her level of conceptualized, experiential content and capacity to utilize it so thoughtfully. No one who really pays attention would say of her that she is un-recognizant of her impulsivities for more than a few moments, regardless of how far she may allow them to carry her towards the waterfall. She is far too present after nearly a quarter century now of pressing her face into the hurricane.

I am still likely to slip on the banana peels of my own pseudo-significance and compensatory narcissistic impulsivities to want “you” to see me as “together” (integrated) when I continue to be “out on the highway, I saw my mind, in tiny little pieces walking side by side; my heart had shattered, along with my pride; you just can’t keep ‘em on the wild ride” (thank you, Dwight). My cult-ural values want my behavior to be calm, “cool” and collected. But it is not... and will never be. I will be the jackass and the fool again.

So I know now that the true path is the one I must – like her – walk without undue concern for how it looks to others and their common, cult-ural judgments. I will look over-defended here and spastic there. I will make embarrassing mistakes. I will do and say things parts of me will wish I hadn’t. I will shake with spasms of shame, guilt, worry, remorse and regret. My mind will sink into bouts of “morbid reflection.” I will fall back into the socialized, normalized, cult-urally conditioned states of being “human.”

But I can now turn to the “good enough mother” for the continuing example of her willingness to be with the consequences of being “human.” Because she lives here in my memory now as my like-minded companion, and I can access her demonstrations of both imperfection and self-acceptance as soon as I become willing.

© 2011 by Rodger Garrett; all rights reserved. Links are fine. Please contact not_moses@fastmail.fm with comments or questions. Thank you.

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