Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Response to Erin N.

You bring up a few really good points here:

Compulsion isn't the same as dicipline.

This is something to really think about. Especially when it comes to habits. If you are doing something compulsively, even if it's a "good" thing, it has limited benefit for you because you are or have become at some point, a slave to it. It ceases to be a choice you made in other words. No real discipline. This happened with me and meditation. Once it became habitual it began to lose it's real meaning and purpose for me. I fight with this all the time. It's still healthy for me. It still works for me, but I have to constantly remind myself why I started doing it in the first place.

Chaos and impulsivity are not the same thing as sponteneity.

I used to really want to be spontaneous. People who were spontaneous seemed so keyed in to the moment. Whereas I was always stuck in my head, thinking about the past or the future. What I came to realize is that people who are truly spontaneous (not just carefree and impulsive) were people who had knowledge. They knew what needed to be done at that particular moment. They knew what the moment demanded and were able to respond. On the outside it looks erratic almost. Random. A person following their whim. But I don't think this is the case. It's not a matter of doing whatever comes to mind rather, doing what is right that particular moment and situation in time. The only problem is, how do you know what's right and appropriate moment to moment? And how do I come to know?

I refuse to start the change process where I am.

I NEED TO HAVE this evening. I NEED to sit in my chair and relax, feeling like my house in order.

It's funny how in some ways we know completely what needs to be done. We know what is wrong with us. We know. Get a person drunk enough and they'll confess. I've seen this. We know our weaknesses to some extent, yet we're so ineffective when it comes to self-medicating. Why does it seem impossible for us to create change in ourselves?

Of course I have answers to all these questions :) and a poem:

Deep down
we all know
what is there
and what is not.

It wouldn't be so obvious
on the outside
if we weren't always trying to cover it up
make it what it's not

Fingers self-consciously
tugging down the hem of a skirt
move to absolve the legs
of their imperfections.
So I caught myself looking at myself contempt-fully in the mirror today. Something has deteriorated. I don't know if it happened slow, over time. Pressure cooked without my noticing. Or if it happened all at once. A crack in the bowl. A fissure. Tectonic plates shifting. Whatever. Now that I've seen it I don't think it'll be too hard to fix. If fixing is the right word. You live in your own skin long enough you (hopefully) begin to gain some small understanding of what needs to happen for you to be healthy again when something slips off balance.

I'm going to develop a schedule - and try to stick to it. Law and order. Law and order.

I'm going to again point out to myself what I like in people. What makes them worthwhile - and therefore myself worthwhile. I've noticed that whenever I lose a little faith in others, I tend to lose faith in myself. I guess it's just another thing. We're constantly looking for answers. What's so troubling about people who do "bad" things is not always what they've done, but what that says about us. I notice it in myself constantly - the looking for answers, for identity in others. I'm not always interested in others - just what they have to say about me. What I can learn about me from them. About humanity. Even their most personal stories. They're talking about me too. All stories are mine.

I have so much to learn. I am incalculably ignorant. But at least I have somewhere to go from here.

you're trying too hard - surrender.

I saw a man today who had ears like dried apricots.

I saw a man today bent over a pair of men's patent leather shoes, buffing away furiously.

I saw a man today crossing the road who looked nervously at my car as I inched it up to the crosswalk line.

I said "hello" to Deb who works the burrito line at my favorite bistro. She has a teenage daughter and a grandson. She's got the kind of sense of humor you mistake for rudeness at first. She said I looked tired. I am tired. I had the pleasure of "putting up" Kt and Seth last night. I made deviled eggs, some anti-pasta, fettuccine alfredo, and cookies. I do actually enjoy cooking. I don't know when I began to believe that I didn't.

It was good to see Kt. She made a scrapbook for me I feel the need to show off as soon as possible. I also enjoyed having Seth around. He and Matt get along really well. Matt entertained him while Kt and I went for a walk. Later we went dancing at the Star Bar where we both got really sweaty.

I'm not the most trusting person. I wouldn't say I'm un-trusting necessarily, but I try to keep my eyes open. There's usually not much I need to trust people with so it hasn't been an issue. Lately I've been conflicted. I want to disclose, but every time I open my mouth I feel I'm just providing another person with ammo. Most of the time I feel healthy (not a feeling but what the hell) about disclosure. But right now it feels more like exposure. Sometimes I take people's good will for granted. I assume people have basic good will towards each other and that they operate on somewhat standard moral practices - like openness and honesty. This isn't the case all the time. It's left me feeling I need to be more careful. More sensitive to how I'm being perceived, despite my actual intentions, motivations, feelings etc. Despite how I actually AM essentially.

On one hand, it doesn't matter at all what people think of you. There's a disconnect between people's thoughts and reality - so what does it matter? Thoughts can't hurt me. On the other hand, you can be whatever you want, have all the good qualities in the world, but that doesn't guarantee success typically unless someone else recognizes those in you. Like the whole grad school thing for instance. Or leadership. It's not enough to be right. Just like how good research alone doesn't facilitate change in the world. Being right or "good" isn't enough, you have to be convincing as well.