Sunday, August 17, 2008
I think it says a lot about me that it's easier and a whole lot more interesting for me to write about questions and than it is to write about resolutions. Whenever I sit down to try to write out some of the things I've been learning this summer, it just sounds so corny. Like the final chapter of a bad self-help book. And on top of that, as soon as I learn something new, something that feels like a revelation, it seems immediately obvious, as if it had been staring me in the face all along. Everyone on the planet must know this stuff except clue-less me. But here is some, mainly because otherwise I don't have anything to write about.
I have trust issues. I don't trust much of anyone, and I certainly don't trust that the world is a safe place to be. I could go into a therapy-style litany of all the reasons why that is true, all the bad things that happened to me when I was a child and along the way, but I'm not sure that's any excuse. Plenty of people who trust just fine have difficult issues in their past. I think it just has to do with the way I'm wired.
But I've been working very hard on the Buddhist idea of keeping an open heart, which involves letting yourself be vulnerable, which means trusting. It has become important to me for purely selfish reasons-- because when I manage it, when for a few minutes or hours I can drop all my defenses and just be there, it feels so amazingly good. It's so much better than being hard and cynical and closed up tight like a fist. But it isn't easy. It is impossible for me to ignore that anyone can hurt you, even when they have the best of intentions. Maybe even especially if they have good intentions. And bad things can happen at any moment. (Remember the Northern Exposure episode where Maggie's boyfriend was killed by a satellite that fell out of the sky?) How do you manage this? How do you stay open and spacious, without feeling like you're leaving yourself exposed to every little awful thing that can happen?
I have no definitive answers, but some things have helped. First of all, staying closed up tight doesn't solve the problem. It might make you slightly more prepared defensively for bad things that might happen, but for the most part, it doesn't stop them from happening. And you miss out on so much by always being on your guard. But more important than that, it's occurred to me that the key to trust isn't trusting others, or trusting the universe, or at least not for me. The key is learning to trust myself. Yes, this person might hurt me, but I'll be OK. I can handle this. Something bad might be around the corner, but I know from past experience that I can get through it. I'll be all right no matter what.
Ack. My scared-self is already kicking in again. It seems so arrogant to say that, like I'm asking to be tested. There are so many things that could happen that I would not be all right about, that I could never recover from. most of them involving my children's health and safety. But the point still stands. I'm working on it.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Since someone asked me about this the other day, I'll say it here for the record. You can, if you read this blog, tell anyone you like about it (of course). It's out in cyberspace, anyone that finds it can read it. I can hardly claim that I want to keep it private since I'm posting it publicly. And honestly, I wish I had more readers, and that there could be more discussion. But, as I've said before, I'm a bit shy about telling people about it-- partly because I don't know how they'll respond, but mainly because it requires an assumption on my part that they'll be interested in reading it, which is difficult for me to imagine. That may sound disingenuous, but there it is. The only thing I ask is that if you live here in our town--as many of you do-- be careful who you tell, as some of this stuff would be a bit controversial around here. But if you live here, you already know that.
Monday, August 04, 2008
I was going to go back and go on and on about "resolutions." But in the meantime, my cynical side has kicked in and I just don't have that much more to say. how can you honor and respect the beliefs of your childhood when technically speaking you don't actually believe them anymore? there are lots of days when that is where I am, and today is one of them. Days when I think, I can't keep going to church, this is ludicrous. But: I would miss it if I didn't go. I love our church. It's complicated. If this were all about logic and figuring things out rationally, it would be so simple. I'd just leave.
But honestly, as I get older, I'm finding that cynicism is less and less helpful to me. And no matter how little it makes sense to my cynical self, the mix of belief and unbelief, of meaning and lack thereof, is actually the way I live. It's what is real for me at the moment. But subject to change at any moment.
Friday, August 01, 2008
A little over a year ago, I decided that it was time to delve back into the religion of my youth and think through my experiences-- much of which has shown up in this blog. In April, I reached the crux of it, at least as far as my own experiences are concerned, and nearly sent myself round the bend trying to resolve some intellectual conflicts that are not resolvable. At that point, I resolved to let them be un-resolved. I felt like I had finally come to terms with the opposing forces, if you will, and made a truce. Not a truce between the issues, but a truce between myself and the conflict. Is this making any sense? The conflict is out there, I don't know the answer, and I have to keep living with that.
I've learned a few new things since then that I thought I'd pass on. One occurred to me on a long driving trip. It occurred to me that just because the issues can't be resolved intellectually doesn't mean that they can't be resolved in my life. I can value the meaning behind many of the beliefs of my childhood, feel enormously proud of and loyal to my heritage, and yet still live in a way that honors my own experience. In effect, the way I live my life becomes the resolution.
check back, this is unfinished.