Monday, October 23, 2006

LABELS ...

I spent a large part of my life doing everything possible to avoid labels. In my youth I never wanted to be labeled a rebel in spite of the fact that it came naturally for me to not want to do things the way the rest of my family did. I never wanted to be labeled lazy because I was not passionate about aerobics classes in the 80’s. Most of all I never wanted to be labeled as stupid for any reason at all, ever. In as much as not wanting labels, I never wanted to feel like I had a life that could be fitted into a neat pile of boxes all perfectly labeled.

I promised myself last week that I would make a concerted effort to clean up and clear out my home office. In the context of my work space, ‘clean up’ means that there are no piles of paper scattered all over the surfaces like landmines. Things are filed and sorted and everything is where it should be. ‘Clear out’ means that below the surfaces I am not hiding anything either or fooling myself with the cleaned up surfaces. This meant going through a whole bunch of files and folders and finally getting rid of things that are now outdated. If they were not yet meant for the garbage or shredder, they needed to be put in their rightful place. As I was going through this process, I became conscious of how many frigging labels I was either typing or writing up. I was amazed at how much security and comfort I was gaining from a space that was taking shape by virtue of everything having its perfect little label.
I thought it would be a fun process to intentionally label my experiences from this past week. Having spent so many years trying to avoid and shake off labels, I was now on a mission to come up with as many labels as I could.

Here then, is my week in review … in labels.


For SATURDAY’S REWARD

This came about as the result of a melt-down I had, you can read about it by clicking here.

For SATURDAY’S CELEBRATION
We all say how time seems to pass faster the older we get. Perhaps this year seems to have gone insanely fast for me because I feel like I lost three months of it recuperating from a broken shoulder. It did however seem quite unbelievable to me that Marti and Glenn celebrated their first wedding anniversary on the 14th. For a really special love story, please visit my archived post from October 17th, 2005 under the heading of LICENSE, SHOWER, WEDDING. (Angel – proof that I can’t work out how to do that ‘click here’ linking thing. aaarrrggghhh) Happy Anniversary Glenn and Marti!

For SUNDAY’S MIXED EMOTIONS
This car in front of us en route to Whole Foods caught my attention. Unfortunately it came out totally blurred. You can however see that there are two bumper stickers on the rear of the car. The one on the left reads, “It is the right of every American to arm himself.” The one on the right reads, “Free Tibet.” I got angry at the one on the left as I will never come to terms with the gun laws in this country. I found the conflicting messages such a contradiction in terms that it was amusing, but ultimately, I felt sad for the owner of the stickers.




For MONDAY’S DELIGHT
The "Fire Bush" outside Ross' school.



For TUESDAY’S PANIC
This could easily be called 'Tuesday’s Confession.' For this to have any meaning, I have to direct you to my archives again. (This whole link mystery has to be resolved soon!) My clearing out process brought the packet containing my scarf to the surface. If you click on JANUARY 2006 and scroll down to TUESDAY 3rd – MY SCARF STORY - you will understand why I felt a sense of panic when this happened. I have basically got a few weeks to knit the scarf. The pic below shows how it looks right now. I renew my commitment to an honest update on December 3rd. I could whine about the fact that I couldn’t have knitted for about two to three months even if I had wanted to, but I think that might look even more pathetic than the pic below.



For WEDNESDAY’S SURRENDER
You know it’s time to get out of the kitchen when you squirt ketchup all over the phone. Put everything down, and walk away from the island.



For FRIDAY’S FUN ON MY OWN
DanDan and I went to do some shopping. I chose to wait in the car at one point as it was pouring with rain. I found myself feeling bored so decided to play with my camera phone. I have never done a self portrait with it. I am so critical of myself in pics that I was amused by having had this idea. I took the pic. I am not quite sure what the eyebrow/centipede thing is all about. When it came to posting the pic, I remembered that my Mom had given me some baby pics of myself that she had unearthed on a recent visit to my sister. So here they are, Me Unplugged – 1960 and 2006.



For SATURDAY’S SHOPPING TRIP
On the way to get Ross his Halloween outfit, I thought it a good idea to show some scenes of the neighborhood in preparation for freaky season. Halloween is the perfect time to capture a pic of a graveyard.




For THURSDAY’S LESSON (I have gone out of sequence due to the length of this item.)
A large amount of my time this week was spent in conversation with my step daughter, Alexandra. She has been going through a major shift in her thinking with regard to her boyfriend and the possibility of a marriage commitment. I tried my best to outline to her how essential it is to recognize the importance of being in a healthy relationship with yourself before being able to even consider this kind of union with another. How do you explain this to someone who is young enough to be lost totally to the romance of the situation? How do you explain to someone who in their youth still believes the importance is in the details of a wedding rather than the heart and soul of a marriage?

Many years ago I read a book called THE INVITATION by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. A few months ago I had wanted to give it as a gift to someone but could not remember the title of the book, only the feather on the cover. In my ongoing search I found it and discovered that I could get it on audio disc. I have been listening to it in my car. After this lengthy conversation with Alex, and at time frustration with myself at not being able to put my thoughts across in a way that I felt I had said it in a nutshell, I hoped I had at least got her thinking.

A while later on the same day when I went to get Ross from school, I tuned on the CD to carry on from where I had finished the day before. As her beautiful reading unfolded, the smile on my face got broader and broader. It was as if she had been sent to give me this message to pass on – articulated so perfectly. I have transcribed it to share here, and although it will make for a long post – it makes for a beautiful read. In addition to my excitement about being able to give this to Alex, a picture of DanDan and I popped into my head from when we were living in Amsterdam. This picture is one of my favorites of us. We didn’t know our friend was taking it. It captured a special and tender moment. I feel that it captured the beauty outlined in this transcript.


… I resist the idea that I will be with another only to avoid being alone. Surely the ability to truly be with myself does not exclude the willingness to fully be with another. I do not seek isolation. The longing for another remains even when I am able to be with myself although it is smaller – a whisper that tugs at me gently. Even there in my place of solitude in the wilderness, I found myself at moments wanting to turn to someone and share my awe at the brilliance of the full moon on the still water, the delight of watching the otters playing at the edge of the stream. But the loneliness was bitter sweet and bearable because I knew myself and the world in a way I sometimes do not, when I let my life become too full of doing things that do not really need to be done. Once in a while, trying to find the end of the thread of what wants to be written, I will do a writing exercise that involves finishing the statement – I DON’T WANT TO WRITE ABOUT …

Over the years the statement is most often completed this way – I DON’T WANT TO WRITE ABOUT THE LONELINESS. For years I thought the loneliness, the longing for the other was a weakness. A sign that I had not learned how to be with myself and there have indeed been times when I have wanted to be with someone simply to cover the ache of not being able to find my own company. But I have come to accept that no matter how much I am able to be with myself, no matter how much I like my own company – I still long to sit close to and at times to merge completely with another in deep intimacy – this too is coming home. The completeness of self is found when we can be alone and when we can bring all of who we are to another – receiving and being received fully. This is the sacred marriage. The coming together of two who have met themselves on the road. When two who have this intimacy with themselves are fully with each other whether for a lifetime or for a moment the world is held tenderly and fed by the image they create simply by being together. They can be friends or family, lovers or life partners or simply two strangers whose lives intercept for a moment. They may be telling each others stories, or making love, or sharing a task or sitting in silence together – it doesn’t matter. If having met myself in the empty moments I am willing and able to bring all of who I am to another, receiving all of who they are, then we are truly together. In that moment, in the image our being together creates, we are the manifestation of life holding, creating and feeding life. This is the fullness of the homecoming for which we all long. These moments, these sacred marriages of two bring each person back to themselves more fully.

When I was younger the excitement of proximity and the heat of passion combined with an uneasiness with myself often meant that I lost myself when I was with another. When I was with someone who caught my imagination with possibilities beyond friendship I found it hard to know what I wanted. I was aware only of his wanting me and was drawn by his desire. Now that I am more able to be with myself I seek those I can be with completely without losing myself and when I listen for and follow the quiet but deep impulse to move towards someone moving only as quickly as I can while staying connected to this impulse I find a sweet ease in my body and an infinite tenderness in my heart and I recognize what I have longed for in the nameless ache that has been with me for so many years. The tension eases between my desire for personal freedom and independence, my desire for the solitude of my own company, and my longing for deep commitment and intimacy with others. I find in our time together more of myself and I find in my time alone more of the world.

D2 - CIRCA 1995



 
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