Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Longest Nights

Winter Solstice just passed us here in the Northern Hemisphere. It's one of my favorite seasonal markers, even with the cold, dark and damp. I enjoy the turning-in, the introversion, the sleeping trees; I love the seeking of fire and body heat and soft blankets. Hibernation can be a wonderful thing for Maria.

I have have seen much unfolding in this heart of mine (which also happens to be this heart of yours!). Lots of learning, growing and shedding going on. The last few seasons have shown me some beautiful insights, as well as shadowy recesses that never enjoy the greening of summer, and (to my initial dismay) never will...just as some places on this planet will never touch the light of day. Some wounds may or may not heal when you leave them alone, when they are left to do whatever it is that they do. Some scars never fade. It is, as they say, what it is.

This isn't meant to be a despairing message, however. I grew up in and out of a psychological (and sometimes physical) war zone, so it isn't a sermon on acceptance, either. Accept, don't accept--it's all the same to the Great Whatever. It takes you as you are. There is no need to earn your way into happiness, prove your mettle, express your gratitude. It took years and years for this understanding to sink in all the way. No one has to apologize for being here. There is no right way to live a life. I cannot judge a single human being--including this one--not because of a moral issue, but because it's an action that carries no weight at all. It's a waste of energy, in my humble opinion, an opinion that changes exactly...nothing!

As I mature, my interest seems to lie more and more with honesty. Brutal, lovely, heartbreaking, life-expanding honesty. If I could have consistently lied to myself and gotten away with it, I probably would have. It turns out that, in the long run, and for the sake of everything, honesty is the best policy--again, not because the universe is "moral". There are degrees of honesty, all with their accompanying discomforts and releases. There was a time when I lied to myself because I knew no other way to survive. This is, somehow, a very honest thing, in an immature way. Comes a time when it no longer serves, and the carrying of illusion gets very difficult. Drop a layer. The new perception serves until it doesn't--and repeat. I have no idea if this ever ends.

I don't know how it is that those layers fall, but it seems a ripeness is in order; they certainly don't leave before everything is ready! Then, in a rush, or with an inaudible sigh, or in complete stealth, things have changed. Maybe subtly, maybe drastically, but new worlds are available to view. Honesty most definitely supports this process, aids it, and makes the seeming transition "cleaner". Eventually, there is a feeling of loving presence, a reflection of strength and vulnerability bouncing off any conceivable thing, finally enfolding all things. It is, of course, a further opening of the heart.

At this time in life, I am in a very interesting place. It's a place with not much room for "I", literally and metaphorically. In many ways, the most common image of Maria--the self-image--has been challenged and pushed, more and more, into a corner of itself. This Maria is representative of some original wound, some terrible violation (or a few), and presents typically as a bundle of reactivity, anger and pain. Over the years, well-meaning therapists have counseled me to "repair the self-esteem" and "heal the wounded child" with all the love and understanding my parents couldn't give me. Also, I should stand my ground, demand respect and consideration, and stop picking up wounded birds. Yeah. I should do this because Maria deserves a good man, time off, more help, and self-respect. Alright--I get that. Still, something is not ringing true in this advice, anymore. It seems trite, redundant and no longer fitting, and I suspect the shifting of another strata. It's as if we have taken the repair of the ego as far as it can go. Been there, done that.

More and more, there is a detachment, an objectivity waking up in place of the wounded creature, where a spastic mind once held sway. I was taught that detachment was a way of avoidance or not caring. This turns out to be true, but not in the way I assumed. What I have lost interest in is the outcome of the story (they all end the same way, right here), and in the quest for something better. Contrary to how this may sound, it isn't as though I have "given up". It's more that the structure disappeared, the race was called off, and I found that what I had signed up for was not any of this, after all. In fact, there is no real thing to admit defeat, no real person to be shamed, or to claim victory. I cannot know what this really is.

I've educated myself fairly well in most things "spiritual", and so of course, the concept of the Void, the illusion of the personal, the world of maya all make intellectual sense to me and balance the seeming solidity of everything quite nicely. And being an expert at coping, I've learned to "be objective", or philosophical, about most things. It never really occurred to me on a visceral level that I would wake up one morning viewing my familiar body in my familiar field of vision with all its sensations as something...not foreign, exactly, but unassumed. Something as natural as that tree outside, and as impenetrable, unknown, and in that sense, unfamiliar. A mystery. Nothing I can improve, run from, or seek to fulfill. Fulfillment is suddenly a laughable idea. A completely unnecessary-anymore-idea.

And this body, in its utter innocence, owns nothing, claims nothing. It has no thoughts (I don't know what does). It has its own way of speaking and is completely unconcerned about what happened when I was five. This realization is startling.

There are feelings, emotions, and they act of their own accord, without any meddling on my part, without my interference. They don't lash out and destroy anything. Nobody gets hurt. No planets are pulled into my orbit. Even if they did, that would somehow be okay.

I think about my old therapists, and wonder if they would find some "dissociation disorder" in this point-of-view-which-isn't. I've never been more sane. :)


  1. Beautiful essay Maria

    It was said, "The truth will set you free"

    Here we see that it is the "dissociation disorder" that can allow us to find that truth.

  2. Just stepping back, I guess, into the Great Beyond that is always here, anyway. There is value--great value--in the disbelief of suffering. The sense that there is another side has to be followed, I think, into sanity. It isn't the world we imagine--it's better than anything we can imagine. :)

  3. "As I mature, my interest seems to lie more and more with honesty. Brutal, lovely, heartbreaking, life-expanding honesty."

    That is such a wonderful statement - I resonate totally to that simplicity.

  4. and how lovely to come across another blog of yours (:
    May you find some warmness in my doodled scribbles of plaY.
    i welcome you to share my link where/if appropriate. That would be lovelY.