Looking back, I can see that the whole sequence cold —> cough —> back pain has given me time, space and motivation to see some good things about myself and my life.
From my Journal for Saturday, February 16
It was good to talk to Erica. I told her that being sick has shown me my lack of resources. I really had imagined that when I got here, I would be able to teach astronomy, etc. Now I’m understanding that I don’t have enough energy to teach astronomy. I don’t even have enough energy to find a way to share the new ideas that are coming out that show how wrong are the fundamental myths of Western Culture — competition, “survival of the fittest,” etc. I wish there was something I could do to help counter the idiocy of these times.
I asked my guides what I should be doing now. I was going to write, but they answered right away. “Take care of yourself. What you are meant to do will appear when you are ready to do it.” I asked about the cough. “The cough itself is not dangerous. What is dangerous is pushing yourself before you are ready.” “All things do work together for good.”
Feeling the very quiet clarity again. I’m wondering, if all were relatively well in the world, would I be as concerned about what to do with my life? There wouldn’t be the same urgency, but I would still need to do something meaningful, to be of service in some way.
I see that there is a shift from trying to fix myself, unlearn dysfunctional behaviors, heal the wound, to finding something meaningful to do. I realize, as I write it, that I’m still seeing myself in isolation. I want to do something in community, to be part of a community, to not be the leader.
Etty, after reading Kropotkin on how to live in a prison cell. “That account can still teach us how to cope with the measures by which our own freedom of movement is increasingly being restricted. To take what little space we are left with, to fathom its possibilities and to use them to the full.” p400
Etty Hillesum was a Dutch Jew who died in Auschwitz.
What can I still do with what is left to me? First, I don’t know what I’ve got left until I have recovered from this cold. That could take weeks. During that time I have to take care of myself as best I can, which is actually hard work because I have to push against the conditioning that I’m not worth taking care of. That conditioning gets stronger when I’m sick and exhausted because I also regress. There’s less of an adult to help discern when to push myself — e.g. to take a walk — and when it’s more important to rest.
Last meeting of the writers group. The first prompt was “Picking up the pieces.” There were words and images and colors available. There was a way in which I felt that the pieces were all out there. The pieces were all out there. That’s what I’ve been feeling. The odd sense of being at the end of one path and not sure what comes next. But the pieces are all out there. There’s nothing hidden. One of the things I came to in group was the sense that instead of putting the pieces together like a puzzle, I needed to stitch them together, create connective tissue. What hits me right now is that what is needed culturally, socially, politically, is connective tissue. The diversification process has gone as far as it can, we are entering into the chaos realm and will destroy ourselves and our planet if we don’t succeed at integrating.
When I repeat something and underline it, it’s because I’ve just seen the importance of the idea.
From Daniel Wahl’s talk on regenerative culture: Evolution is a process of differentiating and then integrating on a higher level. I see that integrating is not forcing conformity. Forcing conformity leads to fascism, not movement to a higher level.
Learning to not push. Learning to let things happen. Learning to let my body tell me what is the next right thing for me to do. Truth is an ongoing conversation about things that matter.
Parker Palmer: ‘Truth is an eternal conversation about things that matter, conducted with passion and discipline.’
The session with Erica was really pretty amazing. She said something about a “rich life” and I recoiled. It certainly hasn’t felt like a rich life. But my felt sense of helplessness and frustration, the drag and bleak coloring of depression, were like a dark grey fog that concealed mountains of riches, so all that I could see were a few little islands in a sea of fog (the “black cloud” that followed me around.) The work with Erica is dissolving the fog, so I can see more of what’s there. Of course other people just see what’s there, they don’t see the fog at all.
The other thing that I have been learning from Erica, and just now coming to how huge it is, is the number of talents/skills and knowings that I seem to have been born with. One was the scientist’s curiosity that kept me from getting trapped by various boxes, kept me from retreating into intellect. I could always tell when a particular therapy had got me as far as it could, things started to plateau, and I had to find something more. Alas, I too often made it that I wasn’t working hard enough. I know there are more skills, and I don’t see them because I take them for granted. I remember the time when I saw the pattern of a circle dance I was learning, and when I asked for clarification from the teacher, she didn’t know what I was talking about. That was when I first got it that I had been gifted with all the skills for teaching folk dance. I had assumed everyone had those skills, but I was wrong.
OMG. After checking email I was just going through my most recent blog post, and I suddenly saw that God’s answer to Job — “Canst thou bind the sweet influence of Pleiades…” is the Universe’s answer to me. It does want what’s best for me, but its knowing of what’s really best for me, is not necessarily what I would think is best for me. I feel brilliantly guided toward this knowing. Thank You!
I can’t believe that “Canst thou bind the sweet influence of Pleiades…” has been on my wall, traveling with me, since 1964.
“Pleiades” is a silk screen by Ben Shahn. I bought it in 1964. I loved the quote, and used to imagine declaiming it. As I understood it, God was saying to Job, “who do you think you are?” But actually, that’s not what God is saying at all. She is saying “You ask why these things happened to you. Can you make good luck happen, or break the law of gravity? My complexity is far beyond what you can understand.”