1995: Looking for Value in my Life

From my journal for October 27, 1995

I’m bored with reading, I feel too tired to write …  Sometimes I hate my life.  (“I need to learn to love my poor wounded life because it needs love”)  How can I love a life that is so difficult and has so few rewards?  I’m able to love Eleanor, even though there are a lot of difficulties and few rewards — except that there is the big reward of the love itself.  Because I love her, it’s hard to see her having such a bad time, but also because I love her I don’t need her to get better, or to see that what help I can give is effective, or to be thanked (though I am glad to know that I do make a difference in her life).  The rewards of the relationship are in the relationship itself, in sitting around the kitchen discussing the meaning of life, the question of healing, the latest batch of I Chings.  Is there any way I can translate this to my own life?  Is there any self-validating reward in my relationship to myself?  I guess that’s one of the things that writing in here does — at least when I’m not too discouraged or too tired to write.  There aren’t any “rewards” in terms of excitement or satisfaction, or “feeling good” — now I’m trying to think of times when I “felt good” — at the end of a Journey performance when people are applauding?  During those magical times at circle dance when we all seem to bond and go deeper?  I know there are times in my writing when I feel like I capture something or express something that connects with my “real life” and then I feel excitement and satisfaction and some kind of rush of positive energy that’s what I mean by “feeling good.”  And sometimes on rereading my writing I can reconnect with that, but not always.  Trying to think of the most recent time that I’ve had those feelings, would say back in August, at Circle Dance Camp, when I taught New Moon Bride, and then at Maine Folk Dance Camp being with Maki and hearing the Russian music.  And there was some rush of positive energy when they told me that “New Moon Bride” was the most popular dance — but it was quickly undercut by the talk of more profound spiritual experiences.  Now is that where I do the thing Karen pointed out in therapy, of trivializing and sabotaging my very real achievements?    Still, to have crafted an enjoyable dance that has become part of the Circle Dance Canon is a respectable achievement, worth acknowledging and celebrating.

My friend Eleanor has trouble making decisions and often casts a number of I Chings to find out what to do.

“New Moon Bride” is a dance I choreographed to a piece of music by a Finnish group called Varttina.

I said something last night to Sybil about how my life looked like a worthless desert, and she said that she saw me as giving a lot to the world. I asked her to be specific, and she said that through the teaching of circle dance, I have created (or at least enabled the growth of) a community of people, a real community that otherwise wouldn’t have existed. I see that I tend to not see it, because I imagine that it was already there, because as a “community” this group of friends is not as tightly knit or actively engaged in exchange and support as I would want. But I can also see that doing a sacred activity together, and participating in the rituals that I’ve designed, would deepen and extend and enrich the bonds of friendship. So I have to accept that Sybil’s right, and that makes me very excited about the possibility of Neskaya fostering something even deeper and stronger. I can see that “just teaching circle dance” is not nothing, it’s a very important community function, perhaps the most important, because what’s the good of keeping the wheels of economy going and society turning if there’s no spiritual connection?

I’m so glad I wrote these things down. I can read them now and see the truth that I couldn’t hold on to at the time. Neskaya does not yet exist, but the roof is on, the walls complete. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but it will be open in a year.

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