Reclaimed Bits of My Former Self

Self actualization is a rough road. It’s a dark and rocky uphill path, both ways, in the snow and you never have the appropriate clothing.

The subject came up in conversation yesterday and my shadowy, though never submissive sub-conscience chose to wake me with its own opinion this morning. Just when I think it’s not listening it recognized another’s story as my own.

I’m theorizing that self actualization creates overcompensation in the areas we most focus. It seems the process involves growing as far as we can in one direction and then finding the balance as we tip toe backward from the precipice on the opposite side of the cliff.

Further, I’m suspecting that if we are willing to listen, teachers are put in our path to trip us. While we teeter on the edge of that opposite precipice, we were hell bent on reaching, they scream “What are you thinking?!”

The silent, terrified, reclusive teenager that I was is so far gone people don’t believe she ever was. Still a bit reclusive, I’ve nonetheless become mostly fearless and absolutely willing to speak the honest and brutal truth to anyone. Even seeing that written, I think, “Yes! That’s what I intended!”

But last week someone screamed, “What are you thinking?!”

My “mostly fearless self” stopped to confront that question. There was no answer. My “always willing to grow self” entered the fray. The answer has reared its head before – there are parts of my former “terrified silent self” that would have served me well to keep.

(Gram’s voice just entered my head, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!”)

The good news is that it’s fairly easy to go back and pick out discarded pieces from old baggage. The baggage that can be packed but never really left behind. The baggage that doesn’t always make the connecting flight, but eventually makes it back to your doorstep. The baggage that I open up and examine like an old trunk to see how far forward I’ve come. The baggage the experts advise to pack, lock and burn.

My problem has always been that I’ve never finished packing it. And more importantly, my own personal motto: I may need something in there! The Mary Poppins bag of my past has held a few important, too hastily discarded bits that I’ve been lucky enough to go back for and find intact.

The bit now in question is something I hated myself for as a teenager. I would never speak without forethought. As a floundering teenager trying to make sense of a senseless world, that meant I never spoke. I wrote a lot. You learn to express yourself in writing, in your own time, following paralyzing, nearly endless forethought that becomes afterthought that becomes a young girl’s nonsensical dear diary entry.

I need to walk back from the opposite precipice I strived for and reached. It’s just too dangerous on that edge; dark and ugly in too many places.

So, here I am shining the tarnished, discarded bit of former self. I remembered a quote I’d read, but never took ownership of. I went on the www hunt and found it was a tenet of Buddhism.

====================================

Right Speech is the third of the eight path factors in the Noble Eightfold Path, and belongs to the virtue division of the path.

The definition
“And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.”
— SN 45.8

Five keys to right speech
“Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

“It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will.”
— AN 5.198

down home America

Early on a Saturday morning there is a booming knock on my front door.  I corral the dogs and answer, seeing a crew cab pickup on the street.

A large, bald man wearing an un-tucked golf shirt, says, “Hi, I’m..” so and so, “a Lee County deputy, and I’m running for Sheriff”.

He’d left a leaflet in the door when I didn’t answer immediately and it had fallen into my hands.  Holding back investigative canines, I tell him I’ll read it.

Lee County has a good Sheriff, I wouldn’t have looked at other candidates.

I looked at this man who braved my guard dogs to speak to me.  He made eye contact, made no attempt to sell himself and looked me in the eye when he sincerely said, “Thank you for your son’s service’, before he turned to walk away.

The encounter left me thinking my grandfather probably voted for people he met on his front porch.

It left me thinking it may be time for change. After all, hasn’t life shown me “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” often means, “it’s good enough not to be worth the fear of change”.

It left me feeling a large respect for this young man who believes in something enough to knock on doors to introduce the prospect of change.

“Change creates the threat of loss and the threat of loss creates resistance”. – author unknown

victory has defeated you

“Victory has defeated you.”

“The Dark Knight Rises”,  Bane to Batman after he’s beaten him (Christopher and Jonathon Nolan)

I was struck by the meaning, causing me to search my own quotes, and although there may be one better, I found, “A hungry man is happy because he believes in food”.

It’s a nagging in my soul not easily shared.

I’ve been victorious, I’ve not been hungry for a long while and there is little fight in me.  I have no goal, I am content, but the feeling is something close to arrogant and that concerns me on some level.  I can’t escape the feeling that there is somewhere I’m meant to be, something I’m meant to do, perhaps someone I’m meant to connect with.

The movie was fast paced and certain things felt odd, but the ending was epic – both in it heroics and its chronicle.  For you find that none of the evil was evil, in and of itself.  Every fight was a fight born of pain and suffering.  The antagonists were motivated by their own misguided morals and passions.

Gift for making lemonade

“Why hadn’t I realized how much of what I thought of as love was simply my own highly developed gift for making lemonade? What failure of imagination had caused me to forget that life was full of other possibilities, including the possibility that eventually I would fall in love again?”

Nora Ephron

 

stories

I've just had a revelation, due to my communications with the enthralling stranger from Texas.

I like to write because I view everything as a story.

Green

I've recently become aware that green seems to have edged out red as my favorite color.

I'm cross legged on my bed with my lap desk, a cup of tea in a dark red tea cup and saucer, and a little pink brocade case that I found in my mother's purse after she died.  I'm keeping my colored pens in it.

I miss her today…..

When I let my guard down grief wants to take hold.  Like opening the only drawer in the kitchen I haven't emptied when I needed a bulb for my plaid kitchen lamp and I know she has some there.

The grief wants to take hold.  But I don't let it.  Not yet.  I'm not sure I can deal with it.

I want to hold the book I journal in, open it, write in it, in color, but sometimes the words won't come. 

So I look for something to prompt me.

Sometimes it works.

a familiar place then

28    Write
about a
familiar
place now
and then.

On my birthday perhaps that should be my birthplace.

I so love to be outdoors and have all my life.  I was fascinated by the brook on Genung St. and would cross is on stepping stones or dip my feet in.  I feel the shade, I feel the air.

Ironically, I was told earlier in the week that my Aunt's house next to that brook was nearly destroyed by flooding from Hurricane Irene, flooding caused by the debris blocking the brook.

How sad to think that.  How surely I know you can't ever go back.  You can look but you can't go back because it's no longer really there.

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