Monday, January 27, 2014

What Awareness Is

Intersection, 2011
This piece was written by a student, J.S., for the first class of this year. The prompt is for students to find an "intention word" for the year. This was her response.

I deeply appreciate how she gets into the nitty gritty of how we can relate with the parts of ourselves we don't like with real compassion - simply by seeing how they are a part of our physical existence. Everyone in the class really appreciated the physical imagery - it helps pop open an understanding that otherwise stays conceptual.

Awareness sometimes sounds passive - or is conceptualized this way. This student really makes it clear that awareness is active, and something we need to practice - a lot! - with gentleness.


Awareness. Attunement.

I’d like to be more aware and awake this year. Less caught up in the stories I tell myself, the chronic parade of tiresome explanations, expectations, assumptions that probably stem from some past truth, a hurt, or disappointment, but that may or may not have any relevance to the immediate now.

Yet it’s so easy to make those assumptions relevant – to believe they’re true and act on them and then bring about a negative situation in the very real here and now.

I would like to step outside the accretion of all that conditioned thinking, those automatic feelings. I feel as if there is a part to my personality that I can’t seem to shake off, a part that can be small, petty, gritchy, bitchy, prone to anger and judgment. I’d like to gather all that up, collect it all like you’d pull up lint from a garment, to suck up and vacuum the dusty, dirty, debris-ridden portions of my psyche and then empty it out and be done. But it keeps being there, oozing and emanating from my character much like sweat and mucus and oil are just a part of what’s daily produced by our bodies.

Monday, January 20, 2014

My Mother, My Brothers.

January 24th, next Friday, will be the 17th anniversary of my mother's death.

I don't formally recognize it every year. It almost always it takes me by surprise if I don't, as if my body knows (and it does) exactly when it the anniversary is, even if my mind has forgotten.

This week, the week of the anniversary, I will go to where our family is buried - mother included - at our family cabin in southern Wisconsin. The brother who owns it has decided to sell it, which is fair. I can't imagine having a second property to keep up, and this one is laden with all kinds of heavy family history, as well as some good memories. It's time to let go.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Choice and Victimhood

$5 directions Portland December 2010
Dylan had the following written on our wipe-off board in our room for awhile. This is a place at the foot of our bed where we keep important reminders. This one was given to her by her therapist.
The Choice: Where there's conflict, I can go either way
A. Pragmatism - DOING
"Hey, it's cool. I'll do this other thing to try and make it better."
This is: dynamic, active, decisive, assertive. I am not a victim/Agency.
B. Self-Pity - BEING
"I am a disappointment and I suck."
This is: static, passive, relinquishing control. Victim hood.
I've been exploring victim hood a lot lately, since it became clear this last summer that the victim/rescuer/perpetrator triangle is really the main theme underneath my Bermuda Triangles memoir. It's painful stuff - especially because of course I'd love to say I am all over that now, but I am not. These are deeply embedded habits and they pop up every-fucking-where - in my marriage, and intimate relationships the most, but even at the grocery store, waiting in line to ring up.