Since I wrote this post the U.S. administration's actions on immigration have moved us into a new level of horror. Hate and fear are presiding. We cannot go on as usual. We cannot go on as if nothing is happening. What that means for each of us is different. But we have to let it disturb us. And we can’t let fear or anything else stop us from our work in the world. In this spirit, I share with you my original post.
This week I’ve come the closest I’ve come in two years to not being able to produce a blog. Or I could describe it as overwhelming fear and frustration swallowing me up and producing “nothing."
I thought about (and in some cases started) writing about…
surprise at being held, twice
gender (this one a candidate for the underlying problems I am having… but we’ll save that for another day)
And when it’s not clear what to write the usual voices appear.
"This isn’t your diary. Don’t be so self-obsessed."
"Write about therapy."
"I don’t want to be a therapy spokesperson."
In other words - a human at odds with herself emerges. A human like every other human.
A human who negates herself - as if I can do anything else but speak from my own perspective.
Whether I tell you what I had for breakfast or write about therapy these are my words. Coming out of me from a history and a context that is mine.
To pretend otherwise is violence - to believe our words are anything other than ours is the beginning of violence.
The fact that my words are mine does not negate them - on the contrary, it gives them their importance.
Then there is the - "write about therapy - don’t write about therapy" piece. The bottom line of which is a desire to please my readers.
Many have said to me - "write what you want to write." The most profound advice of course. When I reflect I can see that the worries about what you will think are echoey resonances of a frightening start where I had damn well better have an idea of what the people around me were thinking.
The idea I need to please an audience is so patently false. My readers are a self-chosen splinter. A micro-microcosm of the world’s people. To please is an impossible and ultimately useless endeavour. What good is it if you feel pleased with me after reading a post?
The more meaningful concern is to communicate rather than to please. To write in a way that shows you something of my thinking and experience that is clear enough to illuminate or prompt something in you.
The trick. If that is the right word. The trick to meaning and discovery and connection with self and others is staying close. Of everything I have learned this is one of the crown jewels.
Staying close could be called phenomenology.
Staying close is being with what is. Exactly how it is. It is staying with the feelings and thoughts and sensations as they are.
I used to find this thought boring. I thought - phenomenology - eek - attention only - boring! Breathing - boring!
Some pieces have come together and I am now able to trust more fully in the staying close.
Staying close is creative. It’s where actual things happen. Thoughts and forces coming together into something new. Creation is a thing that actually happens.
And while we’re busy talking or running around it’s not actually happening or we can't see it as such.
So the slowing down (boring or - more accurate - scary) is a part of getting close and staying close. So that something can happen.
Real thoughts, thinking, experienced by ourselves and with others. Real feelings and noticings and all of it.
It’s all there in the staying close.
This is what happens when I can’t write. If I stay really close to what I am thinking - in this case, the thoughts about pleasing you and the thoughts about being too self-obsessed - I can think about those things. And see what they are for themselves. And see that this reflection is valuable and worth writing.
Also, I can see that in the staying close is the creativity. I hadn’t ever said or thought it that way before. I got there by staying close.
I found creativity (i.e. life) in what was happening even though what was happening was frustrating and unpleasant.
Staying close stimulates so much - staying close takes us somewhere new.
The next moment.
It is good to be with the moments.