I'll write a little further here while the back-up's going on.
I just moved into a new understanding of the concept of "figure/ground". I've been 'seeing' that theme a lot in my life in much more personal application than the old Gestaldt (?) illusion that appears to be a vase when you look at it one way, or the profiles of two faces nose to nose.
It's a strange day. I feel very restless, not quite able to settle down to anything yet unsure which is my best direction. I wonder if these feelings fit into 'ground' at all.
Anyway: new understanding of figure/ground. The water the fish swims in; the tip of the iceberg, the wind beneath my wings: figure/ground. The Ground hiding in plain sight.
As a child I attempted to cut myself off from the Ground, tightly squeezing myself into Figure. That meant that though I may have been protected from some of the dangers of the Ground, I also didn't have access to its pulse, its...I don't know what to call It. "Power" is a very inadequate word to describe It--I picture It as the movement of the waves a boat is floating on. Bob Schwartz, in "Winning Through Enlightenment" describes It as Context.
A consequence of trying to split away from the Ground is that I mistakenly attribute elements within Ground as being located inside of me. Trying to keep Ground out is futile; information leaks in in the form of feelings. Which I attribute wholly to me as their generator. If they are uncomfortable feelings I feel totally responsible for them and I fear that they might mean something bad about me. I see now that I can relieve myself of some of that responsibility now: for feelings that exist and for other people's feelings.
I see that being cut off from Ground has meant that I haven't been able to operate out of a whole Self. I've been like a child learning to swing, pumping furiously and going nowhere...because I haven't yet learned the part about letting go of effort, or at least excess effort, in order to work in harmony with the forces that make swinging possible. A certain amount of allowing in 'emptiness' and trust is required to swing oneself.
As a person who has always tended toward excessive effort, I am trying to let my nervous system tolerate some emptiness as I try to learn the cues that will enable Us to work together.