Thursday, February 18, 2010

Damn. Spamn.

All right.  I've got to turn on the dreaded word verification because I'm sick of getting notified of comments on old posts that turn out to be spam.

I'm a kid at Christmas when my email program animates; the prospect of a comment like opening a package.  I'm sick of being distracted from other work I'm doing by spam comments.

I only hope that this setting retroactively protects my older posts, because that's where the spammers hit.  I suppose there's some comic relief in finding ads for penile enhancers among my comments, but I get to choose when to activate my sense of humor.

Spammers, approach me directly.  Maybe if you pay me I might consider it.

My apologies to those who hate word verification.  The devil made me do it.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Dilemma part 2

Say someone you know has a friend.  That friend has two brothers.  One of the brothers is married with children, and the other not.  The married brother's wife decided to start a business, and borrowed from her brother-in-law.  She and her husband found a site, which required a five year lease and the owner wanted a co-signer in case they defaulted.  They begged, they cajoled.  This was the perfect spot!  No other place would do!  Please, please!  Reluctantly, the unmarried brother signed. 

The business did not do well.  It had problems getting licensure with their state and local governments, and so they were stuck paying months on a lease in a building where they couldn't operate. They started out behind, and then did not recover. It's a business that requires a  steady stream of clients.  In addition to their lease they also had to have a specialized person on staff, so their overhead was high.  Some days the building stood empty. 

The married brother lost his job.  He filed a lawsuit for wrongful firing, in a case that would grind on for 18 months.

The brother who had lent the money realized he may soon be responsible for a lease on a building a thousand miles away.  So when they came to him for more money, he felt he had no choice but to give it to them.   And they came again and again and soon he was sending them money monthly and keeping them afloat.  The promise was he'd be paid back if the lawsuit was successful.

No one was supposed to know.  The married couple asked him to keep it a secret.  But one day, he told his sister, the friend, about what was going on.  He asked his sister to continue to keep it a secret from their parents.  Their parents were also helping the couple monthly and had no idea how deeply in trouble they were.  He also requested that brother and sister-in-law not know that she knew.

The friends' brother continued the flow of money.  When the friend counseled him to stop he said he couldn't because his brother was saying he, wife, kids would all be in the street.  The friend begged him to tell their parents, who are well off and can afford to help to a greater degree than they were.   Furthermore, they'd be willing. The friend said they should get together on a conference call and see if there was something they could work out: he needs to get this hook out of him.  Her brother refused.  And so, sworn to secrecy herself she felt she could only watch as the situation played out.  His brother's wife became accustomed to the monthly stipend and expected it each month.

He asked his married brother if he could see his wife's books for the business, so he could have an idea of where his money was going.  His brother refused, saying his wife doesn't show her books to anyone, not even him.  Lending brother couldn't bring himself to confront the wife directly and insist.

Tax time came, and his hit was huge.  His sister asked if he could take a deduction for supporting a small business.  He said he could have, but he'd been doing the taxes with their dad, and would have had to reveal "the arrangement".  So he swallowed and paid the taxes on income that had only passed through his hands on the way to someone else.  He could have sheltered that income, put it into a fund for retirement, made a down payment on a house.  Nearly frenzied with frustration the friend urged him to come clean with their father, let him know what was going on, quit carrying this burden by himself.  He said he couldn't do it.

The court case drug on.  The defendants found ways to delay and delay.  Each delay meant not only hardship to the family, but also to the brother who was keeping them afloat.  There was a very real possibility that if the ruling went against the defendants they could appeal, and the case could be strung out for years.

The case ended in an out-of-court agreement, and the plaintiff, her brother, was awarded a settlement.  Jubilant, he called the friend, his sister, to set up a three way call with their brother, to break the fabulous news.  For a brief time while the call was being set up, the friend was alone on the line with the lending brother.  He was in tears, as if he'd just been released from prison. "This means I can buy a house!"

The award was dispersed.  The friend asked her brother if he had been paid back.  He said no, in fact he was kind of unhappy because he'd thought he should be "closer to the top of the list" than he was.  Disgusted, the friend said, "If they'd come to you with a check straightaway, that would be one thing.  If they're going to delay like this you should ask for interest.  What you had to pay in taxes, and the interest you could have gotten on that money was a big hit, and nobody should feel entitled to someone forgiving them that amount.  Essentially you've had to pay to give them money!  And I don't see that they're even acknowledging this!"

The friend is feeling very conflicted.  In the first place her lending-brother is a sovereign adult, and is free to spend his money however he wishes, even if it's enabling their brother and sister-in-law.  It is none of her business.  To "rescue" him would be demeaning, would it not, and would also violate a confidence.  A core part of the friend's self-identity is that she can be trusted, and will always keep confidence.  On the other hand, it appears that her brother is constitutionally unable to refuse this pair, and hasn't she been complicit in his bleeding by keeping that confidence?

Something about this is deeply offensive to her.  It has to do with appearances being not what they seem.  It has to do with her brother and sister-in-law appearing as if they're not taking money from other brother, when they are.

It seems actually a classic dilemma, so  I would guess it's been universally experienced.  How have you experienced this...what did you do?...if you were the Friend, what would you want your friend to tell you?

Minor (petty) Dilemma/update at bottom

I was a stinker, and I'm teetering on a guilty impulse to undo it, with no one the wiser.

It started as a good will gesture.  Connor has snowboarding lessons today on Mt. Hood.  This is his second in a series of 4.  He and Gary leave the house early, and are gone well into the evening.  So Gary decided he and the boys would fix a Valentine's dinner last night instead.

It was a very nice meal and left a very big mess.  Which was still in the kitchen this morning when I got up after they departed. 

I would have hoped that a Valentine's dinner surprise might include the follow-through of cleaning up as well.  That seems it would round out the gift.

I dialed the cell phone.  Connor answered.  I asked if the dog had been fed and let outside to relieve himself.  No.  I asked him to tell his father that I was unhappy at having been left with a really dirty kitchen.

It's been a sore point anyway.  Nothing that people with a healthy relationship and functional communication skills couldn't handle, but we're beyond that.  I usually plan the meals, shop for them, cook.  I do a lot of the clean-up as-I-go, but the division of labor is that he cleans up the dishes.

We don't eat terribly late, and there is a lot of time in the evening where he could put the dishes in the dishwasher.  In the mornings I'm the first one up, and I like to have a free sink when I'm preparing lunches for school, and breakfasts.  So it's been a recurring resentment when there's a sink full of dirty dishes to work around as I'm trying to do my job.

I think it's not even so much the presence of the dishes when I've requested respectfully that he clean them up (more than once) so I have a clear space to work in.  The resentment comes from his not acknowledging that making his life easier is at the expense of making mine more difficult.  He resents that it bothers me.

He and Connor are gone all day.  If I leave the dishes for him I will be the one living with them.

My behavior was indefensible, though, to make Connor the conduit for communicating my displeasure.  Classic selfish dysfunction, to have involved my child.

Gary:  (I could hear him off the phone):  "Tell her to do the dishes. It's no problem."

Me:  "Yeah.  No problem for him."

When we rang off I was tempted by a wicked thought.  Let him deal with a mess in his workspace.  I went downstairs and opened up his home office.  I found a plastic box and loaded it with the dishes and pans and carried it down.  Unloaded the box on his desk and floor--careful that the bottoms weren't wet so they could damage any paperwork.

The whole time I'm chiding myself a bit thinking, "This is more effort than it would be to just do them..."  ..."Since our understanding is that one of us cooks and the other does dishes, isn't he within reason to have expected that I do the clean-up (even if this was supposedly a treat they were doing for me)?" ... "If the dinner was a gift for Valentine's, maybe my gift to him should be the Valentine's clean-up?"  ..."You're making a lot more work for yourself if you relent and decide to cart all these dishes back upstairs and do them."  ..."That's really childish, and it's not going to help things."

I guess that's the angel on my one shoulder.  On the other is the devil remembering, "Tell HER to do the dishes.  It's no problem (it's no problem, it's no problem, it's no problem)!"  Rage rises when I consider my real grievance was again being dismissed, discounted, and minimized.  If he'd said (to Connor so I could hear), "Yeah, it is kind of cold to leave her that big mess; tell her I'm really sorry" the dishes would still have been there, but I probably would have done them charitably.  I would have been inclined to take the perspective that while a special dinner doesn't usually involve the consequences of cleanup to the recipient, I could make that my gift.

The dishes are there for now.  Who will prevail, angel, or devil?


Well, I split the difference.  I left the dishes down there.  When he and Connor got home they were in pretty high spirits and the mood was pleasant.  Gary asked if I'd slept in and I replied I'd gotten up shortly after they left.   There was a little silence as we both remembered my phone call, and he mentioned it first:  "Oh yeah.  You called...about the dishes..." (pleading tone) "I know you were bummed...but I'd made you dinner!"  I said,"But I thought when you made a gift of dinner you didn't expect the recipient to clean it up.  When I make you dinner for your birthday I don't expect you to have to clean it up."  He said, "But no one gave me a Valentine's present." (Side note.  I quit giving him valentines several years ago.  Just as we're beyond give-and-take negotiations to resolve issues, so are we also beyond valentines.  I've quit pretending.  He's more about the form, or propriety of the event, so he'll keep up appearances.  I don't bother.  I wouldn't have cared if he'd not made a dinner.  I don't expect it or particularly want it.  But still, a gift is a gift.)  I said, "If you'd said anything but, 'tell her to do them', if you'd said anything like you understood it was kind of unpleasant, I would have willingly done them and considered them my gift to you."  Pause.  "So I took them downstairs and put them in your office."

"WHAT??? "

"They're down in your office."

Feeling charitable, I even told him where to find the tote I'd used so he could bring them all up in one trip.  (I heard him say to Connor and Scott, "She put the dishes in my office!" and they all laughed.)  I let him bring them up, then I put the dishes, bowls, and silverware in the dishwasher.  I told him he could do the pans and clean out the vegetable leavings still in the sink. And called it good.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Deadbeat mom

Third time's a charm...and I may be beyond 3.  I think the first time I got a call from Connor's school secretary I was in the bathtub at home.  It rang 3 times, which is the threshold before it's sent to voice mail. Then a little while later it rang again.

I'm funny about a ringing phone.  I just can't bring myself to run for one.  I reason that answering machines have removed that obligation.

This has always been a sore spot between Gary and me.  I think he believes that the person calling knows that I have chosen to not run for the phone, and has hurt feelings.

So my first strike was that day when I was in the bath and the phone rang and I didn't answer. That would be the day that Connor was actually feverish at school.  Having called twice at my house (and by the time I was out of the tub I'd forgotten that the phone had rung and so had not checked for messages) the school secretary called Gary at work.  He went and got Connor and brought him home.

Strike two was last year when I took the boys to a matinee after school.  Connor bought two packages of  Red Vines and ate them both.  Late that night I woke to retching and a lake of red in front of the downstairs toilet (why can't they put it where it's supposed to go?).  When it was time to get up he seemed fine, noisy and active as usual, so I sent him to school.

Later that day I got a call.  He wasn't feeling well and would I come and get him?

As we were walking out to the car he said he'd told the school secretary that he'd thrown up in the wee hours and she exclaimed, "But you're supposed to wait 24 hrs after vomiting to return to school!"

Great. That's a qualifier for loser mom; sending my sick kid to school to infect everyone else.

Worse, now Connor knows that there's a 24 hr policy for a cough or a sneeze, and he can hold public humiliation over my head as leverage next time he doesn't feel like school.

There were a few other minor events that add to the impression:  calls from the school lunchroom lady to tell me his lunch account is delinquent. The kid had the check--it was in his pack.  He just kept forgetting to get it out and take it in to the lunchroom.

I think I put the final nail in the coffin on Tuesday.

Scott didn't have school at all Monday and Tuesday.  The teachers were preparing their report cards or something like that.  (I haven't seen a report card.)  I'd made them appointments with their opthamologist months in advance for Tuesday.  I had it on the calendar.  Monday I was at Connor's school to read with one of his classmates, and I asked the school secretary if they needed written notice in advance of my coming to get him out of school early.  She said I only needed to come and they'd call the classroom.

Tuesday morning as he walked out to the bus I told him that I'd be there to get him around 2:15.  Then I set about to entertain Scott.  I'd promised him if we culled some of the toys he no longer uses we could take them to a resale store and I'd give him whatever amount they bought them for.  The toys had been in the van in boxes for months.  We hadn't put the last row of seats in because there was no room. Gary had been complaining.  Tuesday seemed like the day to finally get it taken care of.

Part of  my reluctance was that I'd lost the print-out I'd made of consignment stores.  Also, I dimly remembered that only one of those stores paid cash for items as opposed to in-store trade, but I couldn't remember its name.  It's taken months to work up the motivation to re-invent the wheel and find the name and address of the store.  I did that while I waited for Scott to wake up.

As I repacked the stuff and did an informal inventory I realized a great deal of the bulk was in VHS videos.  I tried calling the store to see if they even accepted the cartridges and got their voice mail saying to call back during regular hours.  I really didn't want to have to pack up these videocassettes if they weren't going to take them, so I wanted to talk to them first.  Since Gary's working from home now I had to wait for him to get off the line.  That delayed me another 20 minutes; when I reached them I spoke to a young woman who said they would take the movies.

So we were off.  I took the dog too thinking we could make a loop and stop by the Petsmart and get his toenails clipped.  I have clippers, but his nails are black, his feet sensitive, and once I drew blood.  So I've lost my nerve and he's lost confidence in me.

Now there was a little bit of anxiety about taking the dog because he's been having diarrhea again.  I took him to the vet right after the first of the year with the same problem--off his food, loose stools, general pitifulness. I feared the worst since the last dog that had gone off her food had had a fatal cancer.  The vet pronounced him healthy but for an overgrowth of certain intestinal flora that had overwhelmed other intestinal flora.  He gave me an anti-biotic and some pro-biotic powder, and we left the office $250 poorer.  Within a few days he'd seemed healthy again.  Then we switched his food to a cheaper Cost-co brand.  Last week he went off his food again and the bowel stuff started again.  He's controlled himself well and not had any accidents in the house, but I was nervous about the car.  So I really hoped we wouldn't be too long in the resale shop.

We had 5 bags of stuff to schlep about a block.  Scott was a pretty good sport about it.  When we walked in the sales person asked if I'd been the one to call about the videos.  She was so sorry but she had misspoken when she said they took them...they only take DVD's.  A customer in the store said she thought another resale store close by might accept them.  In the meantime the owner went through the bags, removed about a 15th of it and paid me $7.  Back to the car we schlepped.  I took the dog for a short walk just in case he was uncomfortable, then we drove over to the other place.  They wanted 20 minutes to look through the bags we carried in.  So Scott, who really doesn't like walks much, and the dog, who adores walks, took a little tour through that neighborhood. I'd briefly lived in a house close by when I first moved to Portland 30 years ago and took Scott by to see.

When we returned  they had taken one item and gave me $3 for it.

Well, that was an hour and a half well spent. Hardly worth the gas, the time, and the trepidation about the dog's bowels.   I schlepped the bags back out to the van and we set off for the Petsmart.

We left the freeway as the news came on.  Admiral Mike Mullen was recommending an end to Don't Ask Don't Tell.  The last thing I heard him say was that it was wrong to deny people the opportunity to serve their country on the basis of "who they are" when I saw a motorcycle cop ahead of me.  He was traveling on a cross street from my left and his lights were on.  By the time I saw him it was too late to slow down so he could pull out ahead of me.  I was in the left hand lane so there wasn't any place to pull over so he could go around.  It wasn't until I moved into a left hand turn lane for the Petsmart lot that I realized I was his prey.  He followed me right in.  Had clocked me going too fast in a 35 mph zone.  I'm not in this area very often and hadn't seen the speed zone signs, and could swear I was at the same speed as the other cars around me.  He told me my driving record was good, so maybe I could qualify for an online traffic school.  If I did they would dismiss the ticket and it wouldn't go on my record, though I would have to pay some fee associated with taking the class.  I have to go in to the municipal court in person to arrange it.

Got the mutt's nails trimmed.  Home.  Before going inside I let him wander a bit in our back yard in case he had to go, when my cell phone rang.  I saw that it was the school calling and that it was nearly 3:00.  I wondered if Connor was sick and tried to answer, hitting the hold button instead.  Lost the call.  Went inside and called the school.  The secretary answered, and I asked if they'd just tried to call.  She said that Connor was in the office, had been there for the past 45 minutes and was insisting that I was supposed to pick him up for some kind of doctor's appointment?  When I gasped she said, "Did you forget?"  What could I say, but "ohmygoshyes".  She said, "Well, I scolded Connor. I told him that he's supposed to stay in class and we call him when you arrive, but he was so sure you were going to be here...and the trouble is, he missed his music class!" It was 2:50, the time that we were supposed to have been at the opthamologist's office, so I surrendered any possibility of making the appointment. Lamely I told her to tell him to just ride the bus home as usual.  Then got on the phone to make my mea culpas to the dr.

The woman I spoke with was very kind and understanding, even without me telling her the whole story. She merely coded us as a canceled appointment, instead of a missed, which would have meant a fee. Then we rescheduled for a month hence.

But my reputation is sealed, I think.  I am, and always will be a Deadbeat Mom.  Or if nothing else, a poster child for the drawbacks of being a middle-aged mother.

And I still have to go to the municipal court and clean up the ticket.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


When I'm mulling over some "new" insights I'll frequently find I have visited these ideas before.  This is an excerpt from my journal about 2 1/2 years ago, and seems pertinent to what I've been thinking and writing about lately.


Interestingly I found an article online about a book called, “Mistakes Were Made—But Not By Me”.  The author was interviewed.  The topic was cognitive dissonance, and the defensive psychological maneuvers one makes to reduce internal conflict.  What can explain someone pressing forward in the face of evidence against a course of action, once they’ve begun it.

I think this is exactly what I’ve been talking about when I consider doubting myself.  Is something appearing in a certain way to me in order to reduce a conflict I have about it:  is my brain selecting certain facts to support its own point of view, or to protect a choice I made earlier?  Is it selecting facts that would cause me to not feel so bad about something I’ve lost, or selecting facts that give me reason to pursue something?

There’s a sense of being held between two poles, in a state of tension that’s almost unbearable:  the sense of wanting what I can get from someone or something, but it beginning to look unlikely I will get it.  How long do I hold out?  I wonder if this is another of those places where no one else can go—like death.  When I die, there will be no one there but me.  In some of these situations of evaluating my behavior or possible behavior, there is a place where no one is there but me.  A mistake I’ve made all my life is to act as if there IS somebody else there—someone whose prescription I should follow.

There’s a bigger story about seeing myself as ‘victim’ to someone else's mistaken feelings or conclusions.  I see that there is a sort of drama component when talking to one person about some hurtful act another person did to me—I portray myself as ‘the reasonable one’ and the other as being inexplicably unreasonable.  In my recent history I have that story going with Gary.  I talk about it with someone else to receive reassurance that I’m not the crazy one, that my behaviors and responses ARE normal and reasonable and to bond with this other person over receiving those assurances.

I suppose there’s another approach to framing that though.  Inexplicable things happen, people behave inexplicably, and we often feel hurt by it.  Rather than talking being “just” a self-serving way of reassuring myself that I’m ‘right’ and someone else ‘wrong’, talking can also be a way of getting some insight into the principles and facts of the human condition that gave rise to the feelings in the first place.  Bonding with the other person can be beyond getting assurance about being “right”—it can be the bonding process of working together to gain understandings about ideas.
Part of where this takes me is again wondering how we can possibly form relationships when this scrim of perceptual filters and ego-protections our brain manufactures is present.  How can we evaluate anything that comes in through our senses, when the basis of its apprehension may be shifting.  I suppose that’s a sort of quantum mechanics—the idea about what given facts we’ll select from any given moment to reinforce our reality and what emotional color that will have.  That the facts we select may be influenced by what has happened just prior, or in a greater context, or by certain fears, desires…

In my past I’ve been upset at how the facts that make a certain behavior seem reasonable at the time seem to encourage a different behavior when I look back on it later.  I’ve been frustrated by the fact that only certain facts were available to my awareness, even though time shows that other facts were present too, but I’d not distinguished them from the background.  Perhaps this is witnessing how quantum mechanics works on this macro scale.  Even though objects don’t behave this way, a flower becoming a vase and vice versa, the facts we select from DO.  The conditions of our emotions and senses as the bedrock from which we select our facts are the elements of chance and randomness that is at the core of each subatomic particle…

So where does one go from THAT?  The realization that quantum mechanics may be manifesting on this level in the choices we make and the basis from which we make our choices.  Which are all fluid and may be present at any given moment, or not.  It’s all at an incredibly complex level of interaction.

It seems that history, recent and more distant, might be like the force of gravity, which Einstein said is space warped by large-mass objects—we experience that as gravity.  Perhaps history is what warps –what, perception?  Is perception analogous to gravity, which really isn’t a downward sucking motion at all, but merely the warping of space by the mass of the earth.  (So again, what the hell is space?)

So does that mean the fact that in recent (hypothetical) history Gary has said something hurtful have to warp my perception, which may be warped already in that direction by history a bit more distant but somewhat consistent.  How does this work out, I guess I’m wondering, on a practical level?  Is there a way I can be free of my perception, or be free of it warping in proximity to events/history?

“The United States is a country that believes in Belief” is something the author of the ‘Mistakes…’ book said.  I think behind many of my questions is the question about whether there is a True Objective Reality against which things can be independently measured?  (And if not, what?  I guess it seems important that there be an outside True Belief rather than that we’re all just grabbing at straws to keep ourselves oriented—as we hurtle toward death?  That whole notion of randomness, it seems like meaninglessness.  And each of us humans that do more than just respond on a level of apparency is looking for meaning, I think.  I think ultimate meaninglessness has been an existential question that’s troubled me all my life, even as a child.  Does it make my search invalid, I guess is one question, if I just seize on something random to orient myself around?  Like in a big flood, each of us caught in it are floating by, or trying to stay afloat, clutching our little pieces of jetsam and proclaiming they’re the One True Way.  If indeed, I’ve not really latched on to a Larger Truth and am only spinning by on one of many pieces available to grab onto, does it somehow invalidate the piece that’s keeping me afloat?

And along those lines I’m reminded of a question I had earlier, which is, I’m giving myself permission to give myself over to this writing and musing, thinking that it’s leading Somewhere.  I’m giving myself permission to spend what I’m spending on seeing Sharon in the faith that it’s leading Somewhere.  Somewhere psychically better than Here, where I have more wherewithal to act effectively…to have more of Myself available to me and be able to live at a higher level of personal satisfaction.

What the fuck am I looking for?  What the fuck am I trying to accomplish with therapy?  How can I KNOW when it’s supposed to end?  How can I know if I’m ‘just’ indulging myself at the expense of other pressing things I should be doing, or if I really AM on a path that has an agenda and a clear ending point.


And how can I really know?  The path laid down by people who’ve come before us with the mythical archetypal stories of the hero’s journeys—maybe those aren’t so much a pathway to go down that someone’s discovered, but instead are just an attempt to find reason in life.  Sharon’s work with me involves following the structure laid out in the myths:  The myths are Everybody’s stories, or being far from Home and the experiences we have, often adverse, as we try to return Home.  I’m pretty sure this is the template that a Jungian would use, which is what Sharon is.  The particulars differ, but the template is that one is separated from Home (a universal) may wander lost for many years, realizes he/she is lost, and attempts to return home, having to take a dangerous Journey in order to do so.  So perhaps my recent story could be of me having floundered lost for so many years, taking some false leads, but ultimately my path guiding me toward Home whether I realized it or not.  Various nuggets of encouragement associated with various things (thoughts, events, interpretations of events, books, passages in magazines, conversations with people…) would encourage me that I was on a path I should be on.  Finally I realize I am lost and have a vision of what Home is like.  I get a good look at it, and then in order to get there I have to return to the perspective from eye level with the waves that are rising awful high.  Or, I was on a hill that gave me some perspective, but then my path plunges into a dark and dangerous forest.

I suppose that person would despair sometimes and wonder if they’d REALLY seen that vision of Home, if it really existed, or if they were doomed to wander indefinitely in the dark.  If Home had been a figment
and if the fact they were in this forest at all proved something negative about their character

I guess what I’m saying, is that I do have an expectation that this writing, this time to myself, this giving priority to this time, this therapy and this money being spent in therapy—this is leading Someplace.  I’m not just treading water, even though right now it’s easy to believe I am.  Fear that I’m deceiving myself in my hoping that treading water is not a permanent condition that will later appear as a blip in the overall scheme of things regardless of how little progress I see now.  Fear that I’m telling myself that, but in actuality I AM in a dead end.  A condition that will last forever because I’m not using my will power to lift myself out of it.

I guess that’s part of my question, is my very search, and if I’m going about it in the right way.  I was raised in the tradition that humans are flawed (sinful) and that there is a
True Way and that it is our will that keeps us adhering to this true way, and that it’s very difficult.  So the strength of one’s will is shown by how closely they can adhere to the true way.  I’ve sort of been tyrannized and castigated by this my whole life.  And in opposition to it is this:  the idea that inherent in humans, or maybe only some, is a wisdom that will guide one through the experiences one needs most.  That adhering to the One True Way actually interferes with this process of moving toward wholeness and enlightenment.  That it’s more organic, and authentic to listen to each experience as it happens free of judgment, and get what is needed from it.  That point of view assumes that the Soul wants to grow in positive directions, is oriented in a direction of expansion.  And odd the paradox that in expansion there is wholeness, where common sense would call it dis-integration.

So what IS my journey.  And is the end point a place where I can still recognize my life, or does it reveal itself to my perception as meaningless ultimately?

At any given point am I  where I’m supposed to be, or am I there through error, and worse, through continuing error?  Such as, I’ve considered myself to be in a recovery period where I need to not volunteer, need to not be out doing outwardly useful things, need to be spending time in interior spaces.  Now am I still here because it’s the right place to be?  Or am I here because it’s habit and I’m waiting for a signal that never comes?  A signal I’m in error in waiting for, because it’s unrealistic to expect that when I’m ready for the next move, I’ll KNOW it.  I think that’s been the basic framework of what I’ve told myself about this period:  That I’ll know when this inward time is coming to an end because the time will begin to weigh heavy on me, rather than seeming to vanish.  That there will be a sense of knowing inside that it’s time to go.

So, then, to flesh out the template of a journey:  Did my exile from ‘home’ begin when I was faced with the truth that my mother didn’t protect me and so had to turn away from that truth and thus had to turn away from me?  And thus lived a life with a major blind spot because at a core level I couldn’t allow myself to see the truth of something?  Yet I felt honor-bound to protect the truth (finding its manifestation in my behavior of doubting myself, or attributing being self-serving to myself and therefore feeling I couldn’t trust myself).  I was tripped up by just how far a scale to take the truth.  And I suppose that’s partly about how far I involve other people.  Because I sense that there is a scale of the truth which is analogous to the molecular level of matter where we enter a realm of reality that’s its own universe.  On the thought and mind level, there is a point where another person cannot exist and it is not accurate thinking to make basic decisions from this place from the point of view of another.

I keep trying to describe this.  I keep having a sense where the components of our thoughts and emotions go deeper than the level where Other humans can contact them.  In my case, I think that’s the place where I decide whether I’m doing right action or not in staying in this swimming hole, plunging the depths.  Whether whatever ‘Other’ people would do really applies at such a level.

Early on I discovered that from the level where I experienced reality, present were many contradictory and uncomfortable emotions—uncomfortable in how they involved other people.  If I’m responding to my high school sweetheart telling me he loves me by telling him that I love him too, yet I feel parts of myself that aren’t necessarily in agreement with that, am I ‘lying’ to him?  And though I may feel uncomfortable, that I’m being dishonest by not telling him about the presence of these facts of those parts of myself, where is the place on the scale of reality he was coming from for confessing the stuff that comes from a sub-level of that scale?

My musings are telling me that though we largely interact with people, there is a place in our selves where we really can’t take another person and we’re on our own.  And that I discovered that fairly early, maybe in that instance where I wasn’t sure what my mother meant when she and that lady asked me if I’d taken a toy, and so assumed they knew on that level too.  Perhaps for the rest of my life I’ve been confused about what truth is at that level and I haven’t really been able to see—because at that time I couldn’t.  Because it involved the truth that in that instance my mother hadn’t protected me which maybe my childish mind generalized to other and all situations.  I suppose that part of what I’d tell myself would be that my mother hadn’t protected me because she
knew I was ‘bad’, that even if I hadn’t stolen the toy I might as well have.  I suppose I had to believe that I was flawed, because I couldn’t tolerate believing my mother was.  Perhaps there is the seed of the self doubt that has been an intimate part of my life for as long as I can remember.So I always lived in fear of that flaw being exposed, and I always had to wait until someone made their truth explicit to me because I couldn’t trust my own judgment about their behavior.  And I would choose to think that I was flawed when it came to any question between me and another person.

So perhaps that’s my separation from home, the sense of a flaw between me and mySelf, and the journey home is the examining its origins and the degree to which it’s invested in my life, how it’s affected my life by the way it’s affected how I experience events.