Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I Can See Clearly Now. It's Raining. - Part I

I have been avoiding this post.  It is now the New Year.  My year with my word of the year, "clarity" has been both a blinding light and a rough mistress.  Even though I can intellectually process the benefits of the information, I'm having trouble moving beyond the pistol whipping my precious plans have taken this year.  It is one of those years where the best you can say is, "Well, I didn't die..." or "WELL! I didn't DIE!" depending on which way the bi-polar express is traveling.

It was culling season on every sacred cow that had to go for me this year.  As I look around at folks around me, I see I'm not the only one bemoaning this fate.  We took a collective TKO.  At least we have each other, unless, like me you held your others in an orbit of misspent loyalty.  Consequently, I've had plenty of quality alone time to explore how the word "clarity" played out for me this year.

It started with my attempt at asking more direct questions.  As I stated last summer, this is something I've been called up for before.  I realize that it is hard to work with people who assume a lot. There needs to be clear communication.  Who knew that asking a direct question like, "Why do you think this is?"  would be interpreted as a loaded question implying a test or a taunt, like, "Why do you think THIS is?"  and received in an accusing manner?  Not being very versed in direct questioning I, of course, did not catch on to the misunderstanding and made matters worse by asking even more questions.  Enter the dragon.

I was so dumbstruck by the crumbling wall of rage over my most sincere attempt at creating closeness that I didn't even post a spring equinox post on my word of the year.  Being told to shut up was not without it's merit, however.  I can be a self absorbed bore.  I had never REALLY realized how trying I was on people and that I was being "tolerated".  In other words I was forced into a real clear glimpse of how others perceived me without my personal warp on the view.  I was totally humiliated and hurt. 

I am told that the word humiliated is rooted in the Latin "low to the ground".  So in a sense I was knocked off my high horse and into the reality of what others are looking at, when they look at me.  I have a penchant for high horses because this has happened a lot to me over the course of my life and because this is not the first time, I began to ask myself a few direct questions.  Questions like: "What the hell have I done that is so God Damn bad that I have to take this heat?"  and "Why am I not laying into other people for being intolerable,  insensitive, selfish bores, and rude dogs themselves?"  I came up with a few answers.  For most of my life I believed that I deserved and should be knocked down periodically and, the hardest part in understanding that is the second level of this epiphany:  I structure my most vital relationships on the precept that I don't deserve support.  The heartbreaking part about comprehending the structure of this dynamic is realizing that I can no longer be truly close to those who have played the important role of having to put me down.  They are my family, they are my friends and co-workers, they are my beloveds...they also would not know the first thing about being supportive of me or my journey in any endeavor I should choose.  Our relationships were never designed with that construct being of value.  I didn't value myself enough to build it.  Who's to say they would not have come right along had I done so? Actually, I belong on the high horse and what's more I am entitled to as much respect as I can muster for others.  That is why I keep climbing back on the nag and trying to develop compassion in my relationships.  For the life of me, all my life I thought I climbed back on because I was stupid.

There were three subjects that stand out for me relating to the word "clarity" this year.  The personal level (as I have described above), the communal reality and what I have noticed over the year in the  world regarding transparency.  My next post will be about my community.

Picture by Mary Frank, 2008, 11th Grade, 1st Place winner of Mother of Divine Grace School Art Show.


atuuschaaw said...

Cile, I for one think you are a beautiful caring human being and the horse you ride is nothing less than majestic. My life has been enriched by your compassion and your sincerity. Thank you for being a voice of reason in my world of chaos.

Esther said...

I woulda thought your word for the year was "courage", cuz I've noticed you facing life with a lot of it... And it takes courage to write so openly about your self-reflections... and thank you for doing so... I learn and grow right along with you as I read....

Also, as one who observes you from outside yourself, I can counter-balance the meanies (those who definitely are not your "peeps") and say you really are wonderful, talented, insightful and worthy of support. But I do realize, based on my own struggles, that it takes mountainous strength to see oneself as deserving, no matter what the outside influence. So I wish you the best on that journey... On into 2011 and beyond!



marciamayo said...

That is why I keep climbing back on the nag and trying to develop compassion in my relationships. I loved that line.
Like the others who commented before me, Cile, I can't imagine anyone thinking you were self absorbed. For me, you have been nothing but caring and giving. Thank you, Friend, for being my friend and for writing so beautifully about your struggles.

Rez Dog said...

Cile, it's always amazing to read your thoughts about yourself because they are so at variance from what I see and know about you. Kind, generous, caring, thoughtful, honest. Maybe those last two should be a clue that you that you think long and hard about your place in the world and how others might see you if they could look inside your head. That takes courage, my friend, and you have much courage.