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

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Please see Attachment: Word of the Year 2015

I had decided in November when I was looking for something that I knew I had but was unable to locate in my home that whatever my word of the year for 2015 would be, it had better have something to do with helping me to deal with all the stuff  I've accumulated since I bought this house. It would be eight weeks later when I was at a cruising altitude of 37,000 feet and an hour and a half into the flight home from a holiday in Phoenix, Arizona when I found what my word of the year was. I was reading a special tribute article to Stephen Gaskin from the November 2014 issue of The Sun magazine that I slipped into my bag for in flight reading. Regarding attachment:

"Attachment is really based on the idea that we think that anything that we have around us belongs to us.  None of this stuff belongs to any of us. We just happen to get the use of it for awhile.  We're masters of it, because we have binocular vision and opposable thumbs that makes us good at handling three dimensions. But none of that jazz belongs to us, because it can't belong to us; we die, it stays.  It's merely a mocked up creation that our minds have put together and then agreed to forget that it was a joke, and its the material plane. None of us can claim it..."

He went on to say something else regarding attachment that struck me. I have been thinking about my own misplaced loyalties.
"...The thing about attachment that is most real for us, I think, is the idea of being attached to our own feelings and opinions. That is what I find most people are really attached to more than anything else....and it becomes an excuse for doing anything.

You can't steer on that kind of information. For one thing, you have to be non attached to your feelings, because the feelings can be a trap. People say they do things for feelings, but they really do things for energy.  Think about that.  When you see a relationship going on, dig which way then energy is flowing, 'cause that's what it is really about, not the emotional noise that is going on. So just cut loose and don't consider that emotions are reliable enough information to steer your head on.  Your head is a more delicate machine than that; it needs better information than that."

 Stephen Gaskin. (1970) "Monday Night Class" Summertown TN: The Book Publishing Company

That was it. Word found.

a means of securing; a fastening
(often foll by to) affection or regard (for); devotion (to): attachment to a person or to a cause
an object to be attached, esp a supplementary part: an attachment for an electric drill

The Original Misplaced Loyalty

My father's absence in my life was a great gift once I got to the other side of the mountain called my childhood. I learned a lot of different ways of being in the world that parented children did not enjoy. Without vital information I learned to find my way through intuition, feeling and cunning. I lied often. I was good at it. I cultivated within myself what people now refer to as an empath's life. Like children do, I compensated for the absence of my father. I made things up and answered for that over the course of growing up because, apparently nature abhors little children not being given every opportunity to live full lives. Little children who design strange realities for themselves often have to get lost in the real world to find themselves. I was alone and repeatedly in harms way being  fatherless.  I was helped with these adversities later in life but still I never actually gave up entirely my penchant for making things up; especially when under duress.  There were some really rough lessons with that, even with all the counseling I went through. Probably my hardest lessons have come from my penchant to try and navigate my life through my feelings, which makes Gaskin's statement above so heart rendering and relevant to my life.

Through my feelings I found the people I needed to find. I always quietly sought my father through my life and finally found him in the eighties.  I didn't look for him by research like normal people. I found him by being in the spot to receive the information I needed (or wanted) to have. I worked in a microbiology lab at the time and his specimen came across my work station. When I met my father as adult, I was overwhelmed by affectionate feelings for him. In hindsight it would have made more sense to hate him for the abandonment. My love for him was too precious; it was still too vital. He felt bad seeing me, obviously, and would have rather skipped the whole reunited thing but I guess he felt obligated somehow to play along. (He brought me a radio as a gift, of all things! I was overjoyed.) Had I been stronger or better counseled, I would have reclaimed the power I gave him over me at that juncture. As it was, I came undone after our paths crossed. I lost my job then my children and  there was a huge inability for me to process what had happened. And here is where the tale takes on a nasty kink; my father introduced me to his son. Years later my son returned to me by choice when I lived in Arizona in an important reconciliation after the train wreck with my father. 

My brother and I experienced an overwhelming feeling of connection upon being introduced. We were overjoyed with each other. We had been separated for 30 years by family politics. What is alarming to me is to realize that I came within a hare's breath of shagging my own brother because, had I experienced that kind of attraction, say, in a bar 'back in the day', I would have shot first and asked questions later (if at all). Back then I had no way of discerning the different kinds of resonances of attraction between people acting out as I was. Seriously, I would have had him before we left the parking lot without taking names. That may not be a big deal for some people but had that happened to me, I would have been pushed around the bend. I have a strong sense of humor but that would have been bad for me having to suffer that kind of knowledge through family Thanksgiving dinners, what with all the rest of it. Would you like white or dark? Gah! No! Fortunately I was well beyond those years at our meeting and I could name the connection, although my brother found it difficult telling the difference. What was an issue and intensely sobering for me is the knowledge that my Dad was a notorious skirt chaser as was my brother. Pop was a fisherman who plied his trade and his party up and down the Pacific Northwest the waters.  How many sibz are out there, I always wonder? I don't know but I do know this: sometimes the Universe takes no prisoners.

 Who Invited the Universe?

Because I am on this type of reclamation journey of my life, I later received a tremendous opportunity  to learn a lesson regarding my 'assuming mind' while affiliated with an online radio station in Alaska that began  in 2002. Before Facebook or anything really glamorous regarding social media got a foothold, there were chat rooms.  I pressed against my better judgement and connected with these people online and was rewarded with life affirming joy as I cultivated these relationships (besides healing some very serious wounds with radio and music from my past). Repeatedly my mind would wander into assuming that I knew what someone was putting down in chat only to find out later I had it more wrong that I'd ever expect. I was shocked! Over and over this would happen and I finally developed an insight on how my mind projects expectation. I learned to develop some critical thinking. My reward was being able to listen again. I had my hearing then but I could not listen to music before I mastered critical thinking. The psyche is an amazing thing. I even went to visit my welcoming virtual Alaskan friends. Frankly, I've rarely been welcomed anywhere so there was a tremendous healing that transpired within me from their generosity. I worked with this in learning to connect properly with people; attach through the heart and the mind. Sadly things folded rather dramatically and painfully for my friends in Alaska. I tried to stay out of the fray. To this day I don't know entirely what went down; only that there was suffering. It was a deep loss for me to loose the camaraderie and the constant stream of new music. It was a place where I could go that was safe. I loved my place there even though it was mostly virtual.

Lots of loss was swept into the folding of my beloved online sanctuary. My mother's death, my sister's death, six days later my new brother's death, my dearest pet and familiar succumbed to cancer (possibly taking a bullet for me); the loss of my ability to hear and my job, as well as the income and the acquaintances I made at work. Surprisingly, a disenfranchisement from my sibs surfaced with the loss of my Mother who, I came to realize after her death, was my soul attachment to that tribe. There were aftershocks of grief with my sister's death as well that tore into my relationship with my niece who I had been close to. No one bothered to tell me my brother died.  I found out by surfing his name...but I felt it.  I'm an empath.

I have been up against some pretty intense alone time with my grief. I thought I was on top of it but in spite of me there entered my penchant for making things up...that old survival habit. Something becomes fixed in my mind, usually based on a very overwhelming feeling towards someone that is based on nothing that I can make tangible and I hold on for dear life. "Dear life" is the operative word here. I will hold on for decades to something I feel I want to be true to; someone to be loyal to. I tell no one - absolutely no one. That is what keeps it sacred. That's my rule. The intended must be the first to know my feelings but, curiously, I can never find a way to share them. Just the thought of telling anyone else makes me feel as though I will not only die but be ripped open by carrion before I'm let die. Seriously. Really sad and terrifying. This is my essential attachment based solely on a feeling. I've done it all my life and it served me well replacing what I needed as a child. Magical connections made me feel protected. It only recently occurred to me that I might have failed someone other than myself with my rules of magical thinking. That dichotomy requires that there not be anybody real involved because it is designed for a vulnerable fatherless child not a capable adult woman. I have emerged from my cocoon with caterpillar consciousness.  I had the weight to protect me from this and now the weight is leaving.  If I don't get over this, there will always be something generated from within me to keep me separated from healthy attachments. I do it by habit now and it serves me up plenty of alone time with the Universe batting me around for fun. This kind of attachment must go.  It's long overdue. I will have to to spill and let it go.

How to let go of things that are vital.

Years ago, after I had learned a new and acceptable language to converse about my rather rough entry into adulthood it was a sort of a natural gravitation into consciousness raising groups.  It was the late 70's and I was in California, after all.  That is what happens to the walking wounded there; (it is that or you might  happen to take the route of sucking various substances up your nose from mirrored surfaces, in which case you often end up in some kind of recovery or finding your way home somehow, if you don't die). In the course of these enlightenment sessions we would do exercises that were designed to track psychically where our energy goes; to actually visualize and identify cords that connect people; to ourselves and others. I was always removing tentacles and retracting ones I shot out in those early days. I had a busy aura. I was pretty smashed up.

We were counseled to always be careful with our great and awesome powers and to regularly examine our motivations. I never doubted the importance of this even in my most vulnerable moments and especially in my most wicked ones. There is some really bad tangles that one can get into with exchanging energy on that level. For me especially. I do not dabble with people's energy. It's obviously a bad thing and it requires a great deal of skill and responsibility. We were also taught the chakras and what they represented and we learned to drop ourselves into them at will like were were lowering a slant six into a Chevy chassis. I rather enjoyed those classes but was no better a student at that than I was in academics. Weak attention span. I would frequently pop up out of my meditation to find my teacher biting her lip with a worried look on her face as she examined my aural acrobatics.  Sometimes I caught her laughing. I really wasn't much of a medium. In fact, my private joke was to refer to myself as 'a small medium at large'. I never did do adequate service to these skills and for the most part, once I used them to corral my own wild horses, I just continued to use them to track my own business. The discipline has been very useful in that way. I am pretty good at keeping myself contained and present now even if I am weak at keeping others out. Being able to delineate different types of vibrations from people and being able to see where they are sending their energy from in their bodies has been a self preservation tool. I do admit that I inadvertently wander through the doors of perception from time to time however and slip through the veils when they are thin.  So yeah the Universe has a bit of fun with me once and awhile and I bring it on myself. Perhaps because I'm paying attention and I'm fascinated and willing to be childlike, I get away with so much. There is so much going on all the time a person could melt down with the reality of least that has been my experience.

Happily I do not live in a vacuum. Amid the losses, I have cultivated a few healthy relationships over the years. My sons have shared their loves with me in finding worthy and sporting partners. One has upped the ante by blessing me with two Grandchildren who are way better suited for the world than I am right now. I learn a lot from them about what is real and worth the effort. It is my love for them that tells me that I am really letting love down by cultivating misplaced loyalties. I get much of what I did not get as a child by watching them receive what is needed in their lives and attention and gratitude. My sons have made much of what is wrong with their Mom fly like it was not at all strange to be Mothered by a woman like me and I love and appreciate the latitude they give me in that regard. I have a few friends and they would, I think, do just about anything to help me, should I ask.

So old as I am, I'm still attached to devises I established to survive being fatherless as a child. I'm not proud of that. I can let go. I must let go of that attachment to recieve all that it separates me from.

 Video by Warner Bros Records
Photo: Bodhisattva


marciamayo said...

Oh Cile what a story you have and what a survivor you are. That was just beautiful.

cile said...

Thank you, Marcia. Truth be told there were eight million stories in the naked city in 1948; there must be at least 28 million now. Only this one is mine. Thanks for reading and responding.