Friday, June 1, 2007

The Unfolding Journey

Some years ago I went through a dark period of pain and chaos. Some of that pain was the result of other people's actions. Some of the pain was a consequence of random events that happened which were less than ideal. Some of that pain was the result of my own choices. Sorting out the heartaches and happenstance that caused me so much turmoil was hard work. It took a long time. It required me to look at things I did not necessarily want to see. But it was worth the effort.

For a season I felt much better. Things seemed to make sense. But somehow, over time, I began to fall back into some of the same old habits of thinking and behaving that created the chaos the first time. This time my outside world was much saner and safer than it had been in earlier days. However, my inside world felt just as volatile and scattered as it had before. I crashed. Inexplicably, for no apparent reason I could name, my brain-soul tilted once again, bringing me to my knees.

I felt very foolish to find myself right back where I had started, especially when it was quite obvious there were no monsters under the bed and no eerie things to go bump in the night.

However, on closer inspection, I recognized that I was not in exactly the same place as before. Things were different this time because when I took the time to notice, I found I still had a whole toolbox of strategies and resources, along with scattered bits of wisdom, that had helped me dig my way back into the light before. I had simply quit using them well.

Chaos was my native language. So it was easy for me to revert to that when I stopped paying attention.

When I picked myself up and brushed myself off, once I got over the embarrassment of how foolish I felt, I realized I could go back to my learned language of sanity and peace. I had some very good teachers along the way who taught me important lessons about how to do that. They provided me with valuable tools. But it remains my responsibility to use those tools and to pay attention.

The purpose of this blog is to explore some of those lessons learned from helpful teachers, strangers, lovers, fools and friends who've crossed my paths over the years. I want to try to sort out which ones still fit and which ones I may be ready to discard.

Some days I find clarity. Other days everything grows murky with uncertainty. At times I believe if I am smart enough, or insightful enough, or lucky enough, or tenacious enough to somehow catch hold of the RIGHT thread of this tangled up knot of beliefs, biases, half truths and misconceptions that runs amok in my brain, THEN life will make sense again. Other times I am convinced I am just kidding myself with that belief. The trick is to live sanely in an insane world that makes no sense.

My head and heart wage mighty civil war, each doing wild banshee shriek dances for supremacy over which side of me to listen to or believe. I remain a clueless observer on the sidelines. I am still an apprentice human, trying to master the craft of being.

Writing helps me sort out the muddled mess, to unravel the threads that feel so hopelessly tangled and knotted. By painstakingly sorting them all out I begin to discern which ones lead to peace and which to chaos.

I suspect there are lessons worthy of exploring in both directions.

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