Sunday, September 17, 2006

chronicle of paralysis

Gee, do you think chest high weeds abnormally biomassed in a solid swath right outside one’s door might contribute to respiratory distress syndrome? I keep noticing this mini tropical rainforest of probably ragweed and thinking “I oughter really should yank them there suckers up” and then I. Don’t.

Project: make a list for a few weeks of all the things that pop into my head that I “should do” and don’t do. See if a pattern exists. See if perhaps behavioral change is in order or thought-habit change. Prior to lobotomy.

Then there’s the recurring experience of resistance, doing something in spite of resistance, and being glad that I did it. The step 10 workshop yesterday a fine example. Somewhere in the 12 and 12 Bill says “pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth.” For a coddled Bohemic of the likes of me sometimes the greatest pain is doing something I think I don’t want to do. Or not doing something I think I want to do. This business of wanting versus not wanting to do this or that is tiresome.

A conversation with The Sponsor (I really ought to come up with another nick for him, something that reflects more the 360 degree value of the relationship…Obi Wan? Merlin? Psychopomp? Hermes Trismegistus? Basho? The Fool? The Emperor? Witch Doctor? Hmmmm)- anyway the conversation is around how we construe what we “want” and what we “don’t want.” This arises from time to time regarding the oft-heard “for many years I wanted to quit drinking but I could not.” Hermes says “no, you did not want to quit drinking. You thought you wanted to.” If we define ourselves by what we want or don’t want (if that’s one arena where we get a reassuring sense of identity) then, of course, it is an illusion, another example of us thinking we know who we are. Not knowing and not having to know provides a little occasional room to observe where we actually put our attention. This gives us an opportunity to experience more clarity about what we want or don’t want. It’s easy to lay claim to a desire or preference or aversion while behaving in ways obviously counter to the claim.

Again: I believe what people say and ignore what they do. This goes for my own head.

1 comment:

the unnarrator said...

1. You are not coddled.

2. You and the Psychopomp have in one sense been talking about willfulness. The DBT group leader would say, "Are you willing to get behind your long-term goals? Are you willing to GET willing?"

An injunction to "get willing" is to me about as useful as the instruction to "practice equanimity." Or "trying" to pray.

I don't know how to get willing. Or anyway I say I don't know; I say I want to be willing.

How do I want the things I want to want, or say I want to want? How do I get willing to experience all this, even this, afresh, instead of through the murk of an identity which has accrued to me over decades, making of my psychopathology an entertaining literary device and personal eccentricity.

I not only don't believe what I or anyone else says, I don't even believe what we do.