Sunday, November 15, 2015

BEYOND HERE THERE BE DRAGONS



I remember most of my household moves well. They usually involved a life-changing drama trauma. The fact that I could seldom afford to hire a mover contributed to such moves being a traumatic rite of passage from one state of being to another but it isn’t the most significant reason. The move from Denver to Taos was the most unforgettable. I’ve given the details of this event in another blog, but the reason it comes up now is because, after birth and the exit from public school in my fifteenth year and all hope of a normal life plan, it became the most significant life-altering move and the most evocative of a hidden dynamic, hidden even from myself.

Sacred Clown Balloon.
I got up to late too see most of the balloons
but this guy waited.
When I first extracted myself from the flypaper and brambles of my parental home, I quickly fell into a dreadfully alien pattern that turned out to be more authentic than the adapted story line. My childhood home seemed safely channeled along a deep groove of hopeless ordinariness.  However, the facade cloaked something dark, wild and wounded.  Ordinariness turned out to be far more fragile than I ever imagined and the part of an agreed upon protective fantasy in one’s life story can’t be overemphasized. We generally tell ourselves the party line over and over until we actually believe it.

The picture that has emerged, and it took years to move far enough from home to gain perspective on this picture, is that every escape from a problem reveals another problem and these problems usually are related, much as if long lost siblings reunited.  

My own progress through this mysterious dimension called life on earth has always been unplanned. It’s not that I didn’t want a plan and designed one after another but the outcome of each plan was entirely unplanned.  Life came to resemble a piece of shipwreck floating from one island to another. After each move, the sea lapped higher and higher on the shore until the new island having barely become familiar and charged with the sentiment of home, disappeared and it was time to float on. However, this wasn’t just coincidence floating on the waters of chaos.

I’m still trying to get my head around the discovery that there was always a plan much more compelling than the one my conscious identity pursued. The unknown has turned out to be the source of everything alive. Yet, before announcing that this is a good thing I am reminded that this background designer doesn’t give a fig about my personal comfort or my ability to work out a good compromise between the forces of life and my personal well being among other humans. It aims at a multi-dimensional wholeness that is bigger than individual comfort. Our world itself is at stake. I’m beginning to perceive the light of a bigger sun  coming up over the horizon.  

My identity as I know it does contain vestiges of the bigger self. I don’t believe they are necessarily enemies but personal identity is a snakeskin that ought to be shed now and then and like the snake, we are vulnerable during the shedding process. The practice of many indigenous societies to give individuals a new name at significant life transitions makes total sense. When I was younger, I felt partly victim and partly sinner for being different from the people I identified as family or classmate.   I was definitely an outcast but I tried to be a harmless outcast.  Much of my adult life was about finding a place where I wasn’t the enemy. Alas, the role found me in many hiding places.

This world is very complex and creation seems propelled by a constant interchange of apparent opposites.  I suppose by now I should have more trust in the invisible pathfinder and relax into faith in the final outcome. On the other hand, a degree of fear keeps me searching for the resolution that connects opposing forces.  The thing about being an outsider is that you really aren’t.  We are all just parts of one machine. How can anyone identify him or herself except by a dialogue between self and perceived not self. After falling off of the educational conveyor belt at an early age, I did end up in graduate school but not one that either my birth family or I would have imagined. 

Life can move from simplicity to complexity in a flash and unless we totally isolate ourselves, the equivalent of dropping out of life school, we have to go with what comes our way. I dropped out of school before in order to survive but I believe that now it’s important to see it through. The present challenge is our 830 square foot house that has gone through many waves of occupancy in the past nine years. Beginning with one human and two cats, it first reduced to one human and then it was two humans, next two humans one cat, two humans two cats, three humans two cats, three humans two cats one dog and now seven humans two cats one dog.  Amazingly, I’ve learned to concentrate enough to write this with a TV, two computers and several cell phones playing in the background. This is a high wave, I'm looking forward to smoother seas.


P.S. The Ocean still disturbs me. It has no perceivable end. I know there is an opposite shore somewhere and maybe some islands in between but the emotional effect reminds me of the medieval description of an unmapped space, “beyond here there be dragons.”