Monday, May 18, 2009

A wonderful, winding story...if you can get through it

Monday Monday - as the Beatles's cold, grey, bright green and the birds are out in full force trying to get the other birds to notice them...such is life on Stimson Mountain in Bolton.

All my adult life and some of my pre-adult life, I have had this impression of the Federal Government as something to be wary of; of something to oppose.  When I think back actually I think a good portion of my motivation comes from an anti-authority perspective.  And as I think about the causes of that it's refreshing to think how it was born in me.

I was a latch key kid.  Before that I was a traveling kid, albeit in the direct care of my parents but what does a journey in the back of a jeep from California to Vermont do for a little one and what did it do for me.  While other kids were safe in the wombs of their houses and cribs and still others were completely neglected and left to go cold, hungry or unloved, I was carried 3,000 miles across open country in the back seat of this jeep with both my parents along for the ride and alternately showing me their love individually and as a couple.  In essence I was a loved rolling stone from the beginnings of my consciousness.  I was given the ability to feel and experience travel and most likely some aloneness but I was never far from mothers milk or fathers arms.  I can only imagine (and I will find out) that I was as self - sufficient as a one year old could be.  

Later in life, around four, after my parents divorced I was regularly left to my own devices.  Both parents had to work and make a new way a way that didn't enjoy the comfort of partnership, or the security.  My place in that was to find my way without constant guidance.  But, just like the trip across county, mother or father were never too far.  I was never abandoned.  I learned that it was ok to be alone.  I learned that I didn't need much and I learned that my own judgement served me fine.  I think I also learned that the judgement of others upon me was generally incorrect or a hinderance.

As I grew and became more mobile my independence and self-reliance grew.  Thinking back I can attribute this to one main reason based on the philosophy of the original trip across country.  Before I actually became self reliant, in my adult years, I was given (whether by necessity or grace - it doesn't matter beyond the fact that this was my experience) the width and breadth of freedom.  I was not "looked over" in a confining way.  I would play endlessly alone or with my young brother in the hallways of our parents workplace, late into the night.  We new the Janitors and service people, we explored the rooms abandoned for the night by the workers.  We ran in the woods with nothing but our guile and experience to guide us through.  We found our own way to school, hiking, at times for miles to or from the last bus stop home.  We made our own plans and executed them with no help nor intention of help from our parents...but always, always - we were loved.  

I believe it was this combination of being allowed freedom to develop our sense of self, our sense of place coupled with the love of our parents, which was the "mechanism" that did the "allowing" that has formed the rock hard opposition to authority that I experience today.  I understood early that I didn't need much and I certainly didn't need someone else telling me what I needed.  In fact it became crystal clear, as I said before, that the people who ended up "telling" us what they thought we needed were the ones who were furthest from the truth.

I can see now, from my place at the table, the good in my upbringing and I can also see the bad.  There is a necessary amount of information that one must receive in the formation of ones "self".   There is only a certain amount of time in the formative years - even though i believe we keep forming all our lives if we want, there isn't much doubt in my mind that it is in youth when we are most receptive to the information.  Throughout life to continue to grow one must continue to be challenged by events and information to allow the process of self discovery to take place.  Thinking this now it makes more sense that young children, not being self- constrained adults are more open and receptive and therefore face more challenges and therefore grow more powerfully (There is a concept here that would be interesting to develop, essentially is it possible to continue to develop like a child, like a child developes in the formative years, all ones life.  Can ones life be as formative at sixty as it was at six?)  But back to my story - to be so young and so "on my own" allowed in my my sense, strong sense of right and wrong, good and bad...whether this sense jibed with society or adults or other kids is inconsequential at this point.  The point is I developed it.  And because of the natural cycle that I state above and because I have not been aware before this point of my attitudes being as formative today as they were when I was six or eight or even 18 this formation of my self and my ideals became powerful, perhaps overly developed at least when compared with my peers and even many adults (judging the way that adults are generally adult in age only).  This brings me to another point of investigation, If I did have an advanced sense of self, right and wrong, good and bad - how did I reflect that, how did I manifest it in the world?  How did I hide it and why would I want to hide it?  These question ring true to me and I want to explore them.

Again, back to my story.  Here I am, perhaps with an overly developed sense of the world and what works and what doesn't.  I see it clearly.  I have been given the gift of love to allow my soul to focus on the world instead of focusing on a soul injured by the lack of love (I had my share of "lack of love" but it was not because I wasn't loved).  I learn that I have all I need, I am happy without oversight, I don't look for things or people to get me what I need.  What's funny is that because I am such a happy child and because I can move so well in the world, I end up getting what I want, all the time but not from negative manipulation or trickery but simply because I knew what it was I wanted and also because I didn't really want that much.

I didn't have to rely, beyond the natural course of a parent protecting a child, on anyone for my happiness or for my vitality, so much so that I developed a sense of arrogance in dealing with those that did and a sense of separation from anyone or anything that would seek to give me advice, whether useful or well intentioned, in essence throwing the baby out with the bathwater.  By not being open to the opinions and help of anyone I wasn't able to gain valuable insight of those who were both well-intentioned and whose information could have been useful to me.  I felt, across the board that everyones information was not useful to me because so much of the information I received re-enforced that fact.  One does not have to receive endless supplies of information to recognize the traits, habits and motives of those that are providing information that is useless to one.  And in my childlike and naive state - I shut down much of the other information, most useFUL information and relied on my ability to please myself and be happy.

The problem with this, I find today, is that my cocoon is simply bigger than most.  I am like the Catamount who once roamed this hills of the Northeast.  The male Catamount would sometimes use up to 500 square miles as his home territory.  I created a lot of space for myself but I didn't allow myself unlimited space, I didn't allow myself infinity and a human soul can only be truly at peace in the range of infinity with no limits.  

I thin my mind caught up with my edges of my territory when I was about 24 years old (another story) and I have since, after much more difficulty than as a child, broken through to new and bigger territory but I still confine myself.  I do not allow my curiosity to bloom fully and it doesn't take much experience to know that whatever doesn't bloom, dies.  But why aren't people dead all around me then?  Because many, many don't bloom again.  The answer is...they are, maybe not dead but certainly in deep hibernation.  I believe it is the supreme mystery of the body and the mind that allows for all of the conflict and joy of human history and an example of the separate nature of each is clear in what we see today.  Minds that are dead in bodies that are living.  The mind would be just as well to die, it's egoic self not wanting to admit there is anything stronger or even equal.  The body does not want to die it will keep moving to survive even as it is strangled by the mind, starved of care.  Simply look at people in the world today and you will see the effects of dead minds and starved bodies.

Wow - and all of this to simply say that I cannot abide authority and that I have a keen, like senses of a Catamount, sense of authority that will do me no good and I see it all around me.  The truth of the matter is that I have had to wait for the effects of what I have always known to be true to show up to others that don't have the same understanding.  It is in this waiting that I have betrayed myself in a sense.  But, and I think of now, immediate on this writing, at this word...and I forget...and think of it again - as I do (why is another story) - 

I have not betrayed my deepest soul.  I have betrayed nothing at my heart.  I have only acted in ways that have protected my heart, that have hidden it away until people were ready to understand it because it would do me no good, in fact maybe less good to have put all I know into the world before the world was ready (what a story this would be - the story of putting your heart into the world and the story of what it means to do it or not).  Somewhere along the line I began to cover up my heart, to plaster layers of protective coating around it.

I have always known what was bad and what was good.  Always.  And sometimes I chose to ignore my own knowledge but I never, never once thought the bad thing was the good.  I am not confused in my soul.  I only create my confusion in reaction to the fear that I see as a threat to who I am, when funny enough, fear is not enough, in fact nothing will change who I by that definition it is not fear that I am afraid of, but myself.

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