Food for Thought

Posted on 19 January 2004

I have enough time to think this morning but, as a result of the Dialogue meeting yesterday, I’m trying harder to catch the thoughts that are happening below the surface – which are “Stop trying so hard to write intelligently. Let it flow. What do you really think? What do you really feel?”


We spoke of control versus discipline. We spoke of spontaneous conversations that happen like improv and require courage and trust – if only in oneself. If one is measuring one’s words, trying to be sincere, is spontaneity lost? We spoke of the open conversations one has with an other when one is not on guard, when one knows one will be loved no matter what one says. And I wonder if this is not the idea behind Dialogue – testing one’s intimate or virgin thoughts with a group of people who do not know one well.

Did I sound like an idiot when I tried to express myself and couldn’t find the words, when my hands started gesturing to fill in the blanks?

In one of Marlene’s workshops, she gave us an article by Irene Claremont de Castillejo in which she speaks of conversations and the question of exhaustion and refreshment: Why do some conversations exhaust us while others refresh us?

“We are only exhausted when talking to other people if we do not meet them, when one or both of us are hiding behind screens.” She writes that proximity does not constitute a meeting and gives the example of a husband and wife who have an intimate closeness but who have never met.

“For there to be a meeting, it seems as though a third, a something else is always present. You may call it Love, or the Holy Spirit. Jungians would say that it is the presence of the Self. If this ‘Other’ is present, there cannot have failed to be a meeting.”

I would say that we had a meeting yesterday or some of us had a meeting. Marlene and Steve had to leave early. This was strange. We spoke of responsibility. When one takes it on, the other or others can relinquish it.

One man spoke of control, if I remember correctly, as wanting to keep all others in the same relationship – as if reconstructing the past so there will be no imbalance, no unknowns, no surprises whereas discipline is containing oneself, not others. We also spoke of the body and how it wears? bears? an individual’s control and discipline. And how it suffers more and takes longer to recover if one doesn’t recognize or admit its pain and suffering.

I met with Brendan before the meeting and we went for lunch. We met. Why is it, I wonder, when I meet with him that, more times than not, I feel energized? It wasn’t always like this but the last few years, I feel a real sense of trust and respect. He doesn’t waste words, doesn’t engage in small talk so when he asks me how I’m doing, I believe he wants to know the truth.

After lunch, we picked up a “Lemon Heaven” cake – an unusually tall light confection – for the Dialogue meeting (his suggestion) – a splurge – but it was so magnificent and it tasted as good as it looked. One man mentioned that it was as good as sex and more reliable – he imagines if the same cake was purchased again, it would taste as good.

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