Where will I take you?

Posted on 05 September 2004

Where will I take you with this blog? I have been so lost in thought lately that my brain is brimming over and I’m not quite sure where I will alight. I’ve been thinking mostly about self and relationship, each one separately and then together. Bett said to me before leaving something to the effect that I should know what I want, be clear. Why is it so difficult to figure out what one wants, needs, for oneself?

Between thoughts, I have been reading “Dancing in the Flames” by Marion Woodman and Elinor Dickson in preparation for the BodySoul workshop. Yesterday I underlined several passages:

“Self-knowledge comes through a relationship with and a commitment to something or someone beyond one’s self, beyond the gratification of one’s personal needs.” This also reminds me of James Hollis who said that we need an Other to know ourself. (Trouble is we don’t always like ourself with an Other.)

“Perhaps, we will have to face the darkness, walk out on the moor alone at nightfall, or dive to the bottom of the sea before the old ossified ego bondaries can be shattered to make room for the dance.” The BodySoul workshop takes place on the moors and, as I understand it, it’s about losing ego boundaries. This is scary business. Am I ready? No matter.

“Beneath the mature persona of the ego lies the child’s imagination, which fears being devoured by the wolf or the wicked witch. If we remain trapped in fear, we will never know the treasures of the dark. Being catapulted into the underworld is a common mythological theme, found in almost all cultures. The descent is undertaken either voluntarily, in search of a deeper goal, or involuntarily, when the abyss unexpectedly opens. The potential in either case comes from the fact that ordinary ego perceptions are shattered; cracks occur in the well-crafted persona. Through these cracks emerges the possibility of something new.”

This excites me. I am stuck, set in my ways, foggy, meandering. My only certainty is that I want to write rich open honest text and I will do what I have to, even put myself in scary places, to achieve this goal. I think, as I wrote in my Anais Nin piece, about writing that “[t]his is where I belong. This is what I should be doing.”

I am surprised at my last few sentences. I didn’t think I was certain about anything. They make me realize that I did move ahead a little in my commitment to writing, over the past month. The study of texts, written by intelligent women, the proprioceptive writing, the dream work, the movement, the reading of my own work, the encouragement, even the communal feasts and dancing were… I pause here. What am I trying to say? I felt as if I was living in a different world in which thought, poetry, writing, dancing, play were respected, taken seriously…

I stopped here to have a conversation with Rob. I found myself defending the writing workshops. It’s not that he thinks that they are without value, it’s just that they disturbed his place here. He admits this. But I found myself measuring my words, trying to find the right ones so he’ll understand. Or was I trying to find words that wouldn’t make me sound stupid? I want his respect. No, I want more. I want him to value what I value. Is this possible? Does it follow that if he respects me, he will trust that what I do is also worthy of respect?

Damn it all anyway. I am so confused. If one knows at a gut level that something is more than worthy should one have to defend it to whoever? Yes. Why not? (I think that one should try, in any way possible, if the listener is important to the speaker.)

A few years ago I wrote a piece about the value of play: Here’s a few lines:

“Playfulness is a volatile, sometimes dangerously explosive essence, which cultural institutions seek to bottle or contain in the vials of games of competition, chance, and strength, in modes of simulation such as theater, and in controlled disorientation, from roller coasters to dervish dancing…” Although play is “out of mesh” with the day-to-day ingredients needed to sustain life, Turner asserts that it enriches and may even, in its oxymoronic fashion, be advantageous to future generations: “Yet it may happen that a light, play-begotten pattern for living or social structuring, once thought whimsical, under conditions of extreme social change may prove an adaptive, ‘indicative mood’ design for living.”

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