Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Making of a Magician

Presto! Change-O! And She's all grown up and integrated. Obviously. Having completed the job of "image association" - a task necessarily subjective and loaded with possibilities for errors generated by protective measures on the part of the very psyche one is trying to examine/understand - I focused on being formula-faithful and was ready for the arduous task of analysis. (What's it all about, Alfie?)
I concluded, among other things, that while I was watching, another part of Me had died in 1980. I remembered that other part of Me - the child who feared reality and mortality - and how she'd spoken to me and helped me through my recent change. So I'd evolved but didn't see what it was that was being replaced. I mean I had just let that part of Me LEAVE without taking notice! And you know I just hate not knowing the 'becoming part' yet, so sometimes I just make it up. (Mom and Uncle Paul understood and heeded their warnings. So why not Me? That's what "creative" is all about. By definition, even.)
So. It's going to happen this year, I decided. This will be the time frame during which I shall discover just how I'm SPECIAL. All the disturbing experiences of my childhood seemed important, relevant. I wanted to CALL the people who had played it out with me BACK so that I could better understand why it was important. I will, even though it HURTS. Because this THING of potential BRILLIANCE - as it ages - can either embellish or destroy. I knew it had to be about harnassing the intellect (head) and the emotions (machinery of creativity). This will be the task - to write the STORY. So I would need SENSITIVITY, HUMOR, FINESSE. Had to get the kinks out. The trappings of the good and the bad writer can be equally uncomfortable. So. If I'm to bear discomfort either way, why not go for the gold? ONLY immaturity (pictured above) stands between me and the talent of one who has acquired the wisdom and grace of age with EASE. My life IS my STORY, and the more aware I become of the 'MEs' in my cast, the easier the process will be. I must be still, LISTEN ever to the disturbing so that I will BE READY to appreciate the THRILLS. Most probably, I was able to play an active role in this change long before I realized it.
Now I knew that in trying to forget my mother's death, I engaged myself in many and diversified activities. Sometimes I felt guilty 'carrying on' with such apparent aplomb and enthusiasm. Feelings during this era were just as diversified and erratic as my activities. I was all tied up in being busy, treating myself to pretty things to compensate for the enormous loss and empty space in my soul. Then came a more controlled and deliberate approach to dealing with the loss and grief. I was pregnant. Had to slow down and reflect. (Fought it for 3 months. I kept running. I'd read that a gal in Arizona ran 6 miles a day until the day she delivered. But after 3 months I began spotting and, feeling I'd taken the very life that I'd been given, came to a screeching halt.) Finally, I poured the entire experience onto paper, saw it perhaps for the first time without any distractions, in chronological order, until death did us part. In a story called "Last Scene Wearing Thin" I delivered a combination of emotional, physical and theatrical imagery which mediated the pain nicely. Having thusly purged myself, I had to move ahead. When the direction of the move became clear to me, a concomitant, PROPELLING force was felt. I had to lose some old Me baggage, stop foundering. Channel. Right:


Her mind lives in a quiet room, a narrow room, tall. With pretty lamps to quench the gloom and votives on the wall.

There all the things are waxen neat and set in decorous lines. And there are posies, round and sweet, and little, straightened vines.

Her mind lives tidily, apart from cold and noise and pain. And bolts the door against her heart out waiting in the rain. _____ Dorothy Parker

Because, as you will see, dear reader, 1980 did indeed become a benchmark
year of change for Me but although all of my intense pursuit of understanding what I MEANT, this quest for awakening intuition, although noble and respectable, could in no way substitute for this living, living, living - and dying - that followed. Studying things like "transcending duality" - you know. Like when a toddler figures out where the I stops and the thou begins - is neato academically. For the present I think knowing that I am NOT the two soft-cooked eggs upon which I gaze is appropriate and sufficient. In my dotage, it seems I resent this arrogant posture towards "duality" assumed by some psychological scholars.

Or how about the "interpersonal imagery exercise" that was popular in that heady era. At the time I found it interesting and helpful - despite the fact that I was seen as Anne Boelyn. But the shores of the Chesapeake Bay remained unruffled and constant in the face of its falling out of vogue. To be sure, I stand scarlet-naped having just spent two days explaining how important it is to consider your dream world as true reality, and your ordinary waking hours as a dream. Go for it. And then see how popular you are in the corporate structure at board meetings when you admit to a cash flow problem but want to discuss instead a place in the executive lot for your unicorn.

Another popular find in the REM labs at the time was how surprising it was to see how much memory changes experience. I've already forgotten the first three pages of this post and this is only page five. I still run into a then-classmate who felt that remembering her dreams enriched her life. This same gal has discovered hidden meaning in Campbell's soup labels after translating them into Celtic. And we all remember how popular "personal integration" was then. But now that I'm among those fallen out of the hermetic circle, did that refer to schizophrenia or busing or both? I saw in my own notes, "When one begins to own projections (by Kodak or Jung?) one finds the guru within." In the words of a Zen Master, 'Who's to say if this is good or bad?' - or even possible for the Western mind?

Again in my own quill, "If you are serious about wanting to fully experience both the right and left hemispheres of your brain" (I found only 3 bus drivers, 6 realtors, 2 dental hygienists and one Beagle in Virginia Beach who actually admitted they were not. (The Beagle is in analysis, however, so stats may change.) And finally, (don't you love that word right now?) I had noted that "Many of the constraints and limitations in one's life can be attributed to lack of imagination." I can think of at least 6 million Jews who would have argued this point.

In the end, it seems at this juncture, it IS largely smoke and mirrors. You are at the mercy of your life's experiences so have faith, hope for charity in its many forms and, as my father always said when things 'didn't turn out well', "Ya live, ya learn and ya die stupid, kid." Later, L. . . .

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