Wednesday 10 October 2012

So little notion

I thought I wanted to be free - well, freer anyway. I had so little notion. I used to think, for all those years, that it was all such a struggle because the inimical structures and impositions of others made everything difficult. Now I know better. Belated discovery of past six months: life just is that difficult.

Some days start, continue and end in a climate of weakness and confusion and everything feels too much. And this is an internal climate - mine!

So now I know it’s not really going to get easier. But perhaps it can keep becoming more fluid. Perhaps I can feel my way into the ephemerality of every hard moment.

Somehow the ephemerality of the happy moments, the strong ones, the softly joyful ones, is always to the fore. But it's not just the good bits, it's all of it: here, blink, gone. Hard, but not fixed; never lengthy; a flickering, ever-changing string of moments.

I increasingly wonder if the enormity of confronting this is what lies behind so much of human madness, cruelty, masochism; behind our obsessive need to build boxes, lock our own cell doors as well as other people's.

Out here, outside the boxes, there's no comfort. But just perhaps, also, since nothing is fixed, there's nothing to be so afraid of either.

Is it possible to pursue goals, to assert some productive organisation and structure without building myself a new box?

Weak, unexpected sunshine slants across the screen of demanding words and work. So, when a particular task is done and despatched, I go outside and touch the sunshine, kick my way through the fallen leaves.

season of mists


Fire Bird said...


Lucy said...

To some extent, I think I know, find myself in a similar way, though I am more cushioned, (or duller?) and feel it less harshly. But I don't do the things I thought I'd be able to, want to, do, and I think something of it is to do with feeling unworthy, undeserving, which is viciously circular, of course.

You still did a good thing. You wouldn't be back there would you?

Jean said...


Taradharma said...

I am too infrequent a visitor here. You always amaze me. Your post today is along some same lines I have been thinking about.

A book I have embraced of late is Dr. Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection. Speaks to being open to feelings, and experiencing all the varied emotions life has to offer us. I highly recommend it.

Vivien said...

Yes, it's better than what you had before - slightly more freedom. One needs a good private income!!

Dale said...

For the first six months or so after I left IBM Martha was in despair: I'd left the job that made me miserable and I was still, to all appearances, miserable. The only apparent difference was that we were poorer :-) I only became visibly happier gradually. You're right, much of it is internal: but much of it also isn't, and it takes a long time for those long-standing stresses and anxieties to unravel. It really has made a fundamental difference to me, though, having my own hands on the reins!

litlove said...

My experience with freedom is that it's like having had your hands tied behind your back. When they are untied, they are numb at first, but when sensation returns there can be a great deal of pain and discomfort. I think you are still bailing the dirty water out, and that this will happen on and off for several more months. Because a time does come when perspective gets restored, and the awful uphillness of just living doesn't seem so bad any more. I once read about the need to lean on the 'calmer, more stable and optimistic parts of the self' when things are tricky, and of course to begin with, I felt like I didn't have any of those! But the wiser voices do gradually begin to sound louder than the old miserable ones. It does take a lot of time, though. Hang on in there; you will reach smoother waters.

rbarenblat said...

So much in this post resonates with me. Thank you.

Zhoen said...

“Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth”
― Pema Chödrön

Parmanu said...

This made me wonder what sort of boxes and structures I've built around myself. Much to think about here - thank you for writing about your struggles in such an articulate manner, Jean.

Anonymous said...

The answer is yes, and I agree that the newness of freedom takes quite a while to feel comfortable and become internalized.

Sandra Davies said...

'Ephemerality' is, I think, the important word. Especially in connection with happiness, which I am certain is only ever fleeting and comes unexpectedly. Which is not to say the rest of the time is actively unhappy, just not hitting that peak. Understanding and accepting that was an important step to have taken.
Looking back and wondering about alternative paths is inevitable, too. You are not alone in what you feel but are rare in your ability to express it.