a bit more, O Lord.
I see at last
there's no other way
for me to learn
your simplest truths.
~ Nissim Ezekiel, The Egoist's Prayers.
Fiercely independent. That would be a good little phrase to sum up one whole portion of the thing that is my personality. How much I got born with, and how much was as a result of a sort of fuck-you response to certain childhood stressors seems entirely unimportant as a question now. How this happened is not important, as it has essentially always been the case.
Before marriage, this independent streak manifested itself in a very "I'll do what I want and worry about money later" kinda way, which meant I got off to a pretty poor start in things financial. Getting married - even though it was to a completely kindred spirit in this regard - threw some sort of deeply buried switch and suddenly I found myself needing to be fiercely in charge of my own financial security and that of my new little family unit of two. Go figure.
Eventually, I got sick, as we know. It started with the lower back injury - if you read the new agey/holistic sort of things that folks like Louise Hay (You Can Heal Your Life etc) write, or perhaps this just makes innate good sense to you - then you'd have an inkling that a lower back injury might manifest as a result of 'issues' in 'supporting' oneself. Well, um, yeah. And the injury effectively forced me to stop this madness and properly go bankrupt. Literally, btw.
But still, this urge to prevail, to remain independent, stayed strong. I adapted, found ways to cope, and eventually healed. I was not to be let go of that easily however, as we can trace the start of my current symptoms to that event and time.
Independence is in a very real sense the opposite of connectedness.
A sense of connectedness is what we strive for in any spiritual search, religious journey or quest for enlightenment. In that, there must come a relinquishing of the ego's need to stand apart.
I am a Utilitarian by nature also, and do not wish to burden society (or my species), especially those closest to me, with having to look after me. So digging a little deeper, that wound that made me such an independently-oriented persona shows itself as fear also - fear of being dependent. Of course, this is exactly the direction I am going. I am dependent on the good grace and noble sacrifices of my wife now, and have been for a long, long time it sometimes seems. It all came rushing in, in one of those wonderful (or terrifying; same difference) Moments Of Perfect Clarity earlier today.
I've been on a little downhill run the last few days symptom-wise you see, and part of me has just been bumping along going with not denial, exactly, but a sort of studied ignoring of the facts, hoping they might just bugger off. Today I went out to get some stuff and it was all really, really hard, and I came home and just as I was about to tell all about it to Meeta she asks the question; and no, I'm not OK. But that wasn't the Moment. The moment was a few hours later when she offered to run me a bath, again, just as I was about to ask. And I couldn't remember back to when it was I was last able to manage that task myself, and noted coolly that my dependence in this, and in so many other little ways, is actually OK, and has been with me, for some time now. That somehow, after years and years of constant struggle with being vulnerable and dependent that I passed some critical mass point without even noticing, where I became, on balance, more OK with it than not.
Which is nice.
I think there's little danger of my pendulum ever swinging out into that terrible territory where I expect to be cared for, to have others (Meeta, really) always make allowances for my requirements first and foremost and be entrapped in constant availability to service the needs of a martyred emotional tyrant. I mean to say, I know that songsheet all too well from past experiences with others, and have seen the shadow cross my behaviour once too often already - it is not a place I will go to now. Part of my karmic journey this time around is to heal that ancient wound, that awful and cruel deceit of emotional blackmail some of us live out our lives enacting.
And the thing that heals it is the incessant letting go of that fear of vulnerability, whenever it pops itself up for my attention. It means accepting insecurity as the natural state. Which it s, as we see all around us when we take our blinders off for a moment. It means sometimes watching my own suffering actually mount inexorably in helpless moments, and allowing nature to have that power over me - as I simply have no other choice, struggle being futile and only worsening things.
Over the last months and years I've collected some lovely recordings of baroque music, and I take John Francis' advice when he opines (in his book The Ragged Edge Of Silence) that pre-industrial revolution music, especially baroque, comes inspired from a set of realities much closer to natural harmonies and rhythms. So I put on my playlist of gentler pieces, mainly Bach, soaked in the bath with epsom salts and lavender essential oil, and went deeply in to this downturn I am in, seeking grace. I found just a little; enough. I'm feeling a bit better this evening, and thought to share all this with you, before a sleep - (perchance, to dream).
This isn't my bathtub....but wouldn't it be lovely?