Week 2, by Susan Schwartz
(A note from Tracey. Before we dive in, I want to reiterate that anyone who has the time should feel free to comment on comments left by other clubbers on each week’s post.
Also, I left this comment in regard to Tammi’s week 1 comment. I want to reiterate that most of us will likely need to pick and choose related to what we want, can, and do write about. Even Mark suggests taking it slow. For myself, I’m reading through each week’s material and then deciding what I want to write about it (usually only 1 of his invitations.) This may not be how Mark intended it, but we can only do what we can do! Most of Mark’s invitations are deep, so even in small chunks, there’s too much to do in a week. If you need to, during the week take a break. Breaks are OK! We can always return to material we want to explore further after the club or even years down the line!)
Here we go!
In this section, The Purpose of Will is what most spoke to me.
Nepo wrote “As the sun never stops shining no matter the weather, our heart is an inner sun that never stops emanating from within, no matter the psychic or circumstantial weather we encounter in the world.”
I found the comparison interesting, as well as how he writes about manipulating the blinds and windows to work through bad weather. I know that trying to bury feelings never served me well. Whenever I am brave enough to confront my feelings, a lightness opens up in my heart and mind.
As a child, not only was I not encouraged to talk about my feelings, it was also frowned upon. From Nepo’s perspective, my parents had too much control over the blinds and windows. Since I wasn’t guided on how to deal with my feelings, they just got pushed down into a boiling pit of unresolved issues. Living like that, I often felt choked up and I cried a lot. At times, I knew something was wrong but I didn’t fully understand why. My tool box was empty. My voice could be silenced but the tears could not be controlled.
Where once I felt uncomfortable expressing my feelings, I am now better able to understand and express myself. This took a lot of work. Let’s hear it for therapy and Brené Brown!
Every difficult situation I have confronted in a healthy way has shown me that expressing myself through words and art is a key part of my healing process.
Nepo then writes about how, instead of trying to control events, “the deeper purpose of will is to move in concert with everything around us.” Intellectually, I understand this concept. But in the middle of a crisis, this is not easy to do. Sure, a bird rides the air currents to get from A to B. And if its course is not a straight line, the bird literally just goes with the flow. And probably, the bird isn’t stressed about the detour. Maybe it doesn’t even recognize that there was a detour. The journey was never expected to be a direct line.
But me in a crisis? I see where I or a family member is, and I want the situation to go directly from A to B. And quickly. But reality isn’t like that. It can be so hard to accept where I am, the reality of it, and just go with the flow. I remember this concept being introduced at a family support class conducted by NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill). The crux of it boiled down to being present, not letting your mind ruminate about the past or get overwhelmed with anxiety about the future. You have to train yourself to stop focusing on expectations, and just deal with the moment at hand. Easier said than done, of course. I think many of us are wired to think about all kinds of what if’s, how to’s and other scenarios that don’t actually have a bearing on reality. We need to unlearn old coping mechanisms that haven’t paid off. But this is so hard to do!
Fortunately, when we can reel in our brains to focus on the present, we can get some much needed stress relief. It’s a practice that needs vigilance and we can get better at this over time.
Why do you think it’s so hard to get out of that “trying to control events” mode when in reality, we know we have so little control about events outside of our own body and mind?
What passages struck you in this section, and why?
Schedule to date:
- Week #3 To See One Thing in Another through As a Tuning Fork, Maria Rodgers O’Rourke Sept. 16
- Week #4 The Inner Experience of Truth through Feelings Are Paints, Tammi Scott, Sept. 23
- Week #5 <<<Break>>> pause, breathe, and catch up, Sept. 30
I will make the next round of assignments by random selection and announce them soon. Please note that spearheaders will only be chosen from those who have left comments on weekly posts.
A link will remain here to week 1 in case anyone wants to review the spearheading guidance. Week 1.
If you’re doing the art prompts, please send me pictures to include!