Sunday, October 12, 2008

Raindrops On A Pond

Once upon a time, a pretty long time ago before I married the person who briefly was my husband, he and I had been sitting around talking, smoking a spliff. We were pretty good friends back then, and in hindsight he was someone I shouldn't have married and probably could have stayed friends with. But I was younger...

We used to talk about a lot of things... but somehow this particular conversation sparked a visual thought and while I can't remember the conversation, I've always remembered the vision. It was me, looking at myself, but looking at the basic of me, with larger and larger versions of myself superimposed over it. Kind of like looking at a picture printed on glass, with the same printed picture slightly larger on another piece of glass which was on top of the first one, and so on and so on. What it represented, that visual, was me being able to see me (or others) at various stages of life--larger, wiser (hopefully) but at the same time, always me.

At another point in time, long after the husband and I had ceased to be, I used to post to a few user groups (aah, remember bbs'?) and on one of them, someone had suggested I start a blog. It took me years to get around to that but in the meantime I had the thought that I would start a website that would have been essentially the same thing--an exploration of the crap that floats around in my head. I'd spent some time working on a logo for it, and the logo was circular because by then, I had realized that my interactions with people tend to circle outward, like ripples on a pond. And like looking at raindrops on a pond, sometimes the ripples from the individual drops overlap, sometimes they intersect; sometimes they have nothing at all whatever to do with each other.

Yesterday, both of those pretty different visual thoughts sort of coalesced into something...

I've said I have a sensor for people in mental distress... and often I get sucked into their circle because of it. Maybe "distress" isn't quite the right word, since it’s sort of a sense of "flux" or movement... maybe they're "seeking", but there is a sense of movement in them that I pick up on. The outright distress can be weird... sometimes I run into people and the hairs on the back of my neck go up. Once I had friend who was suffering from PPD --she subsequently committed herself a hospital for 6 weeks, and I ran into her one day on the street and she looked like a completely different person, even though everything else about her was the same as it's always been. Her whole being was different from what I knew of her. Another time I ran into an acquaintance and could feel myself being sucked in, but I didn't know or like her well enough to allow it. But her distress was great. Most of the time, though, the flux is very subtle and I often don't recognize it right away. I'm trying to train myself... it would save me a lot of heartache.

And I've gotten slightly better at recognizing the distress or flux or whatever and not mistaking it for something else, but I'm still working on that. Although I wonder if sometimes it only works because I DO mistake it for something else.

Because often, particularly if I care for someone, I can "see" the end result of their journey... the power that they will be, and often I can see the points at which they will change in order to get to a certain plane--those planes of glass superimposed on each other. When I was younger, and didn't at all understand how this whole thing worked, the points they needed to get to were so obvious to me it would frustrate the hell out of me that they themselves couldn't see it. It made me seem judgmental. It made me um, a tad bossy. OK, a lot bossy, because I would be adamant that they should do things a certain way. When people would take what seemed to me like major detours--going off in angles from where they needed to end up, I would be dismissive cuz to me, it just seemed like ignorance.

And since often, I'm looking at the topmost plane of the person; it's what I react to and how I treat them. I think that because that top plane is what they will be at some point--it already exists in them--they often respond in kind for a time, but because they aren't really "there" yet, at some point they will need to go off and continue the journey. When this happens, I always feel "left behind". It always hurts. And it has bewildered me, too, because I would watch them from afar, watch them grow, and wonder why I wasn't a part of it anymore. My own "ism" is that it's hard for me to let people go... especially ones I love... and long after they've moved on to the next plane of their lives I still hold on... still follow them in my heart, watching them make progress. There are quite a few people who's names are still etched in my heart, people who I still think of if not every day, certainly frequently enough so that they are never forgotten but who I haven't spoken to in years. And sometimes I know that I'll never speak to them again. I know it's not worth if for me to "go after" them because I'm not really part of their lives. And whether the person is male or female doesn't matter--letting go of them hurts tremendously. With some people I can see the separation coming, and with others I have no idea until it happens, but it still hurts, letting go of them.

Somewhere in the past few years I came to understand the "mental distress" thing. And in the past year I came to terms with being able to "see" the complete person. Ironically enough, watching "Heroes" the last three seasons has helped because of characters like Hiro and Peter, who can time travel and who regularly confront different versions of themselves and the people they know. It reminds me of the exhibit about Einstein at the Museum of Natural History I saw a few years back, and how Einstein had theories of how time bends relative to where you are standing. It was fascinating... and as abstract a concept as it is and how "scientific" it is (and I am decidedly NOT scientific about most things) I could feel an understanding of it.

What I haven't realized until fairly recently... OK, maybe even today, was the fact that what I'm seeing sometimes isn't really there. Yet. And, that people have to take their own journeys to get to those certain planes I can see... and that the journey itself is just as important as the planes they will touch as they make that journey. And like Hiro and Peter, sometimes "meddling" isn't a good thing and you end up disturbing the natural ripple. Sometimes, I can't tell someone what I see... sometimes I need to keep my big mouth shut because telling them something they aren't ready to accept only makes them determined to follow another path. But sometimes that's sooooo hard for me to do....

Yeah I know. Maybe I should have figured this out earlier. Particularly since my own journey has been erratic. It's like looking a series of pictures about some one's trip somewhere... there they are standing somewhere in Venice. In the next picture they are in front of Big Ben in London. They have the memory and the knowledge of the trip to Venice to London, and all that they saw or did in between those two points, the things they bought or collected, but you only know for certain the pictures you are seeing. If it were your own trip, it would be in reverse. Only with me, it may be a future picture and not just a past one.

I can't "see" myself (or close family either). And I can only look back at my own stages and planes from the top of each point to which I've ascended... and I don't see future pictures of me. At least I don't think I can... maybe I don't recognize them immediately as being "not now".

I look at the people I know and love, look at the raindrops on a pond... each drop causing a ripple that works its way outward, touching things along the way, gathering or decreasing in speed and power depending on its journey. But I can't see the actual movements, only the end results.

So "duh" on me. Maybe I should have realized this sooner... but like a kid who needs glasses, to me, I've always seen the world in a particular way, not realizing that this was only MY reality and not the reality of a kid with 20/20 vision. Then someone noticed maybe I squinted too much and took me to get glasses and then I realize "Oh!" It can be joyous, but a little strange.

So part of all this, the important part to me, is "letting go". Realizing that people have to be free to make their own journeys and their own quests. That I can't spare them the pain or the hardships they will endure, that in order to get to the points in which I see them, they have to do it themselves. It will tear me apart sometimes. Even when I want to scream "NO, NO, don't DO that!!! Can't you see!?" I have to remember that they can't see... or sometimes they can but they must complete the quest in order to get to a particular plane of existence. I have to have faith, too, that for people I love so deeply, that our circles will overlap at some point in the future, or that they will intersect again. And for others, maybe I won't. But it's part of life.

Because I know that on my own journey, I have to follow the path I see... though I try to be strong enough sometimes to take the leap of faith, to change direction because someone outside of me can see my path more clearly than I can. But that takes a LOT of faith...

I suppose that part of it is my own struggle with God. I know He's there. I know I can't "see" what He sees and I certainly don't have even a tiny percentage of His ability to see. Where I only see my own pond, He sees the entire ocean. I remind myself that He's the one who sees my path and that I need to trust Him and recognize when it's time to change direction. But it's so murky sometimes... that leap of faith is so hard, probably because I confuse it with what I can see. But it makes me remember that if it's hard for me to listen to God, it's gotta be doubly hard for someone to listen to me... I am NOT God, afterall. Who am I to tell anybody what they should do?

Part of what brought me to this point was Nene, ironically enough.

The other night he was insistent that I wait for him, because he wanted to ride the bus with me and the Sun. I'm not involved with him any more, and he's not in as much mental flux as he was before so there's been "air" between us but I still see him all the time. It's gotten pretty comfortable, actually. But it also means that I've been able to see him more objectively, the way he is now at this moment, and not how he'll be at some point from now. Friday night, I was watching him and it suddenly occurred to me that there was a difference between his now and his future... a huge difference. Maybe even years. The part that I was so very attracted to was definitely his future self. But he is moving toward that point, and he will get there, even if I probably won't be there with him when he gets there. I realized how very certain I was of him just a few months ago... and that I wasn't wrong... but I was looking at things from the topmost plane and not at the plane he is now.

On the way home on the bus, he started talking to me about what was going on in his life... and everything I had told him would happen was happening, but unlike before he wasn't stressed. He was in control of himself. He had to make the journey in order to get where he is now. I listened to all that he was saying never once saying "I TOLD you so", cuz I had promised him I never would...

So I came home and thought about all this. And realized that by letting go of people to go off and explore themselves, sometimes they come back... sometimes the circles intersect again even if it's at a different point. And this is pretty comforting to me, cuz I do hate letting go of people. It's nice to know that sometimes they aren't actually leaving my life, just moving onto a different plane.

Duh.

4 comments:

Torrance Stephens - All-Mi-T said...

u sound so philosophical
glad they suggested u start a blog
and the spliff - yum

BigBear said...

Yup, ya got to let go. You can't control others loves or tell them what to do no matter how clearly you see it. Ya can't even tell your children. Riding up in the car yesterday MMB told the Prof. "I hear what you say, I do, but I'm a kid and I have to explore and learn it for myself", the Prof had to day 'yeah, you right" And you know how hyge that is. I told MMB, Ok, here's my rules, no sex, no preg. no drugs no likker" She told me no sex no preg redundant, for you now at 14, but not later. we agreed. so we, even me the Control Queen, have got to "let the children go.....be freeeee"

Anonymous said...

Woo hoo on the spliff....;) And btw, I used to run a BBS...did for years!

(lurk mode ON)

chellewoods said...

That was from me btw...