Thoughts

Acceptance (Or Something Like It)

Having recently read Bessel van der Kolk’s The Body Keeps the Score, I’d decided soon after finishing the book to try one of the recommended readings.  I chose Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Coming To Our Senses, mainly because van der Kolk discussed some of the collaborations the two of them used in studies.  I haven’t put it up on my Goodreads, partially because the book has a weird dual thread of (Kabat-Zinn’s) self-promotion & actual insightful commentary on human perception that bothers me.

But there is one concept that I’ve been stuck on for the past few weeks that I keep playing with mentally.  Kabat-Zinn mentions the Kanizsa triangle, an illusion where three circles suggest a triangle at their center due to their shape.  He presents a scenario where a Zen teacher shows this figure to a student & says something like, “If you say there is a triangle in the center, I will tell you that you’re wrong.  If you say there isn’t a triangle in the center, I will tell you that you’re wrong.”

My initial reaction was a fear where there is no right answer, meaning (for my people-pleasing self) that I cannot make the other person happy or content or solve the problem they present me, meaning a frightening (but purely hypothetical) situation where I can’t solve their problem or get away from their scrutiny.  The idea that ambiguity resides outside of my attempts to understand or create order was terrifying.  Ambiguity means unassessed threats means I might get hurt means run away run away run away NOW.

(And if I wasn’t trying to be honest & make a point here, I’d link to Courtney Love’s “Mono” where she screams those last few words.)

All of that was my traumatized brain.  And now that I’m healing, I’m facing this idea of ambiguity, where things do & do not exist at the same time, & thinking that I might be able to learn to be ok with it.  At least, that’s the skill I want to have moving toward.  I’ve left behind the over-used survival instinct & the chronic exhaustion it causes.  I’m struggling now with the remaining traces on my reasoning, where categorizing past experiences as either all good or all bad seems like an easy solution.

But that’s not what I want.  I want to accept myself & my place in the world & grow stronger from that purposeful knowledge, not from the reactions to the ghosts of the past & the wolves at the door.

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Thoughts

The Not-Snow Day

Grey Window View
Morning View in the Winter

Yesterday was an odd day.  I woke up to a temperature of -3° Fahrenheit & a heater that was struggling mightily to heat the rest of the house.  My husband & I decided to spend most of the day in our upstairs bedroom where the heat from the sun would be captured & our flannel-covered bed could help keep us warm.

It was like a snow day without the snow; a sick day without actually being ill.  We went nowhere, camped out with a bunch of books & busywork, & indulged our cat as he stretched more & more across the width of the bed.  But this is not really what was odd.

What was odd to me was the relative quiet within myself.  I’m a jittery person that is constantly pacing & trying to figure out what to focus on first, because there are always so many things I must be neglecting or forgetting to do.  And I’m still that person to a certain extant, but with the recent PTSD treatments I’ve had have turned a lot of that interior noise way down.  I still felt some guilt over choosing to do almost nothing for the entire day, but I was able to do it with the emotional mudslide.  I could answer the question, “What about. . .” with a common shrug & let the thought alone.

I don’t know if I’ll ever really stop fighting myself—that constant tension between what I want & what I think I’m supposed to do or what I think others think I’m supposed to do has been with me so long.  Anticipate, defend, escape, repeat.  But yesterday was the growing proof that the tone could change, that a different balance could be found.  And that insight is such a small, powerful thing that it scares me too because it is too dear to be lost.

But the fear is not the stronger emotion; what prevails is the wonder & the hope for the future.

Thoughts

Revisiting Dante

I’m rereading Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy at the moment as part of a small discussion group headed up by one of my friends.  I know it probably sounds completely uncool to say I’m enjoying re-immersing myself in this ambitious, influential work, but then I’ve always embraced being a Book Dork.  And reading Dante is a challenge that has consistently challenged me as a reader.

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Thoughts

Stray Thoughts: Anime Suggestions

Maybe I finally started watching anime because there’s a healthy sample of patrons at my library who regularly check out the DVDs we offer.  Or maybe I got frustrated enough with the various Abridged Series on YouTube that I actually wanted to start looking for something that would appeal to me past the pop culture jokes.  (Don’t get me wrong–I love the stuff put out by people like Team Four Star & they’re talented people, but I think I’ve had my fill of supernatural fighting tournaments.)  Whatever the the spark was that caused my curiosity to catch, I’ve spent the last few months exploring the vast world of anime & have been enjoying myself immensely.

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Thoughts

Seeing the World In Code

So as I mentioned a few posts back, I’ve made my way through the online lessons at Codecademy, brushing up on my HTML & CSS skills.  As I was working through the last third of the ‘Make An Interactive Website’ course, there were a few beginning lessons on how to use JavaScript and jQuery.  These programs focused on how to handle user-end actions like clicking or pressing a key on the keyboard.  As I worked through the practice lessons, I was often reminded of Ellen Ullman’s novel The Bug, which is also about programming code.

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