Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lincoln Logs and the Lexicon of Doubt

Over the past week to ten days I have had the distinct blessing of connecting with long lost family...something I believed might never happen.  I've harbored so many of the negative thoughts, beliefs and memories of "how things 'were' " that I am now discovering that as I mention in other posts, there are so many thoughts and beliefs that we never question, never doubt...taking them at face value, then, creates a prison of our own making.

Before I discovered my AgCC, I was intent on making myself the victim, and the World "out there" the victimizer.  The mind, everyone's mind, does an extraordinary job of taking reality, warping and conforming it to our beliefs about reality.  Again, this much is true for everyone.  Having been introduced to The Work of Byron Katie, the most valuable of all tools I have ever been given, is the notion to question my beliefs.  Not just "big" beliefs, i.e.: politics, religion, etc...that's part of it, but not what I'm referring to here.

Looking back on many years of dysfunction, I now understand (in my gut, not just in my head) that family, friends, loved ones, acquaintances, ourselves...we haven't any choice but to respond to what appears before us, with the knowledge we have (or don't have), and move forward as to what we think is appropriate.

I've entertained the story of being the victim for so many years, that it has clouded my judgment, my history, even my memories.  If there had been positives, I mightn't even "remembered" them (re-member=reassemble, put back together) the way things truly were, but the way the mind insisted they were in light of my tightly held beliefs about me, my life, my history, etc...

Fast forward to 2012...:  I have begun to experience, at least for myself, how our most deeply held beliefs, and yes, even memories,  can be tainted.  Wrongly held thoughts and beliefs lead to suffering...the "one that is suffering" works diligently to reinforce those beliefs, out of fear for "its" survival...which reiterates more suffering, and on and on...but we can break those chains.

I have found it is not even necessary (nor really possible) to try and forcefully change our thoughts, it is not possible to "positive affirmation them away", (which the mind takes as a lie and defends itself against.)  Rather, we can simply treat our thoughts, as our own errant children.  I can ask, "is it true?", "is it absolutely true?"  And who knows, we may find that there is truth in it, and if we sit with it, not analyzing but sitting with it, we/I may find that it isn't, or might not really be true.  Even if we find it isn't, it may not be possible, and is usually counterproductive to challenge those thoughts and beliefs in a fight.

Making Space, where before was none!
I found that I can then go inside, asking myself, how it is I feel, how do I react, what happens when I believe the thought...?  And just sit with it, don't challenge it, let that sit in the quiet place inside, and come up with its own answer.  This most naturally leads to "what would happen if I could not believe the thought at all?" (in the same situation that provokes it in the first place.

This seems to create, in the mind, room to "nudge things around", making space where before there was none...and still, this does not mean we need to do anything with the thought/the belief.  And this is where the true magic begins...you see, what I've discovered for myself is if simply and only we allow the mind to look at all the possiblities, it may move,shift, change, all on its own, without our "help."

Anyway...over the past week of getting to know some of my long lost relations, I've had the opportunity to first hand reexamine so many of my thoughts and beliefs.  I'd held these "so close to the vest" that I didn't dare look at them, for fear (fear of what I now wonder) of what they might really show me.

My cousin "L" ( I prefer to protect other's privacy until/unless I'm told its unnecessary) and I, found each other on Facebook, and as we were chatting (just discovered one can use FB to chat...WAY kewl), many, many memories came bubbling to the surface...ones I'd all but (thought I'd) forgotten.  I remember her mom, my Aunt F (there goes initials again, just sayin' lol) and spending time over there house.  The cascade of memories began with a wondeful old set of Lincoln Logs..the real deal, not the new fangled plasticized mess.

drip, drip, drip
Allowing myself to consider, to remember this, was like drip, drip, drip...like water, soft, but capable of moving mountains...drip, drip, drip, Aunt F's face, her smile, drip, drip, drip, my cousins L and K, drip, drip, drip, my brother, my mom, my dad... water is soft, but OH so powerful.  

The tiniest crack, made by the accurate remembering of those who loved/love me...I'm both amazed and overwhelmed (in a good way.)  

The truth is, I've harbored so many negative memories...and perhaps some are true...but they blind us to the good.  I've been so afraid of doing The Work on my parents, or rather the fear in me has been so afraid...How could these wonderful people have been any different than they were?  I have let my fear drive me for years, it has kept me from knowing them, from reaching out...All I can think of now, is how much they did for me, how much they love me.

My first "Lincoln Log memory" in this regard, the first drip, drip, drip, was my dad teaching me how to ride my first bicycle (without training wheels.)  I SO remember my fear that I was never going to do it...I remember his patience...and I remember his joy when he finally pushed me off, and I pedaling like a mad person discovered one of my first freedoms.

I remember dad, an avid photographer, taking me in his work van very early on a Sunday morning to NYC...going through the wondrous, now empty streets...walking across the immense George Washington Bridge.

And I remember mom...on the very first day of kindergarten...she had no way of knowing, and I had no way of telling her, how horrified I was, that I felt like a pinball in a sea of other children that I could see, but not connect with.  On that morning I remember getting a (what I remember to be) large splinter in my finger from the block I was playing with...I think at that point I "wrote of" kindergarten! LOL)...but she was there for me.

I remember my tricycle, and when we discovered I was allergic to bee stings.  The curious little boy that I was, I saw this pretty brown and yellow thing on the handlebar, and I SLAPPED it hard...I remember my arm swelling up like a balloon...and mom was there...she was always there for me...drip, drip, drip...it only just take a little space, opening to possibilities.  (Byron) Katie has said she discovered that when she believed her thoughts/stories about what was/is she suffered, but when she questioned them she was free.  This is now my experience too.  I'm not saying that I don't have eons of misunderstanding to investigate, I surely do...but...I don't fear it anymore.  In fact, I invite it, embrace it, it is like an old friend come to show me how things really were, after all.

Overcome with love, grace and gratitude,
~Just Joe

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