Thin Places

Wednesday 17 September 2008

I sat down this evening and watched myself a movie. Was feeling a bit kinda flat, you know? This middle ear infection has passed, but it's left me feeling a bit run down, a bit flat, even a bit fragile. It is a curious thing to me how often I can get about living my little life without really realising how I am feeling. There is a lot of layers and permission to go through to discover how we are feeling. This is a grace and a covering, but it is also a distraction. But a distraction that is in our own time and way to uncover. I feel I am getting to another level of knowing myself. There is no fear in it anymore.

The fragile feelings are no big deal. Just a general fragility that comes from feeling unwell. A gentle fragility so that I could easily overlook it, but which has come out in my urge to curl up on the couch, to treat myself to a movie, to not go to my writer's group this evening. It's come out in the drawing I did last night of a curled up figure under a pile of trees and came out on my thoughts as I realised the truth in the middle of speaking it to myself. I am feeling fragile. And so yesterday and today, I go easy on myself. This is the gentle way, instead of the self-hating ways I treated myself for so long in so many very small, not even discernible ways - not even overt self-hatred but simply the kind that we all indulge in - the refusal to allow myself to do the things I really want to do, the fun things, the creative things, the non-punishing things, a refusal to eat healthy food. Those little things I have indulged for so long and shall continue to keep indulging I'm sure in certain ways is why every piece of clay I mould and every time I dip a paintbrush something heals, blossoms and grows and it feels bloody exquisite.

These days I am aware of the scenic route. But most of all these days, I see no reason to withhold myself from it. I keep forgetting regularly and find myself on the potholed abbatoir/oil smelter route, but it's starting to get easier to realise that something is missing. The smell of trees, of ocean. Somehow and somewhere, through all this kiln firing of the past few years, suddenly I find it easier to turn a right and head back to the scenery. I don't need to drive by the abbatoir route because I am loved. It's as simple as that.

I don't think I needed to be taught self-restriction and self-punishment and self-loathing. I think it is a byproduct of living in a world where fear, anxiety and self- and other-hatred prevail. Choosing death. I see it in the eyes of every single person I know. Some strange version of self-punishment that squashes down so many things that we really want to do but don't allow ourselves. Or at least, that is how it has been in my own life.

My cousin emailed me on Monday. She'd been off the radar for several days, with one of those evil chest infections that are doing the rounds in Melbourne at the moment. Monday was the first day out of her sickness prison and there she sat, in a pocket of peace, drinking tea and reading a book about faeries, telling me about the fever that had a nice creative side effect of throwing up for her a main character that was dancing through her head, complete with illustrations. It made me laugh to read her email. It gave me the same feeling that I got tonight watching this movie (Sideways, highly recommended). A reminder of how much space there is. Sometimes I don't even need to be in the pockets of peace and space for it to open up to me. Sometimes I just need to remind myself of them and that's enough for me suddenly to be there, Toto.

Gee, there's a few cheesy Mariah Carey lyrics in this post, aren't there. Hmm. :)

Oh for a life where those pockets are everywhere! But I guess that's the rub. It's not that those pockets aren't everywhere. It's entering into them that is the difficulty, isn't it? It's not that there are no books about faeries to be read, and it's not even that we don't look with longing at those books sitting on the coffee table. It's not even that we don't have pockets of free time, unhindered, when we walk past those books sitting at the table. It goes more fundamental than that. I mean, reading a book about faeries is so ... childish, isn't it? And impractical. Especially when the dishes are to be done. And sometimes I think it goes even deeper than that. It goes right down to the level that L'oreal steals when they encourage you to buy their product because you're worth it. Because we kind of don't think we're worth it, a lot of the time, to do things like that, to sit down with a faerie book, to watch a movie, to draw, to paint, to pick up a guitar, to do the time-consuming what-the-hell-for things that we are screaming to do. The things that are for other people to do, but not for us. Bullshit.

Children, if they could understand adulthood, the long desert drearinesses, would be astonished to know that the veils and thin places and rabbit holes are so close to us. This is surely the astonishment. It's the thing I can't seem to get used to in this life - how close real life is, as close for all of us to reach out and touch. In my more mysical moments I would say that this knowledge swims through the blood of the entire human race, because Someone came to give it more abundantly. It's not confined to a particular group of people, although some claim to be able to give it a Name. It is a reality that seems available to everybody. It's just that there is an awful lot of casting off before the veils and thin places and rabbit holes become so apparent to us that we realise, with delight, that they are everywhere.

But this takes a lifetime, and more than one age, and it's for everyone.

But that's another story.


  1. Little pockets of air...
    in the atmosphere...
    make it easy to breathe.
    Fare-eh -eh - eh -well...
    to unpleasant scenes.

  2. I forgot about that song. Maybe time to revisit some PF I think :)


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