Saturday, 25 October 2008

We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.
~ Carl Jung

Today just hasn't happened, you know? I don't know what I'm feeling. I feel like I am grieving for lost things and I don't even really know what they are, or I don't want to look at them. I am so fucking sick of looking at those things.

It's hot and I don't want it to be. I want to stay inside and shore up myself and try and regain some peace and equilibrium. Staying inside here when it is hot, in my flat-roofed house, requires air conditioning. I don't like using the aircon. This is the one thing I dislike very much about my house.

I dislike a lot of things today. I don't know if I am sick in my body or just in my soul. Or is it my spirit? I get my parts mixed up. Today I have basically sat around all day feeling discombobulated, only to go and sleep at 3 o'clock for three hours. Which isn't exactly the best thing to do to combobulate yourself, but today was shot to hell to begin with. I don't know why my spirit is troubled, but it is and it has been for days.

I know the things I need to do to work towards getting myself out of funks. It doesn't take much for me to return to the land of the living again. This post is the beginning of it. I am spinning The Smiths' Hatful of Hollow on their first rotation belonging to me. This is a start. This removing yourself out of a funk is doing things with the left hand while not telling the right hand. Before I know it, I'm spinning out about particle theory and the infinite possibilities of life lived in an extra few dimensions, and chatting to a friend and catching up, and then it's okay, you know? So many everyday things seem wonderful to me these days. Just the small, simple things have such beauty.

But not tonight. Tonight it's all flat. I feel lonely. Sometimes my mistakes weigh heavy. I will never have children. I want an extended holiday. I want to meet a few people who actually want to connect with me. The future unnerves me. My flaws and wounds sit heavy this evening and once again I am in the space of radical not-okayness. Andrea texted me earlier, inviting me over for dinner, and though I really wanted to go, I just couldn't rouse myself, but instead went to bed. Now I wish I was there.

Some people live in the space of radical not-okayness all their lives, only shaking it off when the eccies kick in, or in those short, sharp bursts of joy and pleasure that come upon us suddenly out of the blue and contain just as much pain as joy. I listened to a podcast this afternoon, called Zencast, which spoke about this radical not-okayness that characterises so much of our lives. It was nice to be reminded again of the okayness, even if I don't feel like I am swimming in it this evening. Spiritual seers such as Richard Rohr talk about the okayness underpining such things also. It feeds out into what is called by some the joy of the Lord. Yes, it is most certainly my strength. It has pulled me out of many funks and maybe, writing these words here this evening, it will pull me out of this one.

Not that I want to be pulled into bright, shiny spaces. If I had a choice, I would rather stay in the funk of moroseness than the pretence of bright shininess. The former is healthier for the soul than the latter, after all, and I feel God especially close to me in my moroseness, as he is to all. If God favours anyone, it is the poor, in whatever incarnation that takes.

No, the radical okayness of things is not bright shininess, although there is certainly great beautiful light there, and certainly glittering things that dazzle my eyes. The potentiality of all things. The whispers that I feel deeper than my marrow that are in so many respects the opposite of what cultural Churchianity sees. That is almost something akin to a spiritual negative of what the reality of things is, with their overemphasis on sin and the separation of everything, of the body from a life in God, of the body from their own souls, of God from the multitude of his creation, and really, sometimes I wonder if this generation of Christians are not the most spiritually depleted of all time? Surely they are some of the ugliest people, and I can say that from personal experience also. Fall into a life of God and then fall into a ditch of legalism and hatred of others, doing and saying all the right things without the spirit. How much evil human beings can commit out of doing what they believe is right.

Perhaps that is all purposeful. Perhaps that ugly rock of Christianity is needed to show us what is inside us, the strands to be teased out so micro-thin, our inablity to discern wheat from tares and life from death so strong that it takes years of walking in the death spaces in the name of God before we wake up. He is so very patient about it all.

Walking in the spaces of everything is okay doesn't mean that everything is right, however. This is what I was reminded of this afternoon as I listened to that podcast full of such wisdom. What it means is that there is room for us to sit tight and not be carried away. But of course, what we need to do that - and this is where cultural Churchianity has failed most - is to be reminded over and over again that everything is only radically okay because we, in our messes and our horriblenesses, are also radically okay. It seems counterintuitive, does it not? But it is as Jung said - there is no moving forward into growth and change without knowing that where you are you are still loved.

This is partly where my irritation is coming in. Today I am not okay with myself. The ugliness of my own soul is apparent to my own soul. I feel like something stinking to myself and it's not only because I haven't had a shower. These spaces are becoming less familiar to me, I must say. It is a reminder to me that this is how many people in the world feel everyday, dragging themselves behind themselves, feeling the slight unease that somehow they are wrong, they just don't measure up. But surely that is the radical good news of the gospel, that we are bigger than we once thought, that we are free to love and cherish ourselves as something of infinite worth, as people who have greater stores of strength than we realise much of the time. Because if you don't even love yourself well, you will not love your neighbour very well either.

I believe that. Tonight, though, I just don't feel it.


  1. Oh honey, don't listen to the Smiths when you're down. How Soon is Now is the most depressing song on earth.

    Anyhow, nothing is separate from God. I agree that churchianity has put the emphasis on the wrong thing...the separateness, which I don't think really exists. Sometimes I think christianity has created this myth of being separated to make an excuse for us being rotten to each other, and then Jesus is the scapegoat, because if we were to accept that we aren't separated from God we would feel even rottener.

    If that makes any sense.

    Anyhow, don't complain to me about it being too hot, I don't want to hear it. We had frost last night.

  2. Sue, thank you for this post. I needed to hear today. I understand. I have been in this place for a while now. Something that a friend and I have said to each other more than once is, 'I'm not okay but I'm okay.' Counterintuitive indeed. Hmm... a hug to you across the ether.

  3. and this is where cultural Churchianity has failed most....is to be reminded over and over again that everything is only radically okay because we, in our messes and our horriblenesses, are also radically okay.

    Very very true Sue.

  4. Erin - but what else to listen to when you're down except morose music? It's not like I'm gonna bop along to Katrina and the Waves. I don't want to get jollied out of my mood. I want to swim in it for a while and acknowledge it and say it's okay to feel this way and stick my finger up at my parents who inadvertently taught me otherwise. Morrisey is a good man to accompany me into that place. :)

    That's an interesting comment you made. I keep noticing how it is that we can come so close to the solving of something horrible, but humanity often stops just before it gets there, while thinking it's there. And so it's from this space that it tries to solve stuff, instead of entering in further to the darkness (the deepest before the dawn), and then we wonder why things don't turn out? Hmmm, I don't know if I can articulate exactly what I mean. Must ponder some more.

    I'm sorry about the frost and your eggplantness ;)((hug))

    KG - I so often hesitate writing these posts because ... well, for what I just said to Erin, I guess. I have been trained inadvertently to keep my mouth shut when I am suffering. But it seems whenever I do open it, and post something where I feel self-indulgent, someone thanks for me it. Isn't it strange? :)

    I'm not okay but I'm okay. That is such a wonderful space to be in (and such a crap space to be in but you know what I mean :)

    Kent - I think this is also in the realm of what I was just trying to articulate above to Erin. Churchianity always stops short. And the answers it gets from there are just crappy. Which has just made me laugh, for some strange reason :)

    Mike - thank you very muchly indeed. Most appreciated :)

  5. Oh honey, don't listen to the Smiths when you're down. How Soon is Now is the most depressing song on earth.

    first off, that's just plain hilarious. second, i'm not making this about music, it just happens to be the topice at hand :-). it reminds me of a quote from billy corgan i read once that has always stuck with me. "listening to the cure never depressed me. it always made me feel better to know that someone out there felt the same way i did." which may be why you find it comforting, sue?

    if your heart needs a good squeezing to get some of the goo out, epitaph act ii might be just what you need. as the second act of my tale, it is a tale of healing. i'm glad you have it.

    but yeah. i got you. some days, nothing can get me down. there's no veil, joy is flowing, its all good. then there are the other days.

    the days where i think that just wiping ourselves out in one fell swoop with nuclear annihilation wouldn't be such a bad move. it almost seems reflexive. when i have a really good high, i have an opposite low usually right around the corner. elijah had the same thing, if i recall.

    god sends down tangible "fire from heaven" at elijah's behest and after it happens and a major victory is had, elijah goes and lays down under the tree and says "take me now. i can't do this shit any more."

    so it's good to listen when you are willing to share things like this. listening to it doesn't depress me at all. in fact, it makes me feel better to know that someone out there feels the way i do. :-)

  6. Don't get me wrong, I love The Smiths. But generally when I'm down they make me feel like jumping off a bridge. And I happen to like Susie-Q.

    But I get what you guys mean about commiserating in misery. Just don't do it TOO long. ;-)

  7. Hmmm. Okay, people seem to appreciate me waxing whingey so maybe I will commit to doing more blogging I'm wanting to press the nuke button :)

    Interesting the ups and lows that flow, isn't it? I don't recall having a particular up though, recently, so hopefully this one is happening in opposite, a low followed by a high. It's not really bad, you know. I'm just dramatic. It depends on how much I'm willing to look at it and watch it grow. If I just accept it's there like the good Buddhist I am becoming, then it's all good, you know? It's just the disorientation phase, the reorientation is coming.

    I agree, it makes me feel better knowing that others feel the way I do, and that they have made art out of the experience. and it's okay, Erin, I'm not gonna jump off no bridge or anything. I would choose a much better way to go. I think I would go the easy route of the exhaust pipe into the car window, I think, listenign to one of Jon's mix tapes while I go :)

    I agree about not doing it too long, Erin. I don't actually think it's all that possible for me. Something comes along to take my fancy and before I know it I'm caught up and then I'm playing with pencils and then a good song comes on and ... you know how it goes


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