A curious thing happened during a conversation in a car. This led to an email query somewhere else. An oddly cheerful response came quickly and in the instant of that moment as it sunk in, I felt the foundations of my private inner world shift and crack. Two months later the ground still feels unsteady but I now know with the help of good counsel that the fault line was there all along, deep, unstable, barely visible. The curious thing that happened in the car was as inevitable as was my private earthquake.
This is a gift of challenging proportions.
I’m walking forward anyway, through the rubble of old belief systems. As I move on and through I’m seeing curious things I’d never noticed before. Other things that used to seem bewilderingly odd now make perfect sense. It’s a lot to take in, on top of the regular things I do, since those things too appear differently in this new context. I’m often exhausted by both the broadness of my new world, and the newness of myself within it.
Context and complexity – so very important to understand that we cannot know the whole, or the parts without observing how things intersect. Thank you Nora Bateson, for this.
I carry a kind of grief for things lost that wants to claim every moment, but so far has not; there is real beauty in this new place, and peace. If I can stay rested and curious, grief and I can have good, rich conversations, but there is a time each day when they demand a kind of forensic focus on how, exactly, this feels.
I begin to understand that this grief too teaches me more about complexity, as I mine my history for hidden memories, and sort through what’s been broken for what might be worth fixing. I’ve read and spoken to many who better understand this piece of our so human puzzle. Most recently Katherine Schafler has been helpful.
Though they are important, of course feelings aren’t the point, though objective management of them can be a way to claim meaning for your pain. Meaning can lead to choice – the kind of choice that leads to well considered action in a complex world. This resonates with what Bell Hooks writes, that love is more action-in-honesty than it is an expression of feeling. I agree. We’ve swallowed a great deal of misinformation about love and gender in this culture. Disney has a lot to answer for, though I must say, they appear to be trying to address this.
Today I purged four boxes of books from my shelves, and noticed that so much of the published and printed writing in this house is white, Eurocentric, patriarchal, colonial. In many ways the ideas, theories and art recorded in these pages represents my heritage, the bricks and mortar of my socio-economic privilege, my cultural harness and my pigeon-hole.
From this new and broad place here it’s easy to see what is simply no longer relevant. Tomes I’ve kept for forty years are now gone; they are untranslatable into this moment of us, now.
Here is where a new story begins. as told by a single white woman descended from industrial Scots, farmer Scots, and teachers of english literature, living in English Canada on Ojibwe treaty land. Mother of a lovely, smart, compassionate young woman. Complex and connected.
Artist, musician, writer. One tiny intersected piece in this great gift of challenging proportions.