Wednesday, May 16, 2012

the limits of metaphor

I want to be happy. Maybe it is more true to say that I want to want to be happy. Or that I want to do the work, to put in the effort to be the happy person I believe I can or could be. Being happy would require letting go of many thoughts, thought patterns, fears, judgments, insecurities, and self-doubts. If all of those things could simply be gone--if my psyche could be hollowed out in a soul fire so that nothing but the foundation and walls remained--I'd be delighted. I don't want to have to do the work to carry all those things out of the room of my soul. I don't ever want anyone else to see it happen or to note the changes. I don't want the neighbors to notice all the trash I have to take the curb every day. I don't want my friends to walk in and say "My! You have done a lot with the place!" What I hear in those words is "And why on earth didn't you do this sooner? See. It is all your fault. You have willfully made yourself miserable and it's about time you wised up a little."

A tiny voice way back somewhere invisible tries to tell me that if I can cart out all this emotional junk and trash, I will hear different things in those words. That I will have let go of the filter that hears judgment in acknowledgment. I can't imagine what that would be like. I do know that I am the one judging myself. How did I let things get to be such a mess? What is my problem? My soul is cluttered Hoarders style. Do they shoot a series of that show for folks whose hearts are packed full of junk?

I understand my metaphor and the metaphor makes sense. If I could physically remove things from my soul--as I have been decluttering my home, for example--the task might be easier. I would see the holes for what they are as soon as I removed something. This is all internal work and I can't always see what it is I am doing. I don't know what it feels like to remove something and I don't know how to tell whether I have gone out in the middle of the night and taken it back from the curb. If I can learn to stop feeling rage at co-worker X for complaining about absolutely everything, does that have any effect on my irritation at co-worker Y? How do I take anxiety about the future to the curb? How do I package up nagging for pick-up? How do I get my arms around pushing others to love me so I can get it into the truck and take it to the dump? The metaphor grows and it still doesn't offer any guidance when I want practical solutions.

I absolutely hate the thought of others witnessing any growth or change on my part. That's too much. Too close. To fragile. Too intimate. I don't know how to be graceful in this. I don't want to talk about it. Don't want to think about it. Don't want to think about talking or thinking about it. It seems, of course, that this is just what must happen, just what needs to be done. I am rebelling. Throwing a tantrum because I can't change the shape of the world. I suppose people must do this all the time--grow and shift and change and things. I suppose I do so, too, and that others notice it and adjust. I am resigned to that and it still bothers me. No one else tells me about ways in which I may have changed or grown (or shrunk); I can't see it, either. How will I know, then, if I change any of these thoughts or attitudes in positive ways?