Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Own Best Friend

Women sing and cry about not being seen or heard. Yet if that other person truly did not see you, then you were also not seeing them. For if you were, then why would you stay? At the very least, you have willingly put blinders on. We cannot cling to our sense of injustice and abuse if we allow ourselves to fully grasp this truth.

Why do patterns of dysfunction keep playing out in some people's lives? Of course, this is a complicated question. Yet at the heart of it, I think it's partly that we have memories of pleasure and connection along with the ones of trauma and dissolution. The awful truth is that love and pain are too often intertwined, and the things exposed to us at a young age become engrained within us, so that life's impetus can be a journey of undoing and remaking of oneself. To be whole again, from the fragmented pieces.

Sometimes in the course of that journey, we are drawn to that which can only lead to our undoing, the link between our deepest impulses and our self-destruction too strong a pull to deny. If we come close enough to the flame, perhaps we will learn. For some of us, it takes more than being singed - for the more we can take on, the more we seemingly must endure to learn. Somehow, life rarely pushes us far enough. So on and on, we seek the extremities of experience, for our salvation or destruction, whichever comes first. And if we manage to escape from a hell of our own making, wounded yet spirit stubbornly intact... maybe then we will have come close enough to the vast void to say our prayers of gratitude, and finally become the loving keeper of ourselves, protectors of a unique spark of creation.


Elektra is a beast, four feet long, thick, with a beautiful golden brown pattern. She is a three-year-old royal python. A slight dilemma has emerged since taking her home. She is a hunter and her appetite leans toward the living. I have not been able to wean her off her taste for live rats. In one sense, it is easier than handling a frozen one, which in its own way is creepier. Some of my friends have tried to guilt me for sacrificing living rats to my snake. None of the naysayers are vegetarian, so this argument doesn't really fly for me. Maybe it's not such a bad thing to get closer to the source, not be so detached from the experience of being a carnivore. We will see. I realize I have a soft spot for predators. Part of me wants to embrace the whole world. I am learning it is all right to want to connect and at the same time, that boundaries are very important for my own self-preservation. Immersing myself in the healing profession has helped me draw those lines, allowing me to reach out and connect while maintaining my own integrity. I am learning that connection does not necessarily have to mean baring my naked soul to everyone, that real intimacy is a gift shared with a special few, and that there is nothing wrong with taking care of myself first. As Tracy Chapman sings, "This Time, I'm gonna be my own best friend." I am still learning, thank you universe.