Tuesday, May 25, 2010


I'm losing my religion.  No, I'm not talking about Christianity.  That's a religion I could never "lose" because it's written into my soul.  My understanding and expression of it can and does deepen and change and grow, but what is essential in it cannot be lost, because, in the words of A Course in Miracles, "Nothing real can be threatened."

What I'm losing is the religion of "I need a partner to be complete," which is probably the most popular religion in the world, with the most convincing propaganda.  "Can't live without you," "You complete me," "You are my everything," are just a portion of its liturgy.

This process began several months ago with a short but powerful dream.  I was driving to my sort-of-sometimes-partner's house with the familiar feeling of anticipation and anxiety.  I need to see him.  What if he's not there?  What if he's with a woman?  It was nighttime, and there was a massive thunderstorm going on.  I could barely see the dirt road that leads to his place, and feared I would drive off the side into the ditch.  I was forced to slow down almost to the point of stopping, but was determined to go on.  I had to get there.  But all of a sudden, there was a huge flash of lightning that encompassed the whole scene.  I found myself enveloped and completely stopped by blinding light.  And in that moment, I just surrendered to it.  I gave up.  It was as though a voice deep inside me was saying, Stop this nonsense.  You are already here.  This light is what you want, and you are in it.  BE in it.  And I became very still and felt something akin to ecstasy in that living, permeating light.  I woke up.

The significance  and experience of this dream was so incredibly simple and obvious, so powerful, that it has remained prominent in my mind even though I didn't write it down and it was months ago.  But it's only now that I'm really starting to live its message, to truly be in that light without trying to get anywhere else.

And this has left me in a strange new space that keeps unfolding.  Until the other day, I couldn't say anything about it, but thanks to some blogging and other friends, I've found some words for it.  One thing I see now is that it's not even relationships I've been addicted to, but THINKING about relationships.  Since kindergarten, there's always been some boy on my mind.  Always.  And I get it now, that the need is to define myself against someone else.  Do I exist if you don't?  Hmmm.  I've realized that the only times I wasn't thinking about a boy, I was thinking about someone who might be mad at me, or someone I'm mad at.  It's about conflict, distance.  Needing to define my own existence as apart from, NOT together with someone else's, as it might appear.  Pure ego crap, to put it bluntly.

So now here I am, no longer a slave to those thoughts.  Now how do I define myself?  Well, I haven't been.  Which is why I've had nothing to say.  I've been deconstructed, I have no walls to bounce off, just free floating.  And I'm very aware that no matter what I say, I'm just making up stories, none of which are ultimately true.  And yet, as Kate put it in a comment on my last post, writing is the way to "know my insides."  The stories are not true, but can contain truth, as it much as truth CAN be contained.  And even more to the point, they construct meaning, a way of understanding.  Language has its limits, but can, at its best, point to truth.    

Jennifer and I had a conversation the other day about the limits of language, and how some words are just not adequate for what they describe.  The specific word in question was "recovery."  I don't think this word does justice to what it defines.  As Jennifer said, it implies a mask, a re-covering.  Once your light is uncovered, why re-cover it?  The word we agreed was better is "remembering," as in remembering who you really are, as in re-membering.  Sorting out and recreating the members of your being.  This is what's happening to me now.

I'm amazed at how quickly after re-entering the blogosphere, I gained inspiration and understanding through my blogging friends.  On Claire's blog the other day, she posted a quote about "inner geography," a term I immediately resonated with.  It gave me the language, the analogy to begin describing where I am.  It's as though I'm standing on the mountaintop of my inner geography for the first time in my life, exhausted and exhilarated from the climb, totally, gloriously alone, surveying my whole landscape.  But it all looks strange and unfamiliar from this vantage point, and I feel detached from it - I'm not IN it, consumed by it anymore.

The paradoxical beauty of this is that when I'm outdoors now, when I'm sitting in the grove by the church, for instance, I am oh so much more fully IN the grass, the sky, the birdsong, the breeze.

In Claire's post, she discussed an upcoming trip she's taking.  That woman is always going somewhere new in the world, and I admitted my envy of her being a globe-trotter.  She came back and said that I was a "self-trotter."  Yes.  I am traveling the world of myself, which is the world.  I'm in it, and it's everywhere in me.  Hallelujah.  As Rumi said, "To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes."  Hallelujah indeed.


  1. I am so happy you're blogging again. Love taking a tour through your mind! Thank you for this.

    I think the imperative to be partnered is hormonally driven. Past a certain age all of us wake up and realize it's not necessary anymore. It's one of the gifts of aging, if you ask me!

  2. You see this is what I love about blogging, and what people often don't get. It's all about conversation, and often the kind of amazing conversations you just don't have in everyday life.

    First up, I so appreciate that dissection of the word re-covery. So true, and I'd never thought of the word in any depth before. So thanks to you and Jennifer for that gift.

    Second, I've been single for several years now. I don't rule out another relationship and have dabbled in some online dating sites recently, but it's more out of "should" than "want". I see couples together and happy, and I see single people also happy.

    And on a practical level I have no idea how I would fit in all the dating side of things - you know, that going out for a drink or dinner to see if you're compatible, then the second date, then the third date and the decision whether it's too soon to have sex. (Or is that on second date nowadays??? First date??)

    Hmmm, I think I'll just go and have a nice cup of herb tea!

  3. Jennifer - !!!

    Reya - Yes, hormones play a part for sure, but it's more than that for me. Part of it has to do with wanting to raise my children with a father-figure, and like I said, it's also alarmingly about a need to latch onto someone else's identity.

    Tess - LOL! Reminds me of a line from the Fisher King, where Mercedes Ruehl's character says she's been dating longer than she's been driving, and calls it "a disgusting process."

    Yes, the conversation! It's a magical mystery tour.

    Wish I could sit and drink tea with you - that would probably be better than 99% of dates anyway!

  4. Great to have you back; every few days or so I'd scroll down my sidebar, note that you hadn't made another post yet and wonder what you're up to.

    I'm not sure that your habit of defining yourself in relation to others is egoistic, we're social creatures and our relationships are probably the most important things about us. The conflict thing is interesting though, I'll have to ponder that for a while.

    I really like the notion of being a 'self-trotter', that's another one to ponder.

  5. Was it Camus who said something like fiction is the lie that reveals the truth? (I wish I were better at quotes!) I really like the term inner geography...I do feel like I have whole landscapes and ecosystems in my brain to explore. Hidden caves and the like.

    I too am happy to see you have returned, and I applaud your self-realizations and aim to look to yourself through writing and thinking and being rather than defining by relationships. Self sufficiency should come before interdependence, I think. It's mighty hard to do it the other way around (though I think I did, or am getting closer anyway). Welcome back! You have been missed.

  6. Hello Polly my friend.

    It is nice to have you back again in this community of bloggers, in the web we have woven.

    I too have missed your sharings but also sense that you have been busy within...

    I think that through writing and musing we hone ourselves or reveal ourselves to ourselves. When we can articulate who we are we have a better idea of who we are... sometimes when we write it sounds false and fictional and alarm bells go off...with this feedback mechanism we have a chance to self correct... and we learn something more about ourselves....writing gives us an opportunity to test our perceptions of ourselves and our honesty or accuracy with those assessments.

    happy days

  7. Thanks to all of you who've said they missed me. It really is nice to know that.

    Eryl - I guess it's because our relationships are so important that so much ego stuff can get tangled up in them.

    DG - I don't know Camus as well as I should being an English teacher. The inner geography metaphor really is a rich one, isn't it? I like where you've taken it with the idea of internal ecosystems.

    Delwyn - Yes, busy within, and busy without. An intense time, to say the least. As I know you have been having as well, for different reasons.

    You are so good at articulating the meaning of things in an accessible and dead-on way!

  8. Wonderful post. I resonated with Reya's comment about aging. It's such a relief to have the sex hormones subside. Really, the whole rest of the world reveals its beauty and wonder in ways so much more marvelous than a sex-crazed male can ever know.

    I loved, too, these words, "And I'm very aware that no matter what I say, I'm just making up stories, none of which are ultimately true."

    That's so true, and it accounts, partly for my quieter days in blogland, though surely the end of the kindergarten year has an awful lot to do with keeping me away from the blogs I love. I don't love these blogs one iota less for being intermittant. I'd rather read one good, meaty post per week than six or seven obligatory daily posts.

  9. I cannot think of anything better, Polli, than to be entirely IN the grass, the sky, the birdsong, the breeze. For this is when one IS truly...

    As to your dream, it is simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing it here. Your doing so allows me to experience some of it as well.

    Making up stories... Yes, we all do. If we realized this fully, we would be more careful maybe with the stories we make :-)))

    So very good to have you back here.


  10. Hi Polli, I too am loving the re-joining and the re-membering of why I blog. The conversation (as Tess put it today in her comment), your talking about measuring oneself against another - it may be ego but ego is not all bad. Without it I suppose we wouldn't survive much of even growing from child to adulthood - but yes, this conversation has given me at least 6 thoughts for subjects to explore, either publicly thru my site, or just privately for the fun of it. Thank you and thank you again for the little feature on your sideline:) THAT face gives me a warm jolt each time I view it and I was surprised to see it here:)


  11. Dan - Thank you! Yes, coming back into blogging, I've realized I need to be less concerned about reading or commenting on every post. Especially this time of year, when there are so many better reasons to be outside than at the computer!

    Claire - Yes! Being more conscious of the stories I make, recognizing that I can't entirely avoid making them - this has been my next step.

    SS - At least 6 - wow! I'm curious as to what they are.

    I'm not entirely sure what "face" on my "sideline" you're talking about...



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