28 January 2007

The Beginning of Understanding

I will say if that I start to wax tangential, do forgive me, for I simply have quite the number of thoughts running about, and I only write how I see them. I will try and be as comprehensible as I possibly can without confusing everyone, or myself.

To say that I understand something of my own processes and understand myself is true, but it would also be true that I have only begun to understand. The evolution of understanding is precarious and problematic at best... at worst, we simply fail. The journey of my life has been fraught with failed attempts at understanding, blows to my consciousness that sent my spiraling into an abyss from which I thought I could not escape. It is said that my Zodiac sign, Pisces, is the sign of sorrows, and for much of my life, this was true. Indeed, my life is still a struggle, but even that struggle abates in what precious little knowledge I have gained in my quest for the understanding of self.

We all have trials in our life, and I certainly will never say that mine are any worse than others. For the most part, my existence has been a little charmed: to be fair, I should have died on an operating table 23 years ago from severe neural trauma. Instead, every day since has been a gift of a sort, something I did not realize when I was younger, or for that matter, when older. I suspect I have lived in a haze most of my life, not understanding anything, or if I did, it was a touch of understanding, with the occasional writing or poem from those days that barely scratched the surface... like our first, tenuous attempt at reaching the stars, so much left to learn. Even when I thought I understood, or I was simply comfortable in my ignorance (which took up most of my 20's), something always gnawed at me, the proverbial itch that could not be scratched. Not even the death of my brother could fully awaken me from what actually seemed a nominal life, meaning what most of us really see day in and day out. This is not to say we do not have an understanding of the wider world, but we lose it in our youth, and only rarely allow it to re-awaken. Most of the time, it is an image that is just out of our reach, a little beyond our field of vision... and yet it exists, a reminder of what could be.

To some extent, my divorce, and attempts at recovery from it, helped awaken me to some understanding, as I have done most of my writing since then. Still, it took a bit more than that, alas. In order to understand sometimes, you must also endure the darkest part of yourself, the worst you see in others, an abyss that, quite simply, can claim you. I hope this does not sound melodramatic, but it is the best way for me to explain it, for the change has been, in so many ways, profound. The person I was ceased to be, yielding to the person I should have been all along, at least from a philosophical, intellectual and creative perspective. The physical person is about the same, though these changes affect the physical realm as well. What only seemed to be a surface glimmer upon a still pond, became an ocean of wonder that I am just beginning to see. What was once at the edge of my vision is now in full view. I started to see the beauty of the universe at large, beyond even what I had already imagined. To be fair, it was overwhelming.

I suppose that is the price of understanding, not being able to grasp it completely for fear of it consuming you, at least if you try and understand all at once. As soon as I realized that was part of the problem, I could move on to digesting it one bit at a time. Even still, the process has been painful while at the same time rewarding. The understanding of self can be such, for it forces you to see what few ever get to see about the nature of self. I think some of the darker things in my life that I experienced, including my own journey into such a place, has helped me face myself. It is tough, though. I have had to abandon a lot of things I thought essential in life, but to get to where I am, just beginning to understand, maybe being a little more ascetic is good for the soul.

I can say for sure one thing... three years ago I could not have written these words... hell, I did not even know they existed.

Everyone have a great week,



Amber said...

I feel like you just wrote a part of what is deep inside me. And even recognizing this, seeing it before me on the screen, I push it away. Perhaps that is what your 20's is all about - comfortable bliss in oblivion.

Your experiences, personal tragedies and triumphs alike, help shape the person that you are, or help push into the person that you are to become. But we have a choice in what we become; embittered, negative, and sorrowful over life's tribulations... or strong, victorious over the trials, wiser, more compassionate toward our fellow man, and so on.

There are many points in your life, upon reflection, where you can look back and see the crossroads that you were at. Pondering the road that you took and where it led you. Speculating on the road that you did not take and where it would have gone. I think if you speculate too hard on the latter though, it leads to regrets and the inability to embrace where you are at now.

See what you did? You brought the philosophical side of me out and that is really quite scary! It makes you wonder how many people reading this are shaking their head thinking "bullshit!"

In any case, it sounds like you are reflecting on your life and the journey that it is and perhaps you are beginning to embrace your present and look forward to the future, despite a rocky start.

It moves me that you are one of the few who have a second chance at life and are holding onto it; trying to make every moment count.

I'm glad you starting writing - not only for the personal fulfillment that it brings you, but for the insight it gives those of us who read your words.

Take care :).

M said...

I really think it takes a lot to come face your own shadow and actually understand what you are looking at!

ChickyBabe said...

And I for one am glad that you are standing this side of the 3 years. It takes time to get out of a tunnel, and while one is on there, it is difficult to imagine what the view looks like on the other side.

The Mistress of the Dark said...

It's wonderful that you are so resilient. I know that dark times don't last...It's always good when you make it to the brighter side and can say, "I survived!"

Here's hoping I find that light soon.

jedimerc said...

amber: thanks again for the kind words and I can certainly relate to that oblivious bliss. I will say my younger self would be interested in the words but would laugh and get on with his bliss as well.

If someone reads all this and thinks 'bullshit' that is their right and they can comment... or not. I have made no bones about the philosophical examinations in this blog... they take precedent over the mundane details of my life (though I suppose the point of this is to understand that the mundane details are related as much as the big picture :)

Oh, and it wasn't so much that I started writing, just that I remembered how :)

m: There are times when I wish I hadn't... while a little cliched, there are some things a person was not meant to see... it's kind of like looking into something that might drive you mad but you know you have to anyway (any readers of Lovecraft I think would really understand that :)

chickybabe: thank you so much and you are right, it takes a clarity of vision to emerge and see things for what they are.

mistress: I used to think I was not much of a survivor until I realised all that had happened... I hope you find what you seek as well :)

kate said...

thank you for sharing that with us. i feel that i know you a little bit better now.

Phil said...

I really like this post Chris. It's something I'm going to chew on for a while.

Rav`N said...

Would that more of us could reach this level of self-awareness and development that you have. Its not necessarily a pleasant journey, but it usually makes us better and more content people.

Becky said...

We seem to have been on a similar path over the past few years of self-reflection and awareness. I can honestly say that I feel much better than I did three years ago and the tides are finally turning. I hope the best is yet to come for you, Chris.

MadameBoffin said...

I wonder a lot whether it's possible to really know yourself... which makes it seem vastly improbable that we can ever truly know other people. Soul searching is hard but you seem to be exploring it well

jedimerc said...

bloody hell... if this shows up twice, I'm not insane, just losing comments... bah.

kate: thank you and I try and make my blog an open book of my life for all to enjoy... or despair depending on the subject :)

phil: thanks, phil. I often go back to these types of posts and chew on them myself, mostly to make sure what I wrote late in the evening (as they tend to be) makes senses a few days on.

rav'n: I'm not sure pleasant enters into these types of journeys... sure, some parts are nice, but the most rewarding journeys involve that look into the dark places and moving forward from it.

becky: I hope for the best for you as well, Becky, and from reading past entries in your blog I can see the same similarities. Though much of the time for my reflection has passed, I feel I can still illuminate a path for others when I can... just because a journey like this is mostly internalized, it doesn't mean you can't have a few cliff notes left for you along the way :)

btw, thanks for all the great comments so far from everyone, and if you are just reading and lurking, feel free to say hello as well... I try and keep things a little laid back for all the high talk of philosophy and such.

jedimerc said...

madameboffin: I have my days, especially when life throws me more screwballs and curveballs than I can count, but this helps... and you may be right about other people. The only other person I thought I really knew, turned out I did not know at all. But that was ok, I had no clue about myself then either, so how was I to know someone else?

Sayre said...

I came face to face with my dark side about 20 years ago. It was not pleasant. I know it's still there, but I drown it with light. I believe I've reached a healthy balance now.

Sarah said...

I understand where you're coming from. I've been trying to do a little of that myself recently :)

Amanda said...

hi, thanks so much for your insight on The Beautiful Ugly. i will definitely be reading here as well.

jedimerc said...

sayre: the best thing we can do is find a healthy balance, and letting the light warm us is also not too bad a thing.

sarah: I hope it works out for you in your journey... I know it is different for everyone but it can be rewarding :)

amanda: Thanks for dropping by and feel free to stop in any time :)