Thursday, November 20, 2008

For A, and other language lovers

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Vocabulary, and Application in Discussing Flat Eyes

This is my response to a post over at Hayden's blog. It's posted here because the response got long; it becomes a description of my experience, and requires using the language I've developed in making sense of my experience. So here I am, trying to introduce my language, a bunch of concepts, and say something with that vocabulary, all at once. Here we go.

When someone is in that place, in that space, evidenced outwardly by the flat eyes, I experience it as though there's nobody there. A flat, featureless wall. Dead, lifeless, passionless.

But that also occurs by degrees. The things that we normally perceive as people aren't really people... they are constructions. Take that which is essential, the real person, and then add layer after layer after layer of insubstantial stuff... my sense is that it's like leaves, or dust, it's a pile of stuff but can be brushed away. Or a person can insist on holding all that in place, then it's not experienced as insubstantial but as a wall. (Here I'm just talking about how I experience other people, not about how I experience myself.) And parts of that wall are consciously held and parts unconsciously, the particulars depend on the person and the moment. It's like a surface, a composition of densities, constantly in flux. And the flatness is like an impenetrable wall. That's how flatness can be by degrees.

So, once I've got a bead on the real person, the true person, even if just a glimpse, then there's a reference point for clarity, at least some degree of clarity, so then there's a sense of how much stuff is in the way. So there are degrees of someone (the real person) being present or obscured.

If I've got no reference point, if it's someone I don't know, a stranger in the conventional term, or someone that I don't know, in the more specific sense, then sending (myself) out (as) a search party may or may not have any success. Depends on the degree of resistance. And I'm coming to understand that even though connection may be immediately apparent, it takes time to explore and understand the thing. So that's another thing that can hinder a search party for a stranger, but can also aid a search party for a friend.

If there is a reference point, then the question becomes how much the relationship can sustain. I would contrast a sort of gentle coaxing approach, hoping for some answering echo, with a more direct and insistent one. It really depends upon the strength of the relationship. Too much and a stretch becomes a tear becomes a break. Which means letting people go sometimes, because I wish not to do harm in the name of doing good.

One particularly effective way of reaching out is play. To get someone to play, to be playful. There's an aspect of spontaneity to it. Busting out singing "Dirty Laundry" comes to mind - my PM had been stressed for months and behind a wall, but for a bit, all that was forgotten. The general rule seems to be that one cannot be playful - it reflects something of one's true nature - and keep the wall up at the same time.

Again, this isn't a textbook, it's just my experience, and my thoughts on how that experience might reflect some general concepts about The Way Things Are. All subject to change as my experience, and thus my data set, does. Your mileage may vary; if this doesn't reflect your experience, my reflections will probably be someplace between "of limited usefulness" which is at least useful, and "expectation forming" which will not help, because then one's focus is practically invariably not in the best place.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Loving life. Sa da tay!

Sometimes the ordinary is lovely.

I'm loving life.

Right now I'm watching "Pootie Tang," at the recommendation of two friends. (They may be less dear in a couple of hours, but we're just getting into the movie.) Eating mint chocolate chip ice cream from the land of 31 flavors - the chocolate is shaved into the ice cream - with hot fudge.

Just had dinner with the roommate; burger and a couple beers, watched the last half of the Colts-Pats game. I haven't watched television, much less a football game, in ages. It was a pleasure to relax, to sit back and purposelessly enjoy myself. Couldn't say when the last time was that I was purposeless. That was the thing I enjoyed most.

The weather's fine, damn fine. It's 10 or 15 degrees cooler by the lake - I got 20 miles in today, as well as hitting REI, having my heart stolen by a Prana zip-up hoodie when I was just looking for goggles. I need a new amazing fleece-lined wool hat, too, but didn't find one there.

Last night, went to a halloween party, as a Moon Monster Best time I've ever had at a party. Possibly the first I've gone to solo and as an adult. Given that I'm an introvert and usually don't enjoy situations with strangers, that's noteworthy. Remarkable. I also had a five-minute lesson in poi spinning... though with weighted socks. Which was fun. I got the butterfly okay but had a hard time with a two-beat weave. (Can you tell that this intrigues me?)

The week's been weird as hell. Good to find some grounding at the end of it. (This was in the form of connecting with a friend; I was feeling really shaky and he was still exhausted from a late night the previous evening, but I experienced it as a softness and quietness, which helped me to get better settled.) Hard to believe that yet another one's gone.