To read the previous installment:
Life has been so interesting of late. I’ve had a multitude of opportunities to look at how I do relationships, chances to think through where I am in life and what is next. In the midst of this process, I had a "moment" – I woke up last Monday with a whole chapter written for one of the books I’m working on.
I liked the chapter so much, I’ve decided to "serialize" it for Into the Centre. (Plus it will whet your appetite for the eventual release of the book!) The topic, "deconstruction" fits with much of what we’ve been exploring here of late.
2011 — I did add it to my book, This Endless Moment
Hope you like it!
Back I flew yet again to Gloria. I have always been really good at listening to her and to people (like Dar) whom I respect. I assume that when something huge happens, that my perspective is going to get caught in defensiveness, wishing to be special, wishing to have it easy. I’ll get whiny and lose the ability to see my choices.
So I immediately talk with those I trust.
Gloria reminded me of why I had gone to Haven. I had gone there to open myself to the possibility of living my life differently. I knew, with my head, that this was possible – I hadn’t thought clearly about how life-threateningly scary this change would be. I assumed I could shift a couple of things around (sort of like repositioning the deck chairs on the Titanic . . .) and that would be that. It never occurred to me (or it did and I dismissed it) that my fear was justified. I was about to remove everything I had held to be necessary, as I searched for a new sense of what, for me, was "true."
Since I was clinging to my security blanket of identity, ("The Minister!") my "false" identity needed to go away. And, for me, because of the strength of my ego, it wasn’t enough just to leave the ministry. I needed, I guess, to set things up so that my credibility in that area was in shambles. So I wouldn’t be tempted, when scared, to go running back there. (What’s funny here is that I did get removed from my congregations. And the "ruling" was, I couldn’t have another congregation until I submitted a bibliography on power and boundary issues. Not even a book report. A book LIST. I actually could go back anytime I chose to. I simply don’t choose to.)
So, there I was, jobless, and I needed to immediately take my part time counselling work to full time. Well, "immediately" is still going on, 4 years later. Funny. We had to sell our house and buy a cheaper one, but that was it as far as financial consequences go, and we made $25,000 on a house we’d owned for 2 years. So much for security concerns.
No, the issue for me was the gnawing fear of the unknown – if I followed my heart and deconstructed, whom would I be on the other end? Would I have friends? Would I die? What if I was completely shunned? And why oh why was this crap happening to me, anyway?
Gloria proposed the next deconstruction – give up needing to know.
Ouch. Jeez. I have two masters degrees, for god’s sake. I’ve prided myself on my wisdom and intelligence. Not know! What would people think? Who would I be without my swelled head? Without my arrogance? Without my pride? But I trust Gloria, and also love a challenge, so I went for it, heart in my mouth.
I still don’t know. And that’s fine.
Those of you that read me regularly in Into the Centre will know that I still get caught in the occasional drama. But I sense completion of this round in the deconstruction project. I know who I am and what I am capable of, and as important, what I’m NOT capable of. I understand myself to have both integrity and inner and outer consistency. My word is my bond, and I am living a lot of the time in a state of excited, detached awareness.
I was back at Haven a couple of weeks ago for some great Bodywork training, with my friend David Raithby. By no coincidence, he was one of the leaders of my Phase 1 in ’96. He opined, after doing some Bodywork on me, and I concur, that I’ve done enough deconstructing for this round, and now need to begin reconstruction—making clear choices about who I am and how I want to present and be in the world—from now until I die. Again, I feel the fear arising – old fears, abandonment fears, doubts, old, old stuff. Yet on I walk.
I am heavily invested in engaging in both counselling and Breath and Bodywork. I did during my deconstructing, and I will continue in my reconstructing. I found Gloria a long, long time ago, and trust her to be with me on this walk. Same goes for Dar. I’m working on one or two other connections as mutual supports for this walk. The Bodywork part allows the blockages of a lifetime to dissolve, again and again.
Often, as we begin this deconstruction, we scare ourselves. When you do the phase program at Haven, they spend 3 days at the end talking about "re-entry." Away from an environment where everyone is beginning this process, entering back into the "real" world, we are confronted with the resistance of the world. We may even begin to question the "truth" of what we’ve started.
Just like I did. I thought I could just shift some stuff around and sneak up on change. I feared whom I would become and how I would be perceived. I wondered how to integrate what I learned into the "real" world. I really tried to slow down the process, to understand. Ultimately, I needed to let go, to engage fully in what I learned from Ben & Jock, from Gloria. I had to let go of my need to know, to control. I could then begin the process of tearing down and removing all of the "stuff" that had been stuffed into me – and my walls came tumbling down.
Far easier to stay stuck and to bemoan our fate.
Far easier to choose to fail, to patch the walls from the inside,
to push people away,
to refuse to listen to mentors, lovers,
friends who are on this path.
The trick, the balancing act of deconstruction, requires being scared, while at the same time (and this is the saving grace,) remaining in contact. We must choose to risk facing our fears, owning them, and choose to go through them, with trembling, not knowing, really, who we are or whom we are becoming. This is as scary, as dark and deadly as life can get. Mystics call it the Dark Night of the Soul, when even God seems to have left the house. We are, after all, deconstructing our entire identity, with no plan in hand for what will replace the rotting, unchosen edifice.
If we continue, in any way, to cling to our resistance, we will stay in a stasis for a long, long time.
People entering the Dark Night of the Soul, in monastic communities, were assigned a Spiritual Director. In that chaos of fear, darkness and non-direction, there needs to be a contact point and a willingness to listen to and to do what the Director suggests. While at one level, all of us are unique in our process, the way through the deconstruction is disconcertingly the same.
(continued next week!)