About Me

 

 The greatest thing we can do is to show up for our lives and not be ashamed.

 -Anne Lamott

 

I'm a creature of the word, learning to tell my honest story.

I offer it here because telling stories is the road back home.

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« Why we should embrace fear | Main | Get Rid of God »
Sunday
Apr212013

It feels so good to be comfortably numb

I tend to see life like a pendulum.

 

taken from tutorvista.com

I think we all begin at rest.  (aka B in the little diagram)

We are born centered, suspended in balance by the hands of God.

 

Then life happens. Life is momentum.  

Life is experience crashing into our pendulum and causing a reaction.

We swing to one extreme or the other (aka A or C).  

This is a normal process of finding self (or finding center); it's neither a good or bad thing; it just is what it is.

 

I spent the first half of my life swung far (I guess you would say) right.  I was righteously earnest, extreme in my belief that I knew how to be good, and that I could be good. I was a rule-keeper.

Then I had some life experiences that crashed into me, and I swung far left.  Rebelliously jaded, unwilling to admit belief in much of anything.  Angry, disillusioned.  I was a rule-breaker.

The longer I live, the more I feel the swing returning to middle.  I feel like I am finding my center line, but it's a delicate balance.  

I easily swing too far to one side or the other, usually because I am still reacting, which is not a place of personal agency-it's not taking responsibility for choice.


I think it's actually easier to live in a place of reaction, than to choose to act.

Choosing to act requires so much energy.

And it usually means we have to go back and look at the experiences that have caused us to end up where we are.  This is often so painful.  Who wants to volunteer to feel pain? 

Brene Brown says we avoid the excruciating vulnerability of finding center through four things:

1.We numb

2. We make the uncertain certain (absolutism, extremism)

3.We perfect

4.We pretend

Swinging from one extreme to the other is necessary for a time; it clarifies the far boundaries- now you know where center is because you have been on both sides of center.

But the goal is centering, not endless reacting.

 

It's much harder to find the fine center line because the fine line is a place of tension.

It doesn't feel as secure. There are always questions.  

And I think it's a lonelier place at first. It's far from the maddening crowd.

But I think if we are courageous enough to work to remain there, we find that the true like-minded people, the ones we have always longed to know, are there too.  What we worked so hard to avoid becomes the very place of safety, of knowing- knowing who we are, knowing other people, knowing again the God who holds the string suspended.

 

 

I've found that whether we like it or not, life experiences will continue to crash into us, will continue to force reaction. 

This is the process of becoming who we are created to be.  


But I think there are three ways we can avoid our becoming process.

1. We live in a reactive state, always swinging far to one side or the other, never finding center.

2. Or, we camp out in an extreme place, never finding center.

3. Or, and this one is worst of all, we never let ourselves fully experience anything.

If you look at the pendulum, the lukewarm place is somewhere a little to the left or to the right of C. It's neither A, neither B, neither C.

It's a no man's land.

I think this is what God called "being lukewarm."

Being lukewarm is when we avoid swinging to one extreme or the other because it means fully feeling what we feel in response to a life experience.

The scary thing is, we cannot selectively numb our emotions.  

If you want to avoid pain, you will avoid love. If you want to avoid the dark, you will cease to find the light. If you want to avoid hate, you will avoid hope.

So my advice is, go ahead, get fully angry, and rebel, and yell your curses at the sky. Feel something.

But we are so afraid it will get worse before it gets better. That if we totally embrace the dark, we will never find the light again.

How would you know it's light if you had not experienced darkness?

 

Or maybe you need to go ahead, and fully decide to take a stand for something.  Start a crusade. Put your neck on the line.  

In time, life will crash into you again and you will realize that you do not know what you thought you knew.

This is humbling, maybe this is pride going before a fall.  Who wants to feel that?  

The price of not feeling is we never find out who we are.

"The child is grown.

The dream is gone.

I have become comfortably numb."

-Pink Floyd

 

 

 

 

 

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