Thursday, November 15, 2012
I'm going to write about a case study here because it seems relevant to some Sparkers. I'm not taking any sides or making any suggestions - just writing the facts and drawing a conclusion.
Subject gets up in the morning after over a week of poor sleep (less than 5 hours per night).
Subject thinks about self harm (cutting, self-striking, and the wearing of a cilice - a metal band, designed to inflict pain on it's wearer). The patient avoids all these behaviors in an attempt to find a healthier way to deal with emotional pain.
The subject skips breakfast, not having much of an appetite, although the subject does have a history of over eating - never under eating.
Around 1 pm the subject eats an extra large Hersey bar and washes it down with 4 shots of vodka. This happened after months of a healthful, organic diet.
It was my conclusion that food may, for some people, become an instrument of torment - in some ways more brutal than a knife or a cilice. I do not condone self harm of any type, but when I saw this I did think to myself that abusing oneself with food actually seemed more devious and brutal than something that is more socially unacceptable.
Of course, the ideal is to not do harm through any method, but I found it fascinating that I think that punishing ones self with food is more dangerous, yet more acceptable.
Thursday, November 01, 2012
I gave blood today. That's a big deal for me. I've never been able to do it before.
In the past I've been turned down for:
poor general health
There was only one time in the past that they even tried to stick my arm - and when they did they found it impossible to get an entire pint out of me. They gave up before the bag was even half full.
So, today is the first time I have ever been healthy enough to give blood and I donated the full amount with no trouble at all.
In 1996 I almost bled to death. I had a hemorrhage situation and received 4 units of blood. I am thankful to all the people who made that infusion possible. I've wanted to give blood since that time, and finally I can.
Thursday, September 27, 2012
One of my SparkFriends, Lean-n-Lexy, made two awesome points in her comments to me. I love comments that lead me to examine things.
First, she is right about not showing my teams on my page. We do have the option of not having our teams show on our pages and I had forgotten that. In my case, I did need to leave my teams. However, if I join some in the future I can simply elect to not have them display on my page. That will help me to ensure that I'm not joining them just because they would look cool on my page.
Second, what she said about "I am" being an expression of the Divine.
Here is what I posted on her page about it:
"If I think of "I am ____" as an expression of my divinity, I really must be careful what word I put in the blank. If I put student, employee, human, etc - well those things don't honor divinity, they seem to insult it. Those roles are too superficial and temporary to hold within them a sense of the Divine. To honor the Divine, I need an amazing word for that blank. "Life" works for me."
Since I posted that on her page, I've thought about it some more. "I am _____" doesn't actually even need a word to complete it. "I am" is already a complete sentence - one that does away with the need for any sort of egoic label - one that honors the Divine, whether internal or external. It affirms without presumptuousness. It expresses gratitude for divinity and all of life itself.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Two Buddhist monks were walking when they saw a woman struggling to cross a stream. One monk picked the woman up and carried her across.
Hours later the first monk said to the second one, "I've considered your actions for a while now and I must tell you that you should not have picked that woman up. We are not to touch women and you did much more than touch her."
The second monk answered, "Oh, are you still carrying that woman around? I put her down hours ago."
For years now I have been carrying around a painful mental burden of identity. I identified as an IH patient, a victim of discrimination, a victim of domestic violence, an overweight person, etc.
Those were all very painful things and I stubbornly clung to that pain, carrying it around with me all this time. However, I now realize that those events are not me. They happened to me, but they aren't me.
Just as I am not my possessions or my beliefs, I am not my pain.
I have possessions, I hold beliefs, I experienced pain. None of these are me.
In my previous blog, one of my SparkFriends, HippiChick1, mentioned Eckhart Tolle. I really do love his work. He puts it very well when he explains labels and identity. He says that we are not the roles we play, we are the space in which those roles are played. I am not a father, I am the consciousness in which the father role takes place. I am not a musician, I am the space in which music is made. I am not an IH patient, I inhabit the body that was once affected by IH, ...in the past, ...which no longer exists.
Letting go of these labels allows me to let go of all pain associated with them.
For quite some time I've been carrying around my grandmother, my mother, my ex-wife - and probably many other people as well. I'm done. I still struggle with letting go of the ex and there are days when I start to pick her up again - she is the heaviest burden of my life - but with time and awareness, I'm sure to move past this.
I'm leaving my SparkTeams. IH Support wasn't really all that supportive. It was more like a place to gather together with other IH sufferers to whine about how awful it is to be an IH sufferer.
No scratch that. It wasn't even that very often. It was an icon on my page. It was a label. It was an identifier that said, "Oh look at me! Poor me! I've had all these painful procedures which I will never forget - I'll keep reliving them over and over in my mind, carrying the burden, never forgetting that I have suffered! Oh look, I was blind and I'll never allow myself to get over it! It was so scary - I'm scarred for life!"
No more. I'm not identifying with my illness anymore.
Transgender support wasn't all that supportive. Then again, I don't need support in this. In fact, I don't even feel transgendered. I'm just me. I don't need to fit in the box, agonize over the cost of transition, feel pitiful over discrimination, or remember Stonewall.
Washington state will not collapse since I'm no longer on its team. Washington is part my current address, not my identity.
The Primal Lifestyle team is a fine team. I'm in favor of primal diets for those with whom they agree. Food is to nourish my body, not my ego.
Underground Wellness is a team I began out of an evangelical sense of excitement. I found something that really worked for me, and I just knew that others would find it to be just as useful as I had. It never caught on, so it obviously wasn't very useful.
The team leader team, well I never even visited it. ...but hey, I'm a hot shot team leader! The icon says so!
At their roots, all these teams were really just icons on my page. Little pictures that said, "Here I am! This is me! Look at what I am into! See Me! Here is what I want you to think about Michael." They were ego food.
In other words, they were there for all the wrong reasons.
So, gone are the teams from my page. Gone too, are the burdens they included.
The other day I got out a sheet of paper and I wrote:
...and then I proceeded to make a list. Under "I am..." I wrote:
...and I continued, making a long, long list of all the things with which I identify - all the roles that trap me.
These roles trap me into thinking that I must take good care of myself because I have a disease that could come back at any moment, when I could think that I want to take good care of myself because I'm worth good care.
I think I must be careful of how I carry myself lest someone think I'm not truly manly, when I could think that I'll just be myself and if someone doesn't find me manly enough, that's not an issue.
I must practice music an hour a day or my skill won't improve - I have a responsibility to the band - I'll be embarrassed if I don't play well - I must be the best! ...instead of I want to practice for the joy of making music.
I am a father, above all else, I must parent! ...but who will I be when my son leaves home in a couple of years? I must not let him grow up or I'll lose all purpose in life.
My list of "I am"s is a list of traps...a list of emotional baggage.
When I got done, I went back to the top of the list and changed "I am..." to "I am not..."
...and I read that same list again.
I looked at it for a long time, knowing that I am not any of those things, but I am the space in which those temporal things may take place. An amazing feeling of freedom and lightness came over me as I consciously disassociated with each thing.
I am not the roles I play. I am not what I do. I am not what I feel or what I sense.
In the words of Eckhart, I don't have a life, I am Life.
I am a cell in the universal organism, timeless and vast - so much bigger than any box my ego tried to construct for me. My search for meaning and purpose led me to wear those labels, to carry that baggage. I'm now finding meaning and purpose in letting them go.
In letting go I can gracefully surrender to what Is: letting my son grow, playing music for the joy of it, just being myself, not holding myself back because I might get sick again, and trading the burden of past pain for the ability to relish the joyous Now.
Monday, September 24, 2012
You and I, right now, we get along fine. We are fellow Sparkers, in this thing together, SparkBrothers and SparkSisters, and all is right with us.
Oh but then suppose we met at a party...
Suppose a touchy subject came up...
...and we found out that I believe X while you believe Z...
...imagine the debate that could ensue...
...perhaps even a heated argument as we each defended our beliefs...
We've all seen it happen before, right? I've seen it come to blows.
If you and I went from SparkLove to DebateHate - what would have changed?
Would my belief in something you despise actually change your world in some way? If it would change something, then why hasn't it already? Could it be just because you don't know we disagree? Then how does the knowing change things? Does it actually hurt you? Would it hurt me?
No. Then why do these debates happen? I think it is because we identify with the belief. It feels like a part of us.
I believe in X and something inside of me thinks that this is a part of my identity and if you don't believe in X, then you don't believe in / accept me.
When I've argued a point before, I thought I was defending my belief, but I think I was actually defending myself. After all, can a belief be hurt? Was it injured? Did it actually need defending? No, it was just my ego.
Now I've never been one to seek confrontation or to desire debate, but it has happened.
I'm probably not describing it in the best way, but the way I see it, arguing over a belief is an egoic response and something I will no longer do. I no longer identify with my beliefs. I hold beliefs, but I am not those beliefs. If someone doesn't agree with my beliefs, it isn't personal. They aren't disagreeing with who I am, only with my beliefs...and they aren't doing it just to tick me off.
I have an amazing sense of freedom because I know that it truly makes no difference to me whether or not someone agrees with my beliefs. From now on, when someone disagrees with me, I will have no feelings about it what-so-ever.
A few days ago, a friend of mine told me that he was in favor of GMO crops. Now there was a time in my life that I would have defended my position against GMOs. There was also a time in my life that I would have attacked his position in favor of GMOs. Now, I do neither. I have no need. This man is not a researcher, a legislator, or even a voter for that matter, so attempting to change his mind would have no actual real world result. It would only be for the benefit of my ego - which I no longer need to defend. It was so nice to look back on that event and realize that when he disagreed with me, I felt nothing. I felt so much nothing that I didn't even realize the event had taken place until a few days later.
I cared very much for my friend before this disagreeing happened and I care for him the same way now. Nothing changed at all. I listened to his opinions concerning GMOs - and I heard no judgement in his voice because my defenses were not up. I listened with no judgement because my ego was not involved in the conversation.
There was no fear, no stress, no feathers ruffled at all. I feel free of an enormous burden. I'm rarely identifying with possessions anymore, and now I don't identify with beliefs. (I still have 3 or 4 personal possessions that I covet highly!) ...but really it feels as though I've lost a thousand pounds off of my spirit.
I am not my possessions and I am not my beliefs.
Get An Email Alert Each Time PRIMALMICHAEL Posts