Monday, May 21, 2012

"Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grievances"

slow going, this stuff.
Worked in the garden today; a productive and relaxing way to spend a Sunday.  Saw this little snail tracking through the concrete (at quite a brisk pace, considering).  I was listening to a cover of a song by Daniel Johnston, an brilliant musician who's struggled with major mental illness all his life, and who Kurt Cobain called "the greatest living songwriter".  I'd heard some of his stuff on the radio, but didn't buy his works until he did a surprise appearance on Austin City Limits in 2009.  I wasn't intending to listen to him today-- had the player on shuffle when his song came on:  "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Your Grievances" (covered by Clem Snide; you can listen to it at the end of this post).  I hit the replay. Life can be providential sometimes.

Later I had a very difficult conversation with a person I love very much.  I can only semi-accurately report my own side of it, knowing full well we are all "dirty little projectors" as Jung said.  But my experience was of two people trying very hard and still really misunderstanding each other.  We persevered, stumblingly, wanting to hear each other and wanting to be heard.  I can't speak for the other, but I know my gut instinct was to get the hell out of there.  And my heart instinct was to keep at it, keep at it. The two battled it out to an unglorious stall.  It is so hard to be truly vulnerable to another human.  We want to bluster, or hide, or do anything to protect fragile feeling Ego from pain.  It takes guts to keep showing up and showing our wounds.

Zeige Deine Wunde
I am a firm believer in a notion I've often shared with clients, and that I read somewhere in a completely unrelated book I'll long forgotten (please clue me if you know).  The book was about economics, if I recall, but the line I'll never forget is how us humans are all looking out of our own thin aluminum tubes into the world, and thinking everyone is seeing the same thing we see, when all they see is there own small view.  Even as I try really, really hard to see bigger, I know my view is never going to be the same-- I won't have the history, the genetics, the inner experience to truly get what someone else is perceiving.  And even though I work hard to expand my understanding, I am expanding it through my limitations, some of which are not in my awareness.

The desire to self-protect, even at risk of isolation, is within my awareness.  So I fight it.  Clumsily, but with Wise Mind knowledge that love crowds out fear in the end, and some kind of faith that it's worth the exposure.

As I thought about this tonight, Daniel Johnston's song, and his story, ran over and over through my mind. I thought about how brave he had been to put his heart out there when his head was so messy.  When I saw him on Austin City limits, it felt clear how both hard and wonderful it was for him to come out and sing to that crowd.  (Read more of his story here).   And I realized I didn't want to let the sun go down on my grievances.

I did some work I'd been neglecting because it was painful and took energy I didn't feel I could spare.  It wasn't enjoyable, but neglecting it hadn't been either, and tackling it was more energizing than I imagined.  There's more work to do, always, but my heart feels clearer for now. 

Related Posts:  The Bravery of Relationship






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