Thursday, November 17, 2011

It's not about being perfect, it's about being whole. Hello darling, up in the aerie, musing about Occupy Wall Street, I've received an email questionnaire from an affiliated group requesting thoughts, comments, ideas...

At the same time I spent moments of the day reading Jane Fonda's latest book, Prime Time. I really like her, and I'm enjoying the book. She makes a lot of sense. She's got a healthy, commonsense, pragmatic, nonjargony way of laying out her ideas. For me, the effect of reading it is almost like having a mentor or guide as I get older in life. I'm still (as she would judge it) in Act II, towards the end of it, and then in the sixties and whatever years are given beyond (increasingly for many, thirty or more) - there's an Act III. I've stumbled so much through life, trying to figure things out, largely without guides - so yeah, I'm very glad to read a very positive, straightforward book about ageing. And it's not just that - I sense myself what she's writing about. She's writing about a paradigm shift in the view of one's self. It's one I relate to.

Sorry, dearest, I'm not being very coherent I'm afraid. I guess I have a lot of feelings around the subject. My own going through menopause - guideless, truly. But it's okay. (Weirdly, I don't think I've experienced a hot flash yet. Or is that because in summertime I have the luxury of being able to pop my top in the house if I wish, and in cold weather the heat's down so low that hot-flashes are actually a benefit?! No - I really don't think I've experienced one.)

I feel this paradigm shift occurring in myself, and I think that's what Jane Fonda's book is about - a paradigm shift in the view of one's self in the "Act III" of life.

And I think Occupy Wall Street, also, is ultimately the expression of a paradigm shift.

I think of my siblings, every day that goes by more & more distant. The rift is complete. I think of one of my brothers, in particular. I feel that he has been in a quest for perfectionism of some sort. I don't understand him, never did. I didn't cut it in his book - wasn't perfect enough - as a sister!, his one older sister - so I got dropped.

That's how my family was, very weirdly strangely (to my mind) driven, cruel, and ruthless that way.

It still causes pain to think of it, my family, but in a different way now. More that I can see it clearly, and can walk away from it as unhealthy.

They were perfectionists. It was an ethos, a drive, whatever it was - towards perfectionism. I see it in 1.0 too. Perhaps that's why I fell for him as hard as I did, when I did. Looking for love in all the wrong places, only the first in a lifelong pattern. Of course I couldn't see it then, and to be honest, it's only pretty recently that I'm (in fits & starts) coming to grips with it now, seeing it more cleareyed.

I don't aspire to be perfect. I used to. To be a "high achiever" was to be lauded. There was a lot of pressure. "High achievement" was also very much linked with love, whether one was to be loved or not. High achievement was measured in a myriad of ways. One was sliced & diced in a myriad of ways - usually focusing on externalities.

I can't find the quote now in the Fonda, not even in the index (a not unusual problem for me - I've taken to marking indeces when I need to) but she cites, from the Bible, Matthew 5:48 "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." That indeed, is how it reads in my New Oxford Bible. But Fonda points out that the English is predicated on a crucial mistranslation of a Greek word...

Oh this is worth a time out to try to find the page in Fonda.

Oh goody. The book opened right up to it.

Recently, I was excited to read in William Bridges's The Way of Transition that in Matthew 5:48, when Jesus tells his disciples, "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect," there is a mistranslation of the Greek adjective teleios, which actually means "whole, fully formed, fully developed." Jesus wasn't telling his disciples to be perfect, like God; he was telling them to be whole, like God.
I have made an emendation of the passage in my Bible, since.

And so I wish to be as whole as I can be, going forward, as I set the stage for my Act III.

I wish very much -- well, for genuine intimacy, connection - I sense that from you, even if we can't do anything about it

I'm thinking about it differently than I ever used to

I'm thinking about it

I'm not within the confines of a strict Catholic marriage

nor am I in a High-Victorian mindset of strict compartmentalization, like H.G. Wells

nor am I E.D. - I absolutely reject the notion (whether it was hers, or projected on her) of her poetry somehow taking precedence over love & human connection

also, I'm not Sylvia Plath, or Plathlike (or Sexton like, or David Foster Wallace-like, or whoever)
I love life, I find it very difficult at every turn, but I have no wish whatsoever to check out
(still, without health insurance, the diagnosis of a devastating disease could change that - but that's a different story)
no - I'm speaking from a position of health and fortitude

I want to go on
and I wish to experience great love & intimacy again
and am glad I have discovered aspects of myself via toys
(though - do you know what - it's been so long - that I realized I would have pain - and so I have started to practice)

All my love.


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