Monday, August 14, 2006

too much messy is a good thing.

a friend of mine gave me this book recently - Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life. i love the serendipity of how books arrive in my life at juuuuust the right time. this friend and i frequently discuss how very messily we are doing things in our life. i liken the way i live my life to a kindergartener fingerpainting - lots of paint in lots of colors that i'm just smooshing around to see what i get. so far, so good. messy works. i've even grown to love the paint underneath my fingernails. evidence, folks, that i've gotten dirty.

anywhoo...i'm just at the beginning of the book, but this excerpt struck me. i've spent so much of my life trying to diminish myself, both physically and spiritually. i've always strived to nail myself down, label myself, tie myself up into a pretty little package stamped FRAGILE so nobody will fucking disturb the bow i spent hours perfectly tying, dammit. i'm safe here. wrapped, bound and shiny. and everyone can see what i am! A VERY PRETTY PACKAGE.


Irwin Kula, a rabbi and the author of the book, posits that the search for self is futile b/c there is just too much of each one of us to discover. our Self is endless:
The images we have of ourselves are really attempts to streamline complexity, to make a neat story out of our many facets. Freud taught that we never will know fully the contents of our minds, of our selves. He called the idea "surplus life." There is "too-muchness" to our consciousness. In other words, our own psyche eludes our grasp. No wonder the Hebrew word for life is plural: Hayim means lives.

When I hear that someone is leading a double life, I think, "Just two?"

The Yearning for self is essential to our development but it is of course a quest that can never be fully satisfied. We can never fully grasp the infinite - God's or our own. There's very little difference between the secular belief that we can know who we are and the religious fundamentalists' belief that we can know who God is. Both lead to arrogance and what Christopher Lasch called a culture of narcissism. Could it be that all the striving, the pushing, the climbing, the acquiring, is rooted in this yearning to know that which can never be known? Rather than trying to define who we are, what if we sought an ever-deepening understanding of how much we are?...
imagine, if you will, a bottomless bag of fudge-covered Oreos that have the nutritional benefits of steamed kale and poached salmon...that's you. that's me. and life is a bottomless glass of milk.

dip, baby, dip.

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