Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Past 4…

Gong xi fa cai to all my Chinese friends (and also to those of you who are not really Chinese, but are Chinese at heart or have some affinity towards the Oriental culture).

Remember *k, a frequent visitor to this page? Well she asked last week “if I could go back and relive the last 4 years, what would you do differently, if anything, and why?” from the top of my head, I commented that I would not change anything.

Over the last few days, I had a unique opportunity to talk to a very special person (it was more in desperation than anything else). I had long a serious chats for nearly 19 hours each day, and was able to come to some amazing insight though these conversations.

Who is this lovely person who was kind enough to chat with me and understand (at least tried to) my every thought? Why, it was non other than my-self. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I had chats with me. (before those of you who are clinicians, graduating from clinical school, psychiatrists, or mental health specialists start scheduling appointments with me, please read on, I don’t talk to me too much any more)

Well, to provide you with a background of the context of my conversations with this superb (so I think) conversationalist, it all started with a recent experience while working part-time at a mall. It’s the term break now, and I needed the money, so took up the opportunity to work. Well, it turned out that I had to spend about 19 hours of isolation (about 14 was spent working, and the rest travelling). And during those 19 hours, me and my self, had some of best mind blowing conversations you can ever imagine.

So what did me and myself talk about?

A friend told me (when i told her that I was talking to me to keep me company) that it was a good thing that I was able to “entertain myself”! (though that may sound bad to the perverted ear - I know who you are!), self-entertainment/self-talk/(insert fancy word that you want here), truly did do more than just ‘entertainment’. It gave me an opportunity to gel together some of the worst and best experiences in life, to help form a kinda of story board of the two of us.

Self talk can be a very powerful source of awareness (I am sorry, but I have not done much research on this, I perhaps am quoting my counselling techniques lecturer). And like a half-assed replica of Freud, there I was, trying to make meaning of the conversations.

It was really hard to think of two things simultaneously (one about the thought and the other, the reflection on that thought). I have here, some of those thoughts to share with you. I am hoping, that somewhere within my commentary, you will try to see, what it may be like be unable to truly connect with people, or to cut off from society (think autistic spectrum disorders). I hope this insight will answer both *k, and provide insight to those who want it.

To answer *K’s question more broadly, is there any thing about the past 4 years that I would change?: No. And the reasons why, well.. read on, perhaps you will understand.
Silence, is scary. It provokes thoughts that I had hidden within me for more than 10 years. It brought out elements that I hope would die somewhere in the depths of my memory. Silence, brought out experiences that I had wished I forget.

While at the mall (even though there was this annoying music that kept repeating during the whole time), I realised that I spoke with my self, because I was totally uncomfortable with silence. I was getting overly anxious, and could not stand that idea of not connecting. Before I start sounding too idealistic, I want to express how deep this realization was. I enjoy long walks by forests, rivers, beaches, etc. I like solitude. But, this was different. I realised that too much solitude, conjured up such a mass of memories, that I had to talk them though.

One such memory relates to the realization in the risk that I took while switching careers from IT (I used to be a network administrator/software engineer) to psychology. I wondered if the risk that I had taken while leaping though darkness of blind faith in myself, and taking an attitude of “lets see what happens” is finally catching up to me. Four years ago, when I got into that plane from Colombo International Airport, I tried to play hide n seek with the ‘devil’, and hoped that I could hide and it would never be able to seek me. I was lucky for it wasn’t able to. And as months turned into years, the ‘devil’ got smarter.

I used the phrase ‘devil’ not cause it represents some sort of resident evil force chasing me, but to represent a state of “trouble”. I remember reading the book “Gulliver’s travels - the book about the travels of a giant”, and this phrase “my troubles began, always stuck to my mind. The author of the book, used it as his first sentence to introduce the giant to strange world of little people. Just like the author, I would like to say, that my troubles began, but I had always evaded them… until, it caught up with me. The ‘devils’ finally getting smarter.

The four years of hiding, had thought me many lessons. Some of them I learnt the hard way r experience. Some I learnt by observing. Some were learn by asking others. But, the fact remains, that I am still far from knowing any thing.

(note to the reader. This blog is going to be abstract on purpose. Please don’t continue reading if its giving you a headache. I am writing it, to get rid of one.)

No matter how much I ran and ran and ran and ran from the devil, it always knew where to find me. It knew exactly where i was to be found. And this was when I realised, that running away, hiding, and evading doesn’t really help. I learnt that, there is a need for me to stop, look and react and deal with the ‘storms that a blowing’.

So… *k, do you think that I would change anything from the past 4 years? As you can see, these four years have provided me insight into my own life. To take it away, and to reset this time frame, would be erasing that realization. Even though this blog, is about just a small fragment of that realization, I want the reader to realise that, the four years are mine and that I will have it no other way, than the way it is.

My thought wonder about those of us who are forced to live in solitude. Do they have similar realization about life? About its meaning? I joke with some of my friends and ask ‘tell me joe, about your existential meaning in life and how you are guided towards self actualization?”. For starters, that quote has loads of words which I neither know the definition of, nor really understand. However, when you look deeper, perhaps I do. Perhaps I some how understand what it means to be lonely. Perhaps I now understand what it means to “face the devil”. Perhaps I now know what it means to live more ‘fully’. Perhaps I know now, that events them selves don’t create much meaning in life, compared to our search for ways to explain them. Perhaps I now am better able to deal with loneliness. Perhaps I now know what isolation means.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. But, let me say it again. I am pretty sure, that I shall not have life any other way!...


the_applicant said...

oh...hehe you have no idea the extent to which I talk to myself!

astrorat said...

Dear aquarius,

We then have more than two things in common! :)


Anonymous said...

St. Augustine said that "People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering...". I don't know the intention of St. Augustine when this was said, but to me, right now, this means that you stopped & you wondered...about yourself.

One of the most powerful acts we can do for ourselves is to let our inner voices speak. It takes courage, it takes strength not to clamp down and revert to our usual silences, & rationalizations and what not... so, I raise my glass to you today.

There was also something you said so poignantly that stuck with me ~ "Perhaps I know now, that events themselves don’t create much meaning in life, compared to our search for ways to explain them".

What lovely insight. I understand it as Acknowledging & honouring what We see through our Own in each moment, and making it ours.

This is too long a 'comment', i just realized. But before I go, what do you see in that picture you posted along with this post?


mythsn_legends said...

I salute you for your courage to face your 'devil(s)', whatever it may be. I bet that there's this feeling of 'lightness' within you with the discovery of these 'aha' moments...

Oh and I'm pretty that I would read this particular post again if I ever need inspiration in the near future!!! ;)