Cock-eyed

redon.eye-balloon

I’ve been busting to write a blog post, and finally I’ve got an hour, so here goes with some things that have been on my mind for the last month. In that time, I’ve been around Landmark more than usual assisting on two Landmark Forums, and following are some random observations.

Being small

A young woman was up the front sharing about some issues in her life. She said she was 23 and had difficult, painful relations with her mother and other family members. She said she thought she was ugly because she was 5 foot 10 inches. “I want to be like you,” she said, pointing to the Forum leader, a petite woman around 5 foot 2.

There was more back and forth discussion between her and the Forum leader, with the Forum leader trying to have her see her complaint was just not valid. The young woman kept clinging to her story about being ugly and too tall. At a certain point, another young woman asked to speak and the Forum leader agreed.

Young woman B bounded to the microphone. “I just got something,” she said, “if it wasn’t being too tall, it would be something else.”

“That’s it exactly,” said the Forum leader.

After more discussion, and more insistence by young woman A of her ugliness and tallness, the Forum leader gave it to her straight:

Consider that you’re not yet willing to give up your story because you want to stay a little girl [Wow, how good is that? The young woman had literalised it] … and you want to stay a little girl because then you don’t have to make the difference with people you really can make, you don’t have to take a risk and move away from being safe …

Cock-eyed

It occurred to me, more clearly than it ever has before, that underneath every story of struggle and suffering, there is a single story: “They’re doing it to hurt me, they’re doing it to make my life miserable …”

Human beings do not see, cannot quite comprehend, that other people are not setting out to hurt them or make them miserable.

What of the other person who appears to be hurting us? Why, they’re simply another human being preoccupied in their own misery or story thinking someone else is hurting them.

Human beings do not set out to hurt other people. They may indeed hurt other people, but they do it blindly.

No-one is trying to hurt us or make us miserable. We’re doing that to ourselves.

Woman on verge

When I was assisting on the Forum, a woman came up to me at the end of the night and asked me about the date of an upcoming event. I told her and we got talking. It turned out she wanted the date so she could go home and tell her husband he was wrong because he’d said something different.

A story full of fury about her husband came out. I stayed with her until a tiny glimmer started to dawn: that going home in vicious triumph to make her husband wrong was not going to assist in addressing her pain and sadness about the state of her marriage. It was a very tiny glimmer and I wasn’t there the next day to see how she got on, but I’m trusting she allowed herself to get present to her love and commitment to her husband and their marriage, and gave up the story she was poisoning herself with.

*

Image: Odilon Redon, The Eye Like a Strange Balloon Mounts Toward Infinity, 1878

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8 thoughts on “Cock-eyed

    • ha, now you’re being Funny Narelle ;)

      Kim, I am very ordinary and I’m becoming more ordinary every day. If what I say occurs like Gandhi :) .. it’s because I’m committed to something close to what he was committed to. I’m committed to people getting complete about the past, giving up the stories by which they are poisoning themselves and blindly hurting others, and discovering harmony and peace. When I look back at the misery I used to make for myself and others, I’m aghast.

      There’s such a need, in families, in organisations, in societies. Now with the internet we can actually hear/read people’s misery, where before it was mostly hidden.

      You know, a few months after I started reading your blog about Kay, it suddenly occurred to me one day that my auntie had possibly been murdered by her partner too. It happened when I was 9 and had been hushed up in my family. I had only known bits and pieces and whispers. I started to ask a few of my relatives, and discovered the full story: that she had been doused with petrol, set alight and then locked in an external laundry. The cousin who told me this was about 12 when it happened and she told me she had arrived on the scene, with her father, about 10 minutes after it happened. She described to me what she saw, and what the ambulance men did when they arrived. My auntie survived in torment for a few days and then died.

      I’m standing for the end of this casual horror in families, this fear — whether manifested as extreme violence as in my auntie’s case, or the kind of passive aggression that has people cut off others for years and decades — and its cover up. I know you are too, my dear xx

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