“Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go”
― Hermann Hesse
“You people always hold onto old identities, old faces and masks, long after they’ve served their purpose. But you’ve got to learn to throw things away eventually.”
When I was 19 and had a mishap with the law my father came down on me like a ton of bricks. He told me that he didn’t know what it was but it almost felt like I had something missing in me and he did not feel I was a good person. Insecure at the best of times and somewhat floundering at that point in my life it hit me like a ton of bricks. I was devastated.
For years after that, I found myself either trying to live up to whatever image I had of what my father thought a good person should be or playing against that image in rebellion. With each victory or setback I experienced I asked myself, “So am I a good person now?” I did not have the courage to ask my father.
At some point when I had come close to hitting bottom, it finally occurred to me that I had to let it go. For one thing it had way too many layers
1) what a good person is qualitatively
2) what my father saw as being a good person
3) what I perceived my father saw as being a good person
4)who I was in relationship to 1, 2 or 3
The absurdity of it had me laughing and crying at the same time. I realized that the most important thing was to be myself in the world for good or bad, doing what best reflected the person I am. If I tried to live up to a yardstick especially someone else’s it would not be as meaningful as living up to myself. From that point on, I decided that I would no longer be as concerned with being good as doing right and expressing my being. But I could only do that when I was able to let go of that conversation with my dad and take responsibility for my own actions.
At some point after that, my father had cause to tell me what a good person he thought I was. It felt a touch anti-climatic.
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Guardian and Guide by G A Rosenberg
The Spiral Increases by G A Rosenberg
“Don’t be intimidated by other people’s opinions. Only mediocrity is sure of itself, so take risks and do what you really want to do.”
Why do we care so much what others think? For so long I believed what everyone told me. It definitely made my teenage years hell. I gave everyone space in my head without charging rent. I started curing myself of this by running away at seventeen and joining a religious cult. For five months I tried my best to make myself into what other people who told me they loved me told me I should be. Even when I saw contradictions in their own characters I tried to force myself into the shape of their ‘loving instructions’. One day I had had enough and had a strong sense of the THIS IS WRONG’s. I left and returned cross country to my home. I was shattered. My belief system had fallen and it couldn’t get up.
Now I was back to people telling me familiar opinions of how reality was. The only difference was that now neither their version nor the cult’s version worked for me. I tried charismatic catholicism. Wow this was cool. I find few things as attractive as pure faith. However it can be pretty awkward being the only person in church who isn’t speaking in tongues. Strike one more off the list.
Over the ensuing decades I tried to force myself into so many different shapes, each suggested by others. Gradually I came to realize that just by virtue of being open to so many, I was flying in the face of almost all of them. They all seemed to have some truth to them and work (to various degrees) for those practicing them but how could all be right. These thoughts formed in my head quite awhile before I started reading Ken Wilber and other Integral writers. Somewhere along the line I developed a sense of humour about it all that helped. I still might throw myself into something headfirst but now at least I realized that it probably wasn’t THE answer and almost definitely was only part of My Answer but I went into things honouring the people following them and open to whatever would come.
A large part of what I wanted to do was to understand. From very early on I grasped that understanding how a person defined the universe and themselves in relationship to the universe was a key component in understanding the person and so the more beliefs I can understand, the more people. They all can be given a voice as long as my inner voice, the one that speaks quietest remains paramount.
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Rise by G A Rosenberg
Eye Journey by G A Rosenberg
“Home is where one starts from. ”
–T. S. Eliot
I have always found home to be a difficult concept. Not that I come from a particularly unhappy home. For its time in 1960’s and 1970’s United States, I had a fairly typical family life, perhaps more functional and happier than most. Yes my parents were divorced but within seven months they were married to other people.
Due to this restructuring, I moved first from the home I spent my childhood in Connecticut to a new one in New Jersey. A year later we moved again one town over.
This played havoc with my sense of home and for quite awhile I roamed about like a gypsy for the next 3 decades spending anywhere from 3 weeks (my shortest stay) to three and a half years (my longest) with 5 months being about the average.
During this time of instability I felt very rootless. After leaving first my mother’s house (at sixteen) than my father’s (first at seventeen, than at 18) I found pretty quickly that in neither would I ever feel at home again. Not that I was made to feel unwelcome but they were never places I had rooted. It took me many years of searching both internally and externally until I finally gained an idea of what home means, to me at any rate.
Home quite simply means the place I can be centred within myself. Yes, the cliche that home is where the heart is has truth. Except that people tend to look at it in a very two-dimensional sense that it is where you are loved and where you love. In a greater sense tho, I find that home is where I can be loving, I can be centred and I can nurture and be nurtured and finally I feel that I can do this from within myself, my heart centre no matter where I may be located in physical space
I hope to grow to the point where I can do it irrespective of emotional space and mood as well. Namaste, G
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Circles of Inspiration by G A Rosenberg
Reality Check by G A Rosenberg