Latin, from Greek panakeia,
all-healing, from pan-
First Known Use: 1548
I find myself being aware of my thoughts and feelings in very rapid order. At the same time I reject the whole mass (mess) of nearly everything that reaches my awareness within. Nearly everything comes into my mind with a costly price tag attached: I question! I question nearly every single event that I experience – and I mean EXPERIENCE – as in “I am the person experiencing this experience.”
The cost to me of what I experienced of severe trauma and abuse during the first 18 years of my life left me without any awareness of myself having an experience of having experiences of being myself having experiences. In other words, I was inwardly moonless: I lacked the ability to self-reflect.
When youngest child was 4 he asked me from the backseat of the car one afternoon as we crossed through Albeuquerque, New Mexico when I was attending art therapy graduate school there. “What is infinity times infinity?”
I didn’t know he knew anything about infinity. What was I to say? “Infinity is infinity. Infinity times infinity is still infinity. Nothing is changed by multiplying it times itself. (How did he know what “times” was, anyway?) Nothing changes infinity.”
What changes my experience — my experience of myself having experience of having experiences? Where does it all stop?
In a world such as I seem to be presently residing in everything is relative. (Yes, I am up here because of relatives but that’s not what I mean — or do I?)
If everything is relative then there are no answers for any question at the same time there are an infinite number of answers.
I found myself thinking this afternoon of two people known well to our family. In both cases I now see that neither of these two people can “handle” being out in the world — certainly not working (both are supported, fortunately, by their spouses). Neither seem to be able to handle the hum-drum run-dom of life any better than I can. And yet neither one of these people suffered from trauma in their early life.
My daughter mentioned back to me as I reflected on this “condition,” “Chances are neither one of them could have possibly survived what you have lived through.”
Oh. Great. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
If I had not survived I wouldn’t be around to miss myself not being here.
My kids and grandkids wouldn’t miss me. They wouldn’t be here either.
I don’t have one.
That’s my point.
Except for the thoughts that soon became tangled up in my paradoxical mind: The surviving didn’t just happen ‘back then’ when I was entrapped in an extremely insane abusive hell during the first 18 years of my life. I have been surviving THAT every moment of my life! I will be doing THAT as long as I live on this planet.
Although there are obviously, evidently, people who don’t “fit in” much better than I do — people who do not have histories of trauma — I often feel FURIOUS because I KNOW I would NOT BE the way I am now if I had NOT suffered the trauma I suffered — and hence still suffer from today.
I KNOW that. I know I would have had a very different life. I would not be lost, which I almost always am. I would not be sunk into poverty I do not have the means to escape. I would not have to struggle to understand so much of what it must mean to be human.
On the other hand……….
What I do know is that I actually did something today that inspired me to feel TRULY HAPPY — a kind of FREEDOM-IN-HAPPINESS that is so rare for me I bet I’ve maybe felt it 20 times in my life — and even that is probably a reach.
Today I registered for DRUMMING lessons at the very impressive music strore in Fargo (with a million dollars of pianos in it, a million dollars of guitars in it….) that is about a mile from where I live. The teacher has his doctorate in percussion. I walked out with a lesson set for this coming Saturday at 4:30 in the afternoon feeling not only like I was SIX YEARS’ OLD — but like I was one HAPPY six year old!
I was NEVER truly happy at any point in my abusive childhood. I was always under threat. Always in danger. The books I am working on describe the vastness of the UNHAPPINESS of my childhood. I cannot speak the words now to describe that.
Nor can I adequately express what it feels like to me to have felt that HAPPY knowing that I gave myself permission to take these lessons, that they are available, and there will never in my lifetime be anything about percussion that I want to learn that this teacher man, his name is Brett, cannot teach me!
$20 per half hour. I feel I am healing — TRULY healing — a part of myself in doing this. THIS is one thing I can do for myself living in this place that I am very not fond of that I could not do living in Arizona where I was before last October.
THIS I DO FOR ME! For nobody else in the UNIVERSE but ME!!
I am realizing there is very little I have ever done for myself that hasn’t in some way been FOR someone else.
THIS I DO FOR ME!!!!
I do this for a HAPPY ME!!
In my paradoxical current state of being I know that I not only WANT to drum expertly (at 62 I will have to work hard to catch up!), I WANT to be able to DRUM THE PARADOX OUT OF MY LIFE WHENEVER I WANT TO!!
ALL OF IT!!
EVERY TINY SNIPPET OF PARADOX. To me there is a purity in rhythm unmatched by any other experience I have ever had. In these past few days as I considered taking money from my meager budget each month to pay for lessons I subtracted rhythm from music as I experience music and came up with only one thing left over: TIME.
Not that I can reach that perfect goal, but if I could drum perfectly, be in perfect time, I would BE IN TIME in a way that would let me simply BE.
Will there be passion in that experience?
I am not passionate about the paradox of being human. I am tired of it. Sick of it. I want it all to stop. No words. No thoughts. No reflections. No awarenesses. Nojudgments or assessments. No questions or comparisons or wonderings.
In some vital way I essentially want to return to the purity of my inner states of childhood (actually it lasted into my 30s). Back then I had no choice.
I am choosing now to “go back there” for that part of myself who could live in the moment in such a way that I was oblivious of trouble. AMAZING feat that was?
(No, I was not HAPPY in childhood (except for two experiences I remember) but I WAS in important ways inwardly free as I have never again been able to be as an adult.)
I guess it came naturally to me. I am certainly hoping the more complex states of drumming — the status of being ‘in time’ that I seek — comes equally as naturally to me.
I aim to find out.
2 thoughts on “+EMPTY-HEADED DAYS and PARADOX”
Can so relate to the beginning of this. Saddest thing I’ve ever said was about six months ago to a therapist, “I’m so tired of trying to survive my life”. That’s not what life is meant to be about, everyone tells me. But I don’t know any other way. I am so happy for you that you have found something to look forward to. Drumming is awesome and I’m sure you’ll be great at it, because you already have the passion about it. I’ve always wanted to take tap dancing lessons. In fact I own a pair of tap shoes that I bought in a thrift shop. Another rhythm activity…may you will inspire me to finally find out about taking lessons. Am I too old to be Shirley Temple at 51?
HECK NO!!! At 62 I am opening this door to fulfillment of a passion I have had all of my adult life. Tap dancing — yes!! Such a fantastic involvement with rhythm, timing — and YOU as an embodied person!!