Saturday, June 22, 2013

Unrequited oceans

Love is a compulsion for collision. An unavoidable drive to meet, to crash into an other. To press lives and mouths and yearnings together until it cracks us open. Because sometimes it's the only way to get it out, to cope with the swell of the oceans inside us.

This is love, for me, perhaps just for today. (Mixed metaphors because one will never do for this). I won't always think so. It's not all I think. But I am cracked open and I'm afraid it's for the wrong person, again. I made the choice. I just need to understand it.

Tonight I was driving in the rain and my face started to match my windscreen: streaked with rivulets of wet. I drove until there was somewhere quiet to stop and then I curled against the steering wheel and heaved with the ocean in me.

I grieve not for a loss, but for the love I've never had. For needing these minor collisions to recognise the vastness of myself. For having to be cracked open before I realise that it is unrequited. That the swell coming back the other way is not from a meeting with another ocean but my own waves bouncing off a wall.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Highly sensitive happiness

Happiness is having the senses sated. That hunger that can only be filled by experiences of beauty. Exquisite tastes on your tongue. The incomparable sensation of the sun on your skin. Breezes untainted by the stink of the city. The sound of the ocean bringing you back to yourself. Music that rubs you the right way, wakes up your heart. Gentleness, delicate pleasures, comfort. It isn't that hard to find: I just forget sometimes.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The power in a name

I feel like a river. For years silt has been settling into place on the riverbed, archiving the history of the river, leaving the water more and more clear. But now the silt has been trampled, stirred up, the water clouded again. It will settle again, probably quicker than before. There's enough clarity in the water flowing downstream to ensure that.  But the silt will never settle in quite the same way again.

I'm stirred up by many things. One is that I've just completed 4 days of training in Circle of Security, an attachment-based parenting program. I can't yet capture or articulate everything that it has woken and shifted in me.

One of the pieces of information that stood out was a study on brain imaging. Some researchers put people in an MRI machine and administered a mild electrical shock. The MRI scan showed activity in the amygdala, the 'primitive' part of the brain that deals with fear.

Another group of people were put through the same procedure. But first they were told that when they felt the shock, they should say the word 'afraid' or otherwise express what they felt.

The scans of the second group showed that naming their fear lowered activity in the amygdala. The pre-frontal cortex, the 'thinking' part of the brain was also activated.

So naming your feelings reduces their effect on you, literally. It reminds me of the long-standing notion in mythology that knowing the true name of a thing or of your enemy gives you power over it, or at least removes its power over you. Just look at the tale of Rumpelstiltskin.

This is probably why the 'talking therapies' have such traction in Western cultures. It's one of the beliefs that led me to doing work with people. Helping them name their histories, their hauntings.

I wonder if we've always known the things that science is discovering about humans. We're just finding new ways to talk about them. Does it help to give new names to the things we already know, or are we still searching for their true names?