Ecstasy is my nature

Posted by Erin on 2nd August 2010 in Erin's Thoughts

This from “Eve’s Diary” by Mark Twain:

At first I couldn’t make out what I was made for, but now I think it was to search out the secrets of this wonderful world and be happy and thank the Giver of it all for devising it.

It always comes back to this.

How flimsy and inadequate it seems in a dark and unloving moment.  So easy to toss it heavily out of the way, stamp through this sort of thankfulness or happiness or quality of joy, which is really what my self-esteem is made of, toward the option to crticize or whimper that has convinced me it’s so much more empowering.

“that’s naive” it hisses at me.  and somehow, even though it’s never explained I have this feeling of understanding why that matters, why it’s dangerous or stupid or illusory.

It also knows my secret longing.  The one embedded in my heart like a shard of glass.  The one to be perfect.  Above reproach.  Gilded. And therefore unfailingly loved.   For a time It  always comes and I relish it, and love my state of perfection and how it feels to be held aloft with an uneasy uncertainty in the periphery of my senses.  Of course, it would shatter, eventually.  Shatter and cut at me while the voice of that uncertainty and insecurity would snort and lean back with it’s arms folded to watch how I panic, and eventually run to it begging for asylum from the tragedy of my imperfections.   “I told you so, how naive.  You’re terrible.  We’re all terrible.  To have hope is to be a liar.”

Only this time, I don’t beg.  I more info

feel the sting and get very still.  and I wait.   I practice bearing the discomfort.  Containment.  Restraint.  I bear it instead of commanding it away.  And then I hear: “I don’t want to be perfect so how can failing at it buckle my spine?”  In a calm and very clear voice from somewhere far back inside me coming forward powerfully like the sudden rush of air in a subway station.

My Joy.

Joy was never asking me to deny weakness or ugliness or flaws or mistakes or to stop striving for improvement.  It was never suggesting I was perfect or needed to be or should believe in perfection and permanent, unmoveable goodness as the required context for celebration and being loved.

Instead, she says: “do you know something magnificent?  That you can hate and love the same person in equal amounts.  you can end up filled in both potentials, simultaneously, as far as they will go and one doesn’t automatically win out over the other.  Sure, it’s also an agony to be tossed between the two seemingly endlessly and without an obvious resolution since, sometimes, one just wont budge despite the other.  This, when reversed, is a way to say that love, your ecstasy, your capacity for joy and all your magic is as much a force as that which shatters those things.  When your heart is devastated and you can’t get a clear sense of it or what’s going on around you, I’m not asking you to pretend it’s not that way.  Joy doesn’t ignore the pieces, it’s just a way of collecting them. Or of dancing on them while your feet bleed.”

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