Apropos of nothing, I have, over the last three days, picked up the books I am borrowing from Travis* on the enneagram. It just seemed like the thing to do at the time.
(Well, it seemed like the thing to do because part of the presentation of the novel is going to be from my specific enneagram's POV. And I am now in research mode for the novel. But I also think it was something else, too.)
Anyhow, I started in on the first book and was busily "studying" all the introductory bits. And then when I got to the actual bit about how I am screwed up, I put the book down at around 10 pm and went directly to bed.
Huh. I finished it the next day. With considerably less notes, and in some spots, I had to skim.
Yesterday I started in on The Wisdom of the Enneagram
. I'd read the specific section on how messed up my type is before, but now I went back to actually read more about the development of the enneagram, what the types really mean, and how you should use the information about your type to effect self-exploration and integration. (Fascinating stuff, if you have the interest. How the ego has bound us all up from our potential in the attempt to keep us safe from hurt and harm, and how the solidifying of that defensive boundary throughout childhood has put everyone to sleep to their true self to varying degrees. Scary, but good.)
Once again, I was with the underlining and hiliting like a fiend. Then I hit chapter 4: "Cultivating Awareness." The first line reads: "How can we get in touch with our true nature--the spark of divinity that lies within each of us?" As in, the first steps to getting out of the Big Ego Trap that makes us permanently miserable. And I closed the book and went directly to bed. Again.
I was really relating, too. I have had the feeling of the experience of integration, on the first part of my road trip before everything went south (and I had to rush north). I really felt like I could see my knee-jerk reactions to things, and I didn't get mad at myself for it, I just elected to not play my usual game. And I could see other people's ego-driven behavior, and I didn't get flustered or angry or stress over how their behavior affected me or themselves; in fact, I just accepted that that was how they are and that they are very much wonderful, lovable people for it. No really. I felt that way for about four days in a row. (In case you were wondering, that would be because of how welcome you whom I got to visit [and even those who I regrettably did not get to visit] made me feel, so thank you!) Maybe it was a fluke or a delusion on my part, but I'd like to think it was a moment of enlightenment. The enneagram book has a specific story from the author explaining how he had had a similar moment and what it felt like, and I got all excited.
Until I got to the bit where I might actually help myself have more of those enlightened moments, then I was overwhelmingly tired and went to sleep. (In case you didn't know I'm a type 9
. Note the bit about sloth/inertia toward myself.)
I woke up today, determined. Lots more notations, underlining, hiliting and tagging. Feeling very grateful for the wisdom, taking in the new ideas. Until I got to the bit about how my type locks ourselves into our one very skewed way of seeing the world. Which is so on the nose that reading it was misery. Seriously, misery. I felt horribly confused, completely overwhelmed, and slid right into mild depression and started crying at the apt descriptions of my type's personal corner on sadness, anger, and helplessness. Then I wanted to call a number of people for reassurance. Then the sleepiness came back and it took all the willpower in the world to not
put the book right down and go to bed. And being "mindful" of all that emotion and ego-driven habitual narcotization and realizing that the emotions were temporary and not a definition of my "self" really didn't help one bit towards the feeling less raw at the time.
(And I know I am supposed to be all compassionate and not wish myself "better," but really I just feel a lot broken right now.)
But, I read it through, in the end. I even managed to hilite a few especially meaningful passages. And then I plowed directly through the end bit about practices to help use the enneagram as a tool (rather than as a way to make oneself feel bad). Most of which are ideas that I have had and need to put into practice rather than letting my inertia sit me on the couch and watch all of season 2 of supernatural** in three days (is it possible to love sam more than dean or vice versa?!).
In light of all this fun mess of trying to live my life again, this time with more sanity, my goals are to sort out my compulsions/impulses from the things I really want to do, and then to find the drive to do the wanted things that are starting to nag at me. I think anything involving staying in the apartment that isn't driven by personal well-being is a compulsion at this point. The weather is fantastic and books and laptop are very portable. The big exception is the act of writing itself, some of which I will want to do here without distraction. The writing, which I have been putting off, desperately needs to happen. (Yes, self, there will be the examination. The sooner it happens, the sooner it will be over.) Exercise and eating meals rather than compulsive snacking needs to happen. Going to events & places of interest seriously needs to happen, and I have already shirked practicing the viola one day. A record, since I've only had something to practice since Tuesday. And, getting back on the meditation horse needs to happen.
Lastly, I need to get quarters. Self-knowing, integration, and enlightenment all come much easier with clean laundry.
(You know, enjae, it's occurred to me a few times now that when I was quitting my job to do writing full-time in the summer of 2004, you had mentioned that you'd be watching very carefully to see how that particular experiment went over for me.....I advise doing as I say and not as I've done... ;) )
So more alone time for me. I know it is also my type's way of making myself and everyone around me miserable, but I'm hoping to all the powers that be that this time I am going to convert my inertia-laden self-punishing and loved-one-punishing withdrawal behavior into a true inner journey. Cross your fingers for me, please.....
* Um, Travis, I owe you new copies of your books. As I was reading I couldn't hold back the compulsion to underline, notate, hilite, and sticky-tab bits. Sowwy. :)
** Thank you Stacy for making that particular brand of inertia possible....while I might maybe should have employed a healthful sort of moderation in watching the series through, it was a damn good time while it lasted.... :)