This story will appear to be about me. This story is about we. When we are blind to the context we are born into and nobody makes us aware that no matter how much it appears to be the way it is, and we are all making up the way it is, we are left feeling trapped and not known. This is a story from my life where I constructed reality and became funny and trapped.
This story occurred when I was three or four years old, maybe one of the earliest incidents that I recall in life. At this age I would consider my Self as close to a “pure being” as is possible in human form while still having some use of language and memories that I might recall.
I remember sitting up on the kitchen counter with my Dad who was leaning on the counter next to me drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. He would occasionally let me have sips of his beer and I recall that he did let me do it this time. In the next part of the memory, one of his friends, a Cleveland cop, is parked in the driveway in his police cruiser and he and my Dad are talking for some time and drinking more beer while they talk.
Eventually, I remember coming back into the house through the front door and through the entry foyer with my Dad, and my Mom is in the house, not very happy about something. What that something is has no bearing on the memory, which is good because I can’t remember what they were fighting about, if I ever knew. What I do recall is a vivid feeling and desire to explain to them how none of what they are fighting about is important. What is important is that there is love.
It would be easy to trivialize this incident and say that I was just a little kid, and I was afraid about my parents fighting, and I wanted to make everything ok. But the memory is so vivid of the perspective that I was watching them argue from, and thinking, even as a little kid, how foolish they were being, and how they didn’t even know how foolish they were being. It was not a childish, self-surviving experience of love that I was trying to tell them about, but a deep sense of why we’re all here to bask and relish in the amazing gift of love and space and being that we all are.
Now, I am much older than I was at that time, and I have a much larger vocabulary than I did at that time, and I am so much more worldly than I was at that time, yet those things do not seem to make much difference in my ability to explain or talk about this sense of, or presence of love that I was attempting to express to my parents. It may be that no words exist to express it fully.
What happened was that I tried explaining it to them and they even stopped fighting for a little bit to give me the opportunity to try to explain it to them, but I didn’t do it any justice and they resumed arguing. I was left with a sense that no matter what I did I wouldn’t be able to get them to understand, and my parents would continue to fight. They continued fighting, on and off, until only a few years ago when they finally divorced officially, a year or two after my Dad was diagnosed with some form of dementia.
That day though, I do recall that eventually my parents did stop fighting. After I had given up explaining to them something that I could not properly describe, I did somehow get them to start laughing with some silly childish method which I don’t remember. I don’t recall what I did, but it was effective in getting them to stop fighting for a little while. As a result of that failure to presence love for and with my parents, and the subsequent “good enough to get them to stop fighting” response, I spent a good part of the next 20 years or so perfecting the art of well-timed methods for getting people to laugh, since I couldn’t get them to really understand me.
Until very recently, I believe that a lot of people that know me would say that I’m pretty funny or have a good sense of humor, but not a lot of people would say that they had a very good sense of who I am. The way it occurred for me, as a phenomenon, is that the majority of people never had any idea who I really am.
Eventually, all that wise cracking in life, school, and beginning work life started to take its toll and my life had become a lot less promising than it started out to be and was definitely not fulfilling because nobody really knew me and I didn’t know myself. It was around the time of my 19th birthday that I had my first exposure to a model of integrity that allowed me to realize that I wasn’t really being true to myself. Just recognizing that altered the course of my life significantly in many ways, and without knowing it I spent the next half of my life seeking that which I couldn’t explain, mostly because I still couldn’t remember that incident from my childhood.
I did have some luck in explaining that unexplainable sense of love to the woman that would become my wife and we created a relationship and a family based in that.
A couple of years ago, I took a course at the University of Rochester that had me recall that initial incident or that “break” with my true Self. Since then, I’ve been living my life coming from that place of love and finding a way to turn that into something meaningful in the world. After all, it wouldn’t make any sense to me to know the secrets of the universe and not attempt to share them with everybody else.
This blog is one avenue to expand the presence and the space within which we exist.
See if you can recall a time in your past, perhaps when you were very young, where you made a decision about yourself and have been living from that decision ever since. This is a socially constructed reality. You began by creating that reality with yourself and in time everybody began to know you from that reality. Today they would tell you, “Yes, that’s just the way you are.”
Maybe it’s not.