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8/30: An Industrious Girl

One of my great teachers sent out her quarterly newsletter the other day, and in it she recommended a little exercise for the new year:

Consider in a playful and loving way what symbol or image arises when you imagine being YOU, fully and completely. When you are expanded and unlimited, joyful and brilliant, ask, "When I am my True Self, I am like...?" Notice what comes to mind. It could be a feeling, a word or a metaphor.

She provided an example from one of her clients, who discovered in herself "a Guardian, a Healer, an Architect."

A color photo of DarkEmeralds and her big sister, ages 2 and 4, playing in a tidepool at Cannon Beach, Oregon, in about 1958. DarkEmeralds industriously studies the wet sand.
That's me in the back, figuring out wet sand.

So I put on some binaural beats tones, set my fingers on the keyboard, got into as much of an expanded and unlimited state as the day allowed, and took down the images that arose.

From earliest toddlerhood to about age eleven, there I was: totally engrossed...in something. All kinds of things. Making stuff--art, crafts, food, clothes, music, stories. Solving problems. Figuring things out.

And then moving on--over and over and over now for almost sixty years. Being super-industrious, but--and here's the key--never terribly productive.

From the session:

The building blocks are constantly rearranged. THIS IS WHO I AM THIS IS WHO YOU ARE changing structure, rearranging, the Calder mobile of your mind, the heart and eyes totally focused on this thing, this thing right there, this moment, this now, this interesting problem.

You're not who you've tried to be. Let it all go. Everything but this. This right here, whatever it is, whatever makes your eyes focus and your cat-ears tilt forward and your whole being come into slow, steady, absolute focus: that's all that counts. That's all you are.


Some of my favorite people worry about their fickleness, about not really accomplishing anything in life; about spending all that money on some passion only to solve its mysteries and move guiltily on (often storing up the old tools and supplies for years out of some false hope that we'll "get back to that someday").

In this little exercise--which was as much about letting go of what isn't as about embracing what is--I finally began to accept that I'm just An Industrious Girl. Not productive, not "successful," not goal-oriented. Just happy to be engrossed in something, busily working away.

It's okay that the only result is me having fun.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2015 12:05 am (UTC)
An Industrious Girl

yes! I love that description and I love this conclusion.

It's okay that the only result is me having fun.
Feb. 10th, 2015 02:39 am (UTC)
I would be remiss not to note that retirement makes this stance a whole lot easier to justify. But yes, I was happy with my conclusion too!
Feb. 10th, 2015 06:29 am (UTC)
Great observations. You know, from the time I brought my daughter home from the hospital I could sense what her personality was, and it hasn't changed even though she's now an adult with kids of her own. Despite all that we learn and how we age I guess we are fundamentally the same as when we were small children.
Feb. 10th, 2015 07:56 am (UTC)
My sister, who has four kids (now all adults) says the same thing: each of them was who she or he was from the first day, and they were all so different from one another. My sister tried hard not only to let them be themselves, but to encourage them in that way. They all seem to have turned out pretty happy in their wildly divergent ways.

What about you? Did you always know and accept your True Self, or have you had to spend time peeling away the accretions of society and culture to rediscover it?
Feb. 10th, 2015 06:37 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. That's a good question, and one that I haven't really considered much. I grew up in a difficult family, like so many of us did, and in order to survive in a somewhat healthy and productive way, I decided to follow the promptings of my spirit while quite young. I was raised in a Christian home so that's usually how I explain spirituality, in Christian(ish) terms. Anyhow, I decided to follow what I thought God was urging me toward, and in that way I suppose that was my true self. Hand in hand goes the doubts and anxieties and fears, though, and although it's antiquated language, I think of them as devils, or Satan. I'm probably freaking you out with all this talk, huh? lol sorry! Anyhow, I'm not sure that answers your question, but that's what comes to mind. I'm still chasing after that true self because it hides behind obstacles and challenges that appear real and are frightful even if they are just noise and fury.
Feb. 10th, 2015 10:02 pm (UTC)
You're not freaking me out in the slightest, and I really value your having explained things in those terms.

in order to survive in a somewhat healthy and productive way, I decided to follow the promptings of my spirit while quite young.

This is so clear! And it reminds me that I did somewhat the same thing--I'd even use the same terms to describe it, although in my case, my family was vehemently secular (I wouldn't say "atheist" precisely, but leaning that way) and I didn't feel much support for my more naturally-mystical leanings. I always felt a little bit in the closet about it. Still do, I think. My world, particularly the liberal/progressive/yay-science slice of the internet I've tended to inhabit, is also vehemently secular and often actively anti-spiritual (under the rubric of being anti-religion, which I consider quite a separate thing).

So anyway, the decision to follow what felt to you like God's guidance and to me like...let's just say "the promptings of spirit" seems to have been a big part of both of our lives. Like you, I felt that there were active evils operating when I was younger, and I'm sure I spent at least some time in my teens concerned about Satan. So no, no freaking-out here!

And finally, the obstacles, challenges, noise and fury you mention as hiding your true self from yourself are probably closely analogous to what I think of as the accretions of upbringing, society, culture and unconscious beliefs.

May I just say that of the many fandom and writing folks I follow on Twitter, you're one of the most consistently positive and uplifting. I really appreciate that.
Feb. 11th, 2015 08:01 pm (UTC)
My family, while Christian in name and culture, never really understood my spiritual nature either. We moved to a small town when I was in my teens and they are still happily ensconced in that same town. The highlight of their week is going to WalMart, lol.

I'm glad you understand about spirit. I have spent some time in a 12 step program and they have a wonderful way of referring to spirituality. Many of their members are atheist and really struggle with the concept of a higher power, but it can be anything - the power of the group even -- as I heard one person describe it -- the wonder they felt over the intricacy of the design on the floor tiles! Just a sense of something bigger than ourselves.

I like the way you mention the accretions of upbringing, society, culture and unconscious beliefs. We all have them and we are largely unaware of them. Imagine if we had been born a hundred years ago, how we would think. Or how those a hundred years in the future will think. Amazing, yet of course we are human beings and some things will be the same because of that.

I do believe that there are evil spiritual beings out there, but I don't believe in a pointy-eared pitchfork carrying devil guy, nor do I believe in a literal hell. A metaphorical one, yes. Life on earth can be hell for some people and in some circumstances. I don't know, I guess I'm still teasing out the meaning of such things in my own mind and that is why I like conversations of this nature.

Aww, thanks for your kind words about twitter. I've been failing at keeping up with Twitter - it's so vast and ever-changing! I do try to uplift people, though. Negativity is all too pervasive in reality as in my own mind and it is a constant struggle to turn toward goodness while not living in a Pollyannaish dream world.
Feb. 12th, 2015 08:45 pm (UTC)
There seems to be a delicate border zone between pragmatic realism and hippie-dippy New Age power of positive thinking, and I try to stay in it. (I mean, I love New Age positive thinking and I believe in Law of Attraction in a general way, but I try not to let my brain fall out, you know?)

I don't find any value in outrage, and I don't like being around a lot of anger. I truly and deeply believe that mine is the only mind I can change, and that my doing so is my most powerful act in the world. (And I truly and deeply believe that not everyone believes this and that's okay.)

So I try to use social media to increase my joy, laughter, fascination, and optimism, and I'll quickly unfollow outraged and angry people.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )



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