“She waits for the night to fall…”

Image of my light-dodging avatar from the virtual world - Second Life

“She pulls the shade, it’s just another sunny Monday…
(Joni Mitchell)

“She dodges the light like Blanche DuBois.”
The award-winning Turbulent Indigo album was released in 1994. I’ve studied and worshipped every note and chord, every nuanced word of musical poetry for twenty years. I’ve performed Sunny Sunday, accompanying myself on guitar.  I’m proficient, but humble — it’s technically-challenging.  I know I’m no Joni Mitchell, except in my dreams.  Only Joni is Joni. (link is to video of her appearance and performance on a BBCTV show in 1994 after the album’s release.)

In music I’m fond of long intros, likewise in my writing.  But here it’s a nasty habit called ‘burying the lead’. I’ve tried over decades to change this . Really, I have.   Thanks for your patience, gentle reader.  I see I’ve done it again.  Don’t panic.  Here, take a shovel.

SO, why this song now?   I love Sunny Sunday because it speaks to the tiny introvert buried within my otherwise extroverted self. She rarely speaks up, poor thing, and the light of sunny days hurts her eyes. Introverts need love too, even when they’re only aspects of the whole. Today I celebrate my introvert and yours.

During the WWII era Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers began developing what is now the oft-used type inventory (MBTI) , using their own research based on the personality theories of Carl Gustav Jung. Their belief was that clearer understanding of ‘personality types’ would be of great practical value in the booming workforce.  Based on our ‘type’, we have preferences for experiencing the world around us, our relationships, our education and work.  Our individual preferences lie at the root of all our interests, needs, values and motivations.  (more on the MBTI here)

I first took the MBTI in 1969 as part of my ongoing (still today) study of human behavior and me.  My head was stuffed with questions from a young age:  Who am I? Why am I like I am?   Why are you like you are? What made me different from my younger sisters, friends and parents? Life on The Happy Planet was often perplexing to me.  I hated not knowing the answers, or at least some answers.  So much puzzled me. I longed to have another person inside my consciousness so that I didn’t have to feel alone in the galactic expanse of my ‘inner life’.  I wanted an Inner Life Detector, some sort of 23rd Century tricorder that I could point at people and just know.  I needed to see the ineffable magic that didn’t show on the faces of those closest to me.  Did they feel this way too?  Did they have similar questions. Did they have an ‘inner life’?

The Myer-Briggs inventory armed me with information that quieted some of the incessant questions.  I am, as I was then with subtle variations, an ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception)  For the sake of today’s meanderings it’s the E that often confuses even me.  I forget that while I derive energy and great joy from my relationships and interactions with other people — in a big way, since my inventory usually shows me at the high end of the extraversion spectrum — I can run completely dry. Tapped out. Irritated by the very community of others that gives my life meaning and purpose.  At those times I first withdraw emotionally. Then I go out less.  I don’t want contact. I want a quiet inner and outer space where I can recharge, a bit like Thoreau fleeing the city for the serenity of Walden Pond. So not me, I protest. But it is.

Reclusiveness only works for me for awhile, and I can’t imagine a lifetime of it.  I love people and the exchange of energy that happens too much to stay locked away.  It’s a palpable thing.  Unless of course there’s buttheadery going on, but that’s yet another story.  I see that detour, but I’ll save it for another day.

In the last couple of weeks the me that revels in affinity with others took a breather.  Even big bold extraverts have introvert needs.  It’s taken me decades to get comfortable with that, most likely due to often hearing as a child how I was terribly moody, and your-face-will-freeze-that-way-young-lady.  T’ain’t so.  I’m no Blanche DuBois, and between you and me, I don’t think she was satisfied with her life, even with all those lovely negligées.

If you’d like to play with a Jungian/Myers-Briggs typology inventory, you can find one here .  The version used by human resource, sociology and psychology professionals is more than five hundred questions, and not necessary to get a first look at the ways you in which you ‘see and be’ on our Happy Planet.

Thanks for ambling along with me.  Be kind to your yourself.  I see you in there.

Love,
Cate  ❤️

 


All images used in this blog are created in the virtual world, Second Life, unless otherwise mentioned.

Advertisements

Ask the enlightened. Go on… Ask them.

Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on.  Get drunk. (Rumi)

Gratitude is the wine for the soul. Go on. Get drunk.
(Rumi)

“I’m so grateful for everything you’ve ever given me…” So sings Sir Paul McCartney in Gratitude .  Countless artists, some movers-and-shakers, myriad humble monks and mystics throughout ages of ages all seem to agree. Their words vary, but the message remains.  Gratitude is everything. We only need reminding.  I know I do.  The din of everyday can become an enormous weight upon our hearts.  Its cacophony cancels out melodies that ears can hear with ease when we are not immersed in ‘fear of’…  this calamity, that tragedy, this potential conflict, that bad guy… no!  THAT one, over there!  See???

I hear your objections already  — easier said than done to remain in a state of gratitude.  I disagree.  The difficulty is not about gratitude, it’s about the space we have each and all learned to live in, particularly in the so-called ‘Enlightened West’  As Mohandas K. Gandhi is quoted as saying when asked what he thought about Western Civilization – “I think it would be a good idea.”

How then to increase our own personal moments of gratitude for simple being, and for the miraculous beingness of others, when the cultural loudspeakers blare fear, distraction, savagery and banality at us from cradle-to-grave?  This is what works for me:

  • When I wake-up I take a moment to breathe mindfully before standing to engage the day.  My goal is to etch the day with what Buddhist’s refer to as “gap time”. The gap is now.  Every moment of every day is now. By setting an intention to freely move into gap time and gap space, I facilitate easier mobility into and out of a waking mindfulness and focused attention that is needed for the challenges of my everyday life.
  • Throughout my waking time I take moments to feel my feet on the floor or the ground, feel my butt on the couch, feel the water on my hands as I wash them, as I water the garden, as I wash the dinner dishes.  Again, it’s about mindfulness – focus, and all about purposeful breathing as I’m feeling all that stuff.  Such a concept.  It’s just breathe, breathe, breathe all the time.
  • When family demands, or traffic stress, or confrontational malarky with any walking wounded others, ad infinitum — at these moments, I remind myself to pause.  Pausing creates a gap where I can choose how I want to respond to the eddies of my ‘life’.

With these intentional actions in place I am constantly freed up to appreciate the miracles of being that are never gone, but for so many are impossible to see amid the distractions, or hear beneath the noise of what’s often taken for granted as “just how it is”.   My ability to appreciate without judgment what my amazing sensory system perceives is the foundation of my state of gratitude. Without this mindful relishing it is easy to fall into patterns of event-react-event-react that is all too common for our species here on The Happy Planet.  I’ve been there. I’m not going back.

The energy that comes from the center of mindful me, that surrounds me, and radiates outward from me changes everything.  I consider it my cosmic imperative to be centered in the gap while mindfully living with the people I love and the people I meet, and the people I’ve only simply heard about who live lands away.

I don’t glow with other-worldly light (at least I don’t think I do).  I don’t levitate. But, if you understand the interconnectedness stories of ripples in a pond, butterfly wings in the Sahara and such, my heart-mind-self knows that mindful and grateful moments change everything.  I’m not going to wax on about quantum affinities and entanglements, but it’s all about those too!

So, for right now, I am in gratitude for everything I can perceive, and I’ve made room for all that’s out of range for the moment.   Thank you for reading.  Thank you for being.  Oh! And don’t forget to breathe.  ♡

Cate