Work in process

Perhaps I should mention that I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I’ve simply gone into another one of my thought-funks, in which a lot of things are brewing but it’s difficult (or premature) to crystallize them into the pseudo-solid field of Zeros and Ones.

I am angry. I am disillusioned, in the literal sense of having my sense of reality ripped open and exposed before my eyes. I have lifted the veil, looked behind the curtain… and there really is nothing back there. This isn’t that sense of “walking off the cliff” into unexpected depths of grief that I’ve written about here many times. This really isn’t about grieving for Kurt at all. This is more a sense that many of the fundamental assumptions I have held about the way the world works have simply exploded.

We live in a world in which the institutions we have created do not do well by the people who created them and who have devoted their lives to maintaining, sustaining, and striving to improve them.

For many years I have lived, or professed to live, by this well-known Gandhi quote: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” I devoted my professional life to trying to awaken others to the power of personal transformation. I honestly thought that if I could reach enough individuals with this message, then I could help make a genuine difference in the world.

I’m now seeing that the world (or at least the portion of the world in which I have lived my life) is not going to change, is not interested in changing, and would prefer to see the notion of “personal transformation” limited to “becoming more effective/productive within the constraints of the existing system.”

If I really, personally, want to see change in the world — MY world — I’m going to have to really, personally, start with myself. I have to reevaluate my relationships to the “stuff” that I love, the things that I believe to be true, the literal and metaphorical security systems and barriers against the world that I have personally erected. I have to dare to be free, and I have to take personal responsibility for what it means to be free.

So now I’m in the process of figuring out what all that might mean. I suppose I overthink things, but that is who I am and expect I always will be, no matter how many veils I end up piercing along the way.

As I figure things out (or not) I may be absent from this blog for a while.

Or I may have another great run and want to tell you all about it.

I did 4.4 joyful miles Monday morning, and 3.25 not-so-joyful miles this morning. I was having trouble being in the moment and running when all around me the known world was collapsing, and I’d only had 4 hours of sleep last night. If it had been a race I would have risen to the occasion, but this morning it was just a slog. So I’ll try again on Friday — and I do always look forward to my Friday runs as they herald the coming of the weekend.

A friend of a friend died of lung cancer this morning. My wounds are still too fresh; this news ripped my heart open again. This was not the source of my current anger and disillusionment; rather, those experiences left me wide open to the pain. If you smoke, please stop. If you truly love someone who is a smoker, please nag them to stop. Life is too short and precious to waste in such a stupid, senseless way. All we have are moments, and I want all of us to live as many moments as possible.


Posted on January 25, 2012, in grief, Philosophy, Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. “Thought-funks” – great description! Have rather been in a thought-funk myself lately.

    Agree with you 100% on the smoking – nasty, stupid, destructive habit. Our son smokes and it breaks my heart that he does. I watched a father figure die of lung cancer when I was a teen, and it’s something I’ll never forget.

  2. Rebecca,
    It’s nice to see you here again. Yes, seeing anyone (young people, especially) sauntering down the street with a cigarette simply makes me furious. I have to fight the urge to run over and lecture them. There is simply no excuse anymore for anyone to start or continue to smoke.

  3. Talk to me...I'm your Mother

    I’m so sorry to hear.

  4. What can I say, but thinking of you.

  5. We were sorry to hear about your friend that passed away this morning. You are in our hearts, always, and you know that. Keep moving forward!

    Carlene and Bob

  6. I can understand the sense of outrage at people who gamble with health. And although I have no knowledge of what you’re chewing on right now, you hit upon some thoughts that I recognize. I talk about having a hamster on a wheel in my head at times, and it just goes round and round while I sift, sort and change. In the last few years these times have brought me unto new awareness and I’m sure you are creating a lot of very new perspectives. I look forward to hearing from you when that feels good to you, and I also understand occasional withdrawal. The beauty of the blogosphere! A very forgiving and patient crowd 🙂 Debra

  7. Understand the frustration at seeing young people starting a habit that is so horrible for them. I’m with you at wanting to get them to wake up to the realities.

    So difficult still, even when a friend of a friend… understand how it can still affect you.

    Take care, and lean on your friends when we can help……

  8. When you are down, you might try re-reading your posts from January 2nd and the 6th.
    Remind yourself that for every bad day, you will have more and more good days as the healing continues.

    • Doug,
      Thanks for doing precisely what I asked for on January 2: reminding me, when I whine, that I have “resolved” to have fun. You are also very astute in your reading of me — all of the things that are making me unsettled and angry right now are happening precisely because I’m in the middle of making all the changes that I need to make in my life.
      One step at a time!

  9. Lori,
    What an honest revelation. Thumbs up on your tag of “thought-funk”–well said! I have been in a thought-funk myself and absent from this (new to me) blogosphere. It appears from your audience many have empathy for your current state whilst cheering you on to press forward.

    My father used to say, “To reform the world, begin with yourself.” I didn’t get it at 12 years old, but I’ve been reforming and transforming since 20 YO–not always easy as changes in thinking and evaluating are often uncomfortable adjustments.

    Take good care as you journey along running and thinking. ~~ Ellen

    (P.S. Good advice from Doug to any of us who are in blogosphere.)

    • Ellen,

      Your father gave you some wise advice. It is certainly a lesson that I have to keep relearning: that the biggest transformations involve changing not merely beliefs but the assumptions and values behind the beliefs. And gosh, that sort of deep change can be painful!

      I appreciate you and everyone for helping me hold a mirror up to my thinking.


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