Book Spine Poetry

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I Am A Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter
Sculpting In Time by Andrey Tarkovsky
The Film Sense by Eisenstein
The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdoch
The Energy of Prayer by Thich Nhat Hanh
Why does E=mc2? by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw
Elvis Presley by Robert Matthew-Walker
How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach
The Other End of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D.
Coach by Steve Bavister and Amanda Vickers
Your Presence Is Requested At Suvanto by Maile Chapman
The Emporer’s New Mind by Roger Penrose

I’m using a chance system to decide what to read: using the numbers I put on individual pieces of paper for my film project, I pick one out of a cup and then read the correspondingly numbered book. Last night I pulled out number seven: Your Presence Is Requested At Suvanto. Within the chapter I read was a description of a journey taken in a car when the driver decided to detour over a frozen river that was not flagged as safe to drive on. There was a fear of being on thin ice and that the ice would crack. The synchronicity of this reading hit me instantly. I talked about the feeling of being on thin ice in my post yesterday. This is what Maile wrote:

“she knew she would be unable to get out quickly if the ice cracked. She had expected the ice to fail, she’d waited for and expected the sharp terrifying sound, the tilt, the feel of ice water rising at her feet. She’d said nothing, though, staring ahead until they reached the opposite shore. She’d excused herself and taken the train home alone.”

The bit that really stands out is that she said nothing. Why was that, I wonder? Fear of not being taken seriously? Fear of being ignored? Not being heard? Ridiculed? Cut off from the group? But she is anyway, in her mind at least. So why not speak out and say what’s true for her? What’s the worst that could happen?

There was a time when I could be relied upon to be brutally honest in conversation, to the point where people would laugh in a way that suggested they were pleased I’d said it but wouldn’t have said it themselves. There was often a tinge of outrageousness involved. This stopped after an intense friendship with George. During a lunch with workmates in a pub she whispered that people were laughing at me. “I know,” I laughed, “what I said is meant to be funny!” But she warned me against it; she told me she had my back and that they weren’t laughing in a friendly way. They were laughing at me not with me. I didn’t believe her straight away. But eventually, with more comments like this, I started forming beliefs about how I should be different.

My counsellor asked me why I’m afraid to object to my mum’s directive statements. I don’t know why. Why did I choose to believe George? Why did I close down and let her tell me what was best for me? Is it habit? If it is habit then I just need to try a new behaviour for twenty one days to form a new habit. I wonder if that will work? And how? What is the new behaviour? Something to do with creating the space for me to think about what has been said and respond to it. It might look like this:

in conversation with mum I’ve opened up and shared something about myself;

Mum: oh, that’s because you’re [insert label here]

Me: oh. You think I’m [state label]. Am I? Let me think about that a moment.

Thinking out loud gives me the opportunity to stay present and not go into hurt child mode. It probably isn’t even meant as a hurt. There may be a truth in what she’s labelled me but it won’t be the whole truth.

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