Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Rebelliousness

A lot of us like to think we're rebellious--as if there were something innately valuable in opposing whatever somebody else comes up with.

Intellectually, I know that's just as reflexive as slavishly following instructions.

But my gut has never gotten the message.

And in the last 24 hours, I've staged one of my frequent rebellions against myself. Having declared my ideal best life ruling principle at this site yesterday, I went home and was seized by all of my soft addictions nearly simultaneously: steady snacking all evening while turning through trashy magazines and then working crossword puzzles into the wee hours--I simply could not get myself to stop earlier and go to bed. Then of course I overslept hugely. And, worst of all, I indulged in beating up on myself.

Now none of this is so bad, obviously. Still. I'd like to feel I can stop. And an hour or two of those activities would have been plenty.

What happened is: the part of me that doesn't want anybody--including myself--telling me what to do got really fired up by my new ambitions.

The trick now is: to stay focused on my larger aim and outlast the rebellious part (I've been through this sort of thing a time or two before.) Will keep you posted.

7 comments:

Kerrie said...

Interesting way of looking at it- I guess I do quite the same. Kind of rebel against myself telling me to eat better, exercise, etc. Very interesting blog!
All the best!

Peggy said...

I came across a good description of the rebel-against-self phenomenon in a book: Unlock Your Creative Genius by Bernard Golden. I found it very helpful.

Have you found a way around this fight-with-self situation, Kerrie?

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amey said...

I like the idea of having a kind of consortium of parts, some of which don't agree with each other. So the part that likes the trashy magazine and the part that thinks it's a draining activity particularly if done too much don't see eye to eye. So who is that can kind of arbitrate between all these competing voices? A Buddhist teacher I like says its not "the self" exactly, but more an ability to be in the present, a non-beating up on oneself and others present. I was also just reading about this Quaker leader Elias Hicks, who caused a big schism, who said there was no Satan, since God had put all the passions in us, but that evil was a question of 'an excess of indulgence in propensities.' Of course it can all just be fancy-dancing with words and you can get even more and more tangled up, but my current efforts are along those lines, noticing where my energy truly is, which I guess would include even noticing if I'm in some kind of internal tug of war. Trying to slow it all down where it's less likely for damage to occur, and where one can walk one's walk with more intention and grace. I certainly resonate with what you describe, Peggy, as I hope is clear here, even if I list ever to the soap box. . . (one of my major sub-personalities!)

amey said...

Postscript from last night's posting: thinking this morning about trying to be more clear (ah, the clarity meter where is it?) -- that "intention and grace" might sound suspiciously like the thought police: "no trashy magazines for you, miss!" (Is it clear that I read trashy magazines myself, in which company even the New Yorker or New York Review of Books might find themselves, as well as People and TV Guide????(etc.) I don't claim to have found a way around fight with self, but I have found that coming back to the present, the breath and compassion, SLOWING DOWN, is a good overall practice for moving with and within the fight, not a magic bullet, but making things more workable. Anything specific is so arbitrary that it poses its own dangers to put too much weight on. Like in Woody Allen's movie Sleeper where everyone is shocked that people in the 20th century didn't realize what important health elixers sundaes and hamburgers and fries were. ..

amey said...

Post-post script: er, um, where is that thingamajig claritee-o-meter when I most need it? Home sick with both a cold and some kind of pulled muscle or something, pursuing this thread seems #1 priority. "Anything specific is so arbitrary" is what I said, somehow that seems pretty patently ridiculous -- I'm not saying that it doesn't matter what one chooses, it's all the same, I never care about strategy, or advice, my own or others. I care quite a lot, and what I'm adressing is my own penchant to keep trying to find just the right gizmo, when good strategy and advice seems to me more available when I do the get to the present, breathe, slow down thing. I am open to more real information at that point, both from within and without. It's a kind of peacemaker to the internal war.

Right now a heating pad seems a pretty good ticket in the strategy department, plus Celebrex and a magazine and canned soup and lots of liquids. And the tincture of time, if I can remember to trust in it. Other suggestions welcome.

Peggy said...

Hi Amey, lovely to hear from you. I think your dealing-with-cold strategy sounds just the right thing. Hope you're getting better as we speak. I must say, you write very well on even the mundane subject of having a cold.

Also, the idea of evil as an
"excess of indulgence in propensities" is wonderful. It takes the sting out. I heard a psychologist in practice with my husband describe it similarly: a weakness is an overuse of one of one's characteristic strengths.

soapbox personality