Waiting for Gravity


Before I went through psychosis and schizophrenia myself, there were some precursors to my experience. After all, there are other people out there who are going through it too, and the odds are that you might know some people who did.

When I worked as a beginning editor, one of my duties was to go through the slush pile, which is what we called the small mountain of submissions we received each week, and I had to pick out the serious contributions from people outside the company and write responses to everyone. As a task it wasn’t so much difficult as it was simply time consuming. Aside from the fact that most of the submissions we received were unsuitable for publication and that the best I could do was to turn these people down gently, what I remember most of all is the crazy letters we received. Somehow, inmates of various institutions kept getting hold of our address and, having decided that there was something they needed to communicate, they would send us long, cryptic messages whose point was almost never clear. Every few days we would receive one of these desperate missives, diatribes and manifestoes written front and back and top to bottom in handwriting so small and scratchy that it looked like the tracks of a beetle dipped in ink. Many were written on unnumbered pages torn from a single tablet, folded loose together or held by a straining clip, but others were cobbled together from odds and ends of paper torn from brown paper bags and envelopes and old grease-stained receipts; one was on the back — and only the back — of some hospital stationery.

I would pore over these heartbreaking submissions, trying to pick up whatever thread of sense I could — looking to break the code, as it were, of these people’s souls — but the images they presented were as fragmented and as varied as bits of shattered glass. Their only feature in common was an intent desire to make a point, which their length — as many as twenty or thirty handwritten pages — made all too clear.

You always wondered what number of these people engaged in suicide in the end.

I used to have a piece of art that my friend Ann gave me in college, a cigar-box lid with pieces of paper, mostly words cut from magazines, pasted all over it and with all the vibrant cigar-box illustrations showing through between them. The words are arranged in sentences — the kind of odd, indecipherable sentences which are characteristic of Surrealist poetry, like The wicked goose asking for water found it all locked in the garage subterranean or That’s when the innocent postman realized it was all a grotesque marriage. It’s strange, and it’s evocative, and it makes no sense at all, and I’ve taken it with me everywhere; even when I was moving cross-country and couldn’t take a whole lot of things with me, I’ve found a place in my bag to stow it away. Many years ago I poked a hole in one corner and started hanging it up by a string, and people would come along and pick it up and have no idea what to say, though they all, without knowing why, seemed to love it. The only sad fact that I have to report is that I don’t know where it is anymore; somehow, I lost it, somewhere along the way. Maybe someone liked it so much that they stole it. 

I say that Ann gave it to me, but the truth is that I simply received it, that I had not even met her yet; it just showed up in the college mail one day, unexpected, without explanation, and in this it was exactly like Ann herself, the kind of gesture she so often made. Ann was paranoid, “psychotic,” something — that was painfully clear. Like all those letters from psychiatric inmates that I had to read later on as an editor, and like her own works of art, there was something about Ann that actively resisted understanding. She wore nothing but black, and was painfully shy; in the dining commons she would carry her tray as far back into one corner as she could, and most often sat there unjoined by anyone. She did not have many friends. Besides me, as far as I knew, there were only two others.

One night we had a disagreement; it was late in the year and I didn’t see her again before the summer break. I spent the first half of that summer in Europe, looking around at another world, and the other half back in my hometown, feeling constrained and frustrated and trying to learn to write every day as I sat at an old-fashioned typewriter in a hot, humid cellar. That September I went back to school, but Ann never did. She tried to go back, and she even made it as far as the school itself, but once she had arrived, from what I heard, she had some sort of panic attack, and she took the train back to Chicago, and, once there, jumped off a building.

After Ann jumped, and for the next several years, I wondered what it was that made her do it, what made that choice so compelling. It is not an easy choice to kill oneself. And for a long time I thought, as so many people must think, that it must have been one thing that did it — that whatever it was had one clear cause that you might be able to understand. Since then, of course, I have come to see the mind rather differently — not as an open field in which one might choose whichever course you wish, but as a series of paths along which, once you have somehow been committed to it, you will be dragged all the way. I realize that in this I am disregarding the whole idea of free will, but it seems to me that the idea of free will has gone too unquestioned — that it exists not so much as a reality but as a kind of myth supporting our vanity, allowing us to feel a false assurance about that which we do not understand.

Of course one wishes for an easy answer, but the things that conspire to drive a person over the edge are too numerous and varied ever to point and say, it was this one; one can never really be so certain. No one can say it wasn’t that one, or that it wasn’t really all of those together, or that, when it came my own turn for “insanity,” I wasn’t standing halfway over the edge already, with one foot extended out over the edge of the cliff like some kind of old-fashioned cartoon character, resting improbably on the air, waiting for gravity to kick in and for me to fall.

I am still astonished to discover that I have ended up being more like Ann than I ever thought was possible.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


Mad in America has made some changes to the commenting process. You no longer need to login or create an account on our site to comment. The only information needed is your name, email and comment text. Comments made with an account prior to this change will remain visible on the site.

Previous articleThe Psychoanalytic Struggle Against the DSM
Next articleProlonged Exposure Reduces Dropout Rates and Symptoms for Individuals with Complex Trauma
Eric Coates
Eric Coates is a voicehearer who has resisted psychiatry, psychiatric drugs, and psychiatric definitions of what the psychiatrically afflicted and psychotically afflicted experience in many dimensions, which he explores through personal, mostly nonfiction stories and blog posts informed by his experiences both in and out of psychiatric institutions, including confinement, forced treatment and drugging, and personal and psychological supervision. He rejects the broad and indiscriminate use of state and local power over the psychiatrically diagnosed and voicehearing populations.


  1. I’m a big one for free will. If Ann jumped, she didn’t have to do so. It could have been a spur of the moment thing. Still, deciding not to jump could have been spur of the moment, too. I don’t see how she could have jumped without choosing to do so.

    I had my own issues with the impulse towards self-destruction. It’s like, in our society, you either make yourself wealthy and known, or you’re a failure. Pushing other people to pick up the pieces after any failure at suicide wasn’t really working either. I decided I really didn’t want to die. That did it, for me anyway.

    Had I made the decision to kill myself, well, there’s no turning back from that kind of thing is there? Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, I decided to trudge on with it. Limping if need be. I figure it’s the same with most everybody else.

    Frederich Nietzche published The Gay Science, also translated as The Joyful Wisdom, in 1887. He would have opposed the law of Gravity with levity and light, and he did so for a short while. Something to think about.

    Report comment

    • Eric, Thank you for this freaky and haunting story. I was confused all the way through. Editor of what? I finally deduced that this was some kind of college publication. On the whole I would have appreciated a little more clarity throughout the piece. Of course I realize you have to preserve Ann’s anonymity but you can do that without being vague or ambiguous.

      Report comment

          • How about the death of death – or isn’t that allowed?
            Put differently – the redeeming of what fear makes of transitions that are most fundamental.In a world of death (at various levels as well as Exit), the drive of survive is the wish to escape it and put it out anywhere else but here now.

            I say that because I observed that in myself in wanting to come back into life from a ‘place’ or Self-recognition that I was unable to fully accept and to get ‘my seeming lie of a life’ back, invoked denial and a crash landing in terror that on becoming somewhat ‘focused back in the realm of the body – and its gravity – wanted to put ALL OF IT as a sense of evil – OUT THERE on anyone else and anything else but me,

            But I had opened into something true even though it then terrified me and I did not want or in fact was not able to project it away in that way – and so I have accepted a life of reintegrating my ‘born existence’ with what the world is mostly used to cover over and hide.

            If this is inappropriate to write. Say so. I see that we all have our own unique paths and themes in life and perhaps many who suffer instability and dissonance in the world want to get their lid back on and be as once was – or at least know be in their own timing and readiness for moving through fearful territory. I also needed that and for some time after – ‘reality’ would disappear to a directness of knowing that unmanned me regardless anything I tried or did.
            If I had sought outer help my belief was that no one would understand, and they would actively misunderstand, and they would try to force me back int a lie of a life or undermine my initial steps in accepting that that was where I was at and learning to live this step now with more awareness and of course willingness for healing in a sense I could accept. I felt that fear IS the way I am uncovered as a call for healing rather than fear being the shutting down of a capacity to stay with it – with whatever is here.
            That was now a long while back but the core pattern is the same, but I have in a sense grown the capacity to be with what would have once freaked me out or triggered extreme reactions or withdrawals.

            I used to yoga a long way back for a few years and I kept the idea of feeling and breathing into the tension of just a bit past the limit before relaxing back rather than forcing past as if getting the posture or asana was the ‘should’. In my early years with fear I was often down on myself for recoiling, retreating or being unable to abide ‘expanded awareness’ – but of course all that is needed is to challenge the ‘line’ by stepping a little over and then moving back to a more balanced sense of capacity to cope. How much ‘failure’ is the result of trying to override parts of ourself that are not ready which of course effectively ‘sabotage’ our sense of succeeding under some sense of ‘should’, ought to that pushes instead of feels its way.

            I feel for living from a desire to live rather than from a fear of dying. But living is not what I thought and of course it is challenging to what I think. So I choose feeling my way rather than thinking life has to fit my way and in that sense life is more of art than a science. If thinking can follow the heart rather than try to lead it or rationalize and dissociate AS IF it is following the heart – then of course the science of principle and logic serves the uncovering of true as reflections of a truly felt and shared sense of being – and when I talk in universal terms – it extends exactly to the specifics of any moment of appreciation, gratitude or recognition of a genuine exchange – because true help flows both ways albeit in different forms.

            Report comment

          • If you are making some kind of allusion to religion, I’m a disbeliever, an atheist.

            If there’s any living death to come back from, as far as I’m concerned, it’s the living death of coercive and unwanted maltreatment, or, put differently, psychiatric oppression.

            A big questions is who determines the difference between “true help” and “false help”, you or somebody, maybe somebodies, else. The other question concerns whether this “help”, tagged true or false, is in actual fact constraining (debilitating), or liberating.

            I see no reason to get lost on one of the many turns of the road found in a most convoluted argument.

            Usually, when it comes to truth, feeling, the heart is much more apt to be fooled and deceived when trying to ascertain such than is the head, or the methods employed by that science you speak of so disparagingly. Of course, you can always consult your tarot deck or your astrologer to see what they say in any case.

            Report comment

    • “Of course one wishes for an easy answer, but the things that conspire to “keep” a person “from going” over the edge are too numerous and varied ever to point and say, it was this one” or that one. Things like love of life, fear of falling to injury, death, and finality. Erica Jong wrote a book a few too many years back called Fear of Flying. I don’t think flying is something you have to fear so much, it’s the crashing you have to worry about. There have also been reports of people who thought they could do the pixie dust thing after ingesting LSD only to rediscover their imminent mortality. Gravity is all around us, no reason to wait on it, however, it does require a good deal of respect. You lose that respect at your own peril, dead meat being no novelty in the sort of a universe where certain general laws of physics apply, one of those general laws being the law of gravity.

      Report comment

  2. Wow, Eric. I don’t usually find myself connecting to the things you write, but this was quite beautiful! Thank you. Ann’s art piece reminds me of those little fridge magnets that you can arrange into poetry. However it departed from you, I hope it has found a home with someone to appreciate it.

    Report comment

  3. Thank you Eric for noticing that free will is a theological term. I live in hard to bear reality in which there is no place for false ideologies poor imagination and lies of rationalists, theologians, scientists ABOUT PSYCHE, THE REAL PSYCHE, IT IS STH MYTHICAL iT IS NOT A BRAIN DAMAGE.

    This hard to bear truth is called psyche, death is the center of the psyche, the more psychological you are, the more ill they will made you, because death is sth strictly forbidden in egoic shallow culture. Because fantasies of your psyche (not your will) are not legal anymore, you will not be legal human being too. I have so much hate for “normal” fundamentalists, they are so extremely arrogant towards psyche. Och god,apollonians butchers, your shallow ego and brain theories of mental illness, just makes mi sick. Your are the real disease, not the human psyche.

    Please, read Hillman Suicide and the soul or Revisioning psychology. Live is harder after reading that there is no cure, and that the only cure is a cruel truth about human psyche. I am so tired of dealing with normal or adults that thinks they can control death or can cure psyche, yes, it is possible to some degree, but only on psyche own terms and this is completely impossible if the psyche reality is rejected or ridiculed, from the beginnig.

    The problem with egoic people is that the can t relate to imagination of psychological man. The treat it as his fault, sin, NOT THE TRUTH ABOUT PSYCHOLOGICAL REALITY. Apollonians are not empaths, they reject everything which is beyond their own simple archetype.
    Apollonian ego =mental health, the rest of the psyche is a danger for them.
    WE MUST LEARN TO SEE THE PSYCHE BACKGROUND, completely rejected by authoritarians and scientists ===nazi psychopats.

    Report comment

  4. Well, if you knew about altered perceptions inducing certain kinds of behaviors, you might not have been so confused by Ann’s actions, but then you’d likely lose some of the feelings you had toward her. Rest in peace, Ann.

    Report comment

  5. This is amazing, thanks for posting it. I appreciated the paths in a field analogy. I like to think though that we can change paths – if not by free will, then maybe by something new in our lives giving us enough strength to push through the tall grass and find a different path.

    Report comment

    • Yeah, I kinda don’t think one rut is as good as another. There are, after all, distinctions to be made. Freedom is opposed to slavery of one kind or another., and I’d rather be on the side of freedom than on the side of slavery.

      Ever read Huxley’s Brave New World? It’s an interesting statement made in the end with it’s main protagonist hung in a lighthouse.

      Report comment

  6. First, Eric, it’s not at all clear where, and for what publication, you were an editor. That makes it harder for me to understand what you’re saying about whatever vague “submissions” you worked with, and who might have written them, and why…. But the TRUTH, – rarely acknowledged by either psychiatrists or the Mental Illness Industrial Complex, is that BEING HEARD is perhaps the largest unmet need for us all. All of those submissions were from people who wanted to be heard, probably because the system wasn’t listening to them.
    And, much of what gets mis-diagnosed as so-called “mental illness”, is usually illogical and irrational. Being illogical and irrational shouldn’t be the problem we too often see it as. But. logically, the irrational and illogical can’t be understood logically and rationally. The illogical and irrational can ONLY be understood illogically and irrationally. But we are not taught to think illogically and irrationally. Therefore, we are taught to FEAR that which is illogical and irrational. Children have a natural ability to think illogically and irrationally, but we beat it out of them as they grow older. We lose that ability to be comfortable with the illogical and irrational.
    You describe that cigar box lid with the “refrigerator magnet” POETRY, and Ann, as having become joined in your mind. You’re trying to understand. But the cigar box lid seems to have disappeared, and so too did Ann
    “disappear”. Maybe, there really isn’t ANY “meaning”, – in the logical. rational sense. Maybe the meaning is only in understanding illogically and irrationally. That’s the realm of FEELINGS, which are, again, largely illogical and irrational.
    And, we are FREE to imagine whatever MEANING makes us most comfortable.

    Report comment

  7. Very well written! Reminds me of this description by an ecological psychologist of Kurt Lewin’s thinking on causality:
    “It was Lewin’s conviction that actions are rarely understandable as being triggered by a single environmental precipitant or personal disposition; instead, converging influences from multiple sources are the rule. Moreover, an action is not caused by a stimulus; rather, an actor is situated in a field of multiple environmental and personal influences, and the observed pattern or direction of action is an outcome of their mutual convergence.” (Harry Heft, 2001, p. 205)

    Report comment

  8. What if will equals true desire and a false sense of self operates as a distortion matrix for natural spiritual impulse – (such as the extension of recognition of the qualities of being to all that is). The beliefs and definitions that we inherit, by induction or acquisition are mostly preverbal or prior to a sense of an integrated responsibility for consciousness (which is conscious of what is being accepted and embodied by acting from it as true of you).

    No one can live another’s life… and yet perhaps in a way we often do take on who we are not at expense of who we are in many ways and for various reasons. My recent experience of family constellation work illuminates this.
    Choice at the level of the body or behaviour is framed and determined by the self-definition and belief in the mind. Choice at the level is also determined by our active definitional belief of what our mind is. Many confuse mind and body to then assign motives and intention to the behavioural level. This can be a shorthand such as ‘I know it in my gut’. Or it can be a powerlessness as in ‘my gut feeling made me do it’.
    Reclaiming freedom by living it – is in my view more of an active willingness to be present and be with – whatever is happening rather than freedom to control it – which in the sense I am using it – the fear of being out of control seeking power over the symptoms without awareness of true cause.
    Freedom to be is not adding or taking anything from the moment at hand – for regardless what drama plays out – existence is. While thinking about being is … more thinking, the qualities of being are natural to its acceptance. Investment in thinking resist silence but the resting of thinking allows a movement of being to rise as awareness of an unconflicted moment. perhaps the mind kicks in – but that isn’t the point. The point is uncovering qualities of being that were believed lost, forfeit or denied or taken from us.
    I cannot live anyone else’s life, but I can honour it and find honour in my own.
    My daughter hung herself at 16 without any presentiments or obvious signs (of course hindsight is something else) and without any note or indications from anyone who knew her.
    I felt an extreme intensity of rage through it – that I allowed myself to simply receive because I love her anyway. And because my love for her was so deeply part of me I didn’t think I could deny it and want to live. In any case I didn’t know how to live in what this left me – but I opened to the feelings that cut right through me but did not persist or join with the feelings and thoughts that were all about me – though of course they screamed through the days and months after – but I didn’t choose to accept them
    Chain smoking was my inhibiting drug of choice along with the rituals of rolling it. I simply do not choose pharma. But I said choice to indicate that I felt so skinlessly raw and sensitive that I felt I had to have some sort of ‘backing off’ or insulation. I did not seek counselling. I engaged in feeling all that I felt while I felt it and left no stone unturned in a seeking that wore itself out in well worn grooves while moments of simply being let in something in the light and presence of the natural world that communed me in ways that centred and restored a capacity to live the moment anew in embrace that honours the gift and allows what is not known to be as it is.
    The timeline is different than the timeless. True Cause I hold to be the timeless – but the unfolding of life to itself in this particular man is the shifts that occur when I release who I thought I was or what I thought I wanted or imagined or expected my life to be.
    I recognized that ‘my daughter’ is a possessive but the daughter to me is not. ‘My life’ is also likewise a possessive assumption, but son of my true father and brother to you in being is not.
    Uncovering the life we have come to live may be via the experiencing and releasing of who we are NOT until the only thing left is our self with nothing added or taken away.
    Pain can take different forms. The desire to escape intolerable pain is understandable. Suicide is a gift of pain to those who remain. Different people have different strategies. What is the desire to live? Is it the fear of pain loss and death or the desire to truly be and share life? Are we defined by a sense of lack seeking filling or a sense of self-fulness overflowing?
    What we give attention to is ultimately our own choice. But free of coercion we naturally alight in what we appreciate or enjoy. Leaning away from unwanted habit is leaning toward conscious choice – even if we cannot see any choices in the habitual thinking and behaviour. I like the sense of a little willingness rather than any kind of coercive setting up to fail.

    Report comment

    • Wow, binra. That is profound.

      First, let me say I’m so sorry your daughter hung herself. As a parent, my heart goes out to you.

      I usually find myself reading only part of what you post because I get lost in the verbal imagery you use, or the way you use language. Not sure, exactly, I just find it hard to follow and give up. This one I persevered through, and am so glad I did. Those last two paragraphs are chock-full of very deep, and liberating, truth. Thank You!

      Report comment

      • You are welcome LavenderSage.
        Ellie left back in 1995 – so this is not recent – but I rarely refer to it because it is intimate and probably ununderstandable to anyone who hasn’t a similar breaking of their self and world. It is part of who I am. Its effects in my family will likely pass down the generations – and the event may itself be part of family ‘stuff’ that goes back to generations before. But I am here now.

        Perhaps choosing to live the life that did not deny itself to fit a loveless world has put me out in the wilderness inasmuch as I live my own connection without the support of social networks, or social consensus reality. And part of that is a very conscious sense of words and meanings that simply don’t run in the fast food lane or support an identity in grievance so much as look within.
        I also feel it right that people alight in what resonates withe where they are now and don’t struggle. I am simply being me and meeting whatever meets me.

        Your recognition is truly your own and my serving a role for your in this way is a blessing shared. Thankyou for holding me in your heart. After Ellie’s death the wave of love that came in was deep and tangible – even while there were also those who blanked or avoided us or used ‘sympathy’ as an attempt to get me to hold them so that they could feel better. The best response was a naked honesty – such as “I don’t know what to say”. Being with. But the real work came after the world moved on. I was not ready to move with it for some time. I can only move in what moves me. But that is a blessing though if I fought against it, I would make a negative sense of self from it.
        So I wonder if the struggle to be who we are not really the movement of, is what generates the self-negative of a sense of inadequacy or failure to cope that is actually a sign of health. What isn’t obvious here is that being moved is my term for a movement of real communication. The inhibition of love leads to shallow or hollow relationships. And love is not giving to get, or manipulative so much as naked truth – just being with and maybe not knowing what to say – and that’s ok.

        Report comment

        • Oh, binra,
          Folks going blank, avoiding, yes. And those that use “sympathy” to extract from you, get you to take care of their needs when you most need to be able to turn within and just Be. I so get that!
          Something I don’t often revisit: When I was a teenager, my little sister (pre-school age) was murdered. I had moved out a few months before and was living with relatives several states away when the arson happened. I would have been sharing a room with her had I still been living with my mother, so my feelings of grief were very much compounded by survivor guilt, as I’m sure you can well imagine.
          The day after, I decided to go to school, because I needed to be surrounded by my friends– they were my support system. Before lunchtime even hit, I get called to the office. There was a call from my mother, begging me to fly out with my aunt and grandma to be with her at the funeral. I was so torn! I knew what I needed for me, and it was to NOT go, to NOT take part in the whole funeral thing, to NOT meet anyone’s expectations around how to deal with her death. But she sobbed, and she begged, and I relented.
          The funeral was in the desert, on a gorgeous clear sky-blue day. I was wearing a deep purple dress and heeled shoes. The little casket sat in front of what seemed like a hundred rows of folding chairs, all of them occupied except for 2 in the front row- one mine, one my mother’s- my brother sitting in his seat trying to be the “man of the family” at 12 years old. And all the mourners, many I recognized and so many I didn’t. My sister was a little ray of sunshine that touched everyone she met, had a smile and wit that could melt the most stubborn, cantankerous heart. It was a small town, and it felt like half of them were there.
          I turned away, back through the parking lot, walking slowly out towards the desert, the vast sky and joshua trees, the stillness I needed to be engulfed in. But one of my mother’s friends caught up to me, asking those “concern” questions, pointing back to the canopy and my mother as her knees buckled under the weight of her grief and she collapsed onto the astro-turfed “floor” into a wailing, keening puddle. And though a part of me continued on into the desert, my body turned and I went to her. Someone had poured her into her chair, and I spent the service kneeling in front of her. literally holding her together through it. I did not resent that sacrifice, did not resent my mother for needing me, though it was waaay too much on me. But I resented the hell out of those mourners who foisted themselves on me afterwards, in lieu of my mother, who was in no shape to receive their “sympathies.”

          Report comment

          • Thankyou LavenderSage,
            The heart knows and the mind so often gets in the way. But when the heart knows it is heard or met – there is love.

            True need is a call of love to love.
            I also see that life-pain can call out for help and be answered in the call to get away from demands and needy (rather than need calling) people – and of course our triggered reactions to all that.

            You were there for your mother as I was for mine when my dad died. It is a Soul thing bigger than the person. So regardless of any discomforts there is a bond consciously lived and held true.

            Neediness don’t have much awareness of what it does or it would ‘see and do differently’ – but it is an attempt to use other people to get something for themselves – acting out as if a sympathy or a kindness of concern. Back when I was grieving my daughter it had the potential to trigger rage. And no I didn’t want to actually be violent – but in one way of another say “NO!” forcefully.
            A group of friends wanted to ‘heal’ me, but I felt unseen and unmet and wanted none of it – not least because I felt objectified, blanked and serving as a proxy for their own unhealed issues that were not owned and brought into relationship, but dumped on the ‘broken one’ to be magically or tragically ‘treated’. (Of course I recognize in others what I have owned in myself so I don’t invoke blame here – so much as an observation of social behaviours that mask over, withhold and impose while wishing to present as caring, concerned and ‘doing something’ rather than being what is.
            It’s always about fears. When I can own and in a sense be undone of fear as dictating or framing my experience, I can be with others as a quality of receptive attention – being with. Otherwise of course my own ‘needinesses’ entangle me in personal or social struggle that may seem normal but is always an atmospheric or psychic state of what is NOT being said – amidst a pattern of tacit mutually reinforcing agreement not to ‘go there’. Hidden conflicts ‘smoothed over’ or walled against and denied, then breaking out and setting grievance, distrust, separation.

            Stillness and the Call to extend and share in the qualities of being must be one thing – like breathing. Willingness to live from an unconflicted gift of being is a ‘now ing’ through which something larger than the person moves through us and illuminates an already connection – rather than attempt to ‘get it’ from a sense of lack or broken ness. Going into the skid for long enough to feel the traction of wheels on the road is a connect in real time from a sense of no control. But I feel a true control restores a flowing balance within wholeness and not the result of an attempt to put Humpty together again. So much of what passes as order, is lidded and managed chaos – as if the interventions holds the balance. For a while that may be so – but only so as to reconnect from a fresh perspective.

            Report comment

        • Binra,
          I don’t know if this reply is welcome, but I want to say that I’m grateful to have a sense of you, as much as that is possible through words on a screen.

          From one human to another, probably across the world, I’m so sorry your heart was broken.

          Report comment

          • Out. You are welcome.
            For me, the broken heart (a sense of a broken life) had to be brought to the light because I was unwilling to deny or cut off from the love that seemed to have been killed. So I felt the cut – and I felt the cut without then using it to become broken in Spirit – in self pity, bitterness or self-hate – all of which would of course be triggered in various ways.
            Without connection to Spirit – I have no life. This was not me thinking about it but the certainty that my life was on the line and I had to give everything to keeping that connection open for myself first. Or I would have nothing to be for anyone else.
            The unthinkable obliterated my capacity to think. My sense of foundation in the world was undone beneath me and so was any sense of a future – regardless any other relationships. So living from a different foundation ‘grew in me’ through a core willingness to be with the moment at hand, one day at a time. To many I had become damaged goods or marked by an evil fate – but my own sense is of a willingness to more deeply open and embrace the human experience that underlies the surface world of a surface life.
            There is a song called Crazy Man Michael by Fairport Convention that ends with the line – “For his true love has flown, into every flower grown – and he must be keeper of the garden’.
            There is a wholeness in stillness that cannot be personally claimed and which I cannot describe or define.
            A moment of a recognition ‘across distance’ or through strange apparatus 😉 is a witness to a still point in a turning world.
            Thanks for the touch.

            Report comment

    • Binra

      This is as beautifully written as what Eric shared. Words are not enough but I am sorry about your daughter. Thank you for sharing this.

      This is one of the things that I truly appreciate about MIA. I get to receive so many wonderful, powerful, and profound ideas through reading the comments. Often peoples’ comments are even better than the original piece of writing that inspired them. Thank you again for sharing this.

      Report comment

  9. I am listening as I reply. Thankyou out. I appreciate singers who embody feeling without inhibition – that is to say nakedly. The fantasy of ‘my life’ isn’t revealed to me until it is broken – and even then it can and often does become ‘my nightmare of a life’ – as a something gone wrong, wronged and or inadequate or lacking & etc. Rather than shifting out of that to just being.
    I started writing more but paused because you didn’t ask it.
    This writing reminded me of a line in Broken Telephone by the Be Good tanya’s”
    “There’s nothing wrong with you”
    When we accept what we feel it moves and shifts. But if I use a feeling to get something – it gets locked into who I make myself. Is that true? I feel so.

    Report comment

  10. Eric

    I really like what you’ve written here. I felt connected to it the minute I began reading and I could picture everything that you talked about in my head. The older I get the more I believe that I’ve got more questions than I do answers and this is kind of what your writing felt like. But I’ve come to believe that it’s just fine to be in this quandary filled with more questions. I am less certain about everything the older I get. Thanks for sharing this. Perhaps we are all a lot more like Ann than we ever realize.

    Report comment

    • Yes, it was hard. It was more than 25 years ago, however, so the sting of it all is gone.

      Ann was very isolated. You never saw her on campus, or so seldom that I can’t remember anything more than seeing her outside the dining hall once. All she did was smile her strange smile, give me a tiny little wave that no one else would be able to see, and keep walking. It’s just who she was. She had more art in her room than I have ever seen in anyone’s house.

      She was a rare individual.

      Report comment