A Momentary Lapse of Reason
Today I’m feeling much closer to human, so both me and my creative juices have started sputtering back to life. It’s hard for me to think straight when I’m sick, as evidenced by about 20 stupid little mistakes I’ve made in the last few days. The ones where you just smack yourself on the forehead and say “damn” mistakes. I’ve been on a roll, let me tell you. Stupid cold/flu thing.
But as I said, I am feeling better today. Much. I can speak again, which, for those of you that have ever spent more than a hot minute around me know is huge. Quiet is not my natural state of being. Plus I spend a fair amount of my time on the phone and, when my voice is shot, I get a lot of “what?” and “what did you say“? The last one especially, since I think one client thought I dropped a racial slur in to our conversation. Which, for the record, I did not. But, I can see how it might have sounded that way. Not a banner moment for me, let me tell you.
When I’m sick, my mind tends to run wild. My body, being in full shut down mode, doesn’t get to do anything to slow the process of my subconscious mind going absolutely apeshit. It also doesn’t help that I had a low grade fever cooking me coupled with a subconscious that loves to fuck with me the way I love to fuck with other people.
It’s a bad formula, let me tell you. My subconscious is not something to let run wild. Let me explain;
Years and years and years ago I started going to therapists. I got sent to several as a kid, in fact. It seemed like whenever things around me went awry, it was me that wound up in therapy. I’d continue to go in and out until I got older and said “Oh screw this”. The problem, I found, was that I wasn’t really getting anywhere. So much of the approach seemed to be things that worked better in bad docu-dramas and I would wind up just saying “why are you doing this?”
Then I met the Doc.
The Doc was someone I saw on and off for about 2 years. He seemed to get me right off the bat. I have no idea why. He didn’t coddle me, and in fact could be downright confrontational…and it worked. He was the first person that put what was happening in my mind in to terms that I could understand. We’re not talking about Lithium taking full on crazy here. God no. But there was certainly a great deal of angst, trust issues, and gereral self sabotage. The Doc made me realize why there were some things that would set me off that were seemingly innocuous, and why there were some really not cool or even OK things I could take more of than anyone else on Heaven and Earth without flinching.
IN essence, the Doc made it safe (1) for me to be angry about things that I hadn’t allowed myself to be angry about and (2) for me to start the process of letting people “in”. Those two things made me start to see myself in a whole different way.
It was like the greatest gift I’d ever received.
The way the Doc did this for me was that he helped me look at what was going on in my mind and actually see what it meant. He taught me how to understand my subconscious as though it was another person. Just like you know that when someone you are close to wants to, say, go running…you know that it means they are thinking of their love life? That’s how the Doc taught me how to work with my subconscious.
“What it’s saying to you has nothing to do with what it means. It’s symbollic because it can not be directly confrontational. Sex and love can be reruns of Happy Days. There’s no rhyme or reason to it other than what you have attached to it before you even remember doing so.”
I’ve learned that when something is stuck in my head, it’s there for a reason. But not whatever reason seems obvious. What the Doc taught me was how to approach figuring it out. How to look around and through some memory or feeling to see what it’s actually there for and what you’re supposed to do about it.
The first step, for me, is to recall the earliest memory of whatever it is I’m thinking of…how far back does it go? What were the circumstances? Who was there? What was the emotional climate? Then, what senses and feeling does it evoke? Does it make me feel hungry? Tactile? Does it bring up a scent? Am I angry? Scared? Does it make me laugh? And, lastly, what other times has this popped up? How was I feeling then and what was I doing? Did it feel different? Stronger? Did it come up in the same way?
When you run through this exercise, what becomes clear rather quickly is that the subconscious works in peripherals. It deals in the ether, not the tangible. Metaphor is too strong a word for what it’s doing to you. And the more depth that you give it to work with the better the change ups and curve balls it can throw you.
Which is why, of course, ignorance is truly bliss.
So this week, while I’ve been sick and exhausted, stressing about whether or not I’m going to be speaking to my family anytime soon, and working all the while right through it, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was hearing random cuts from the Pink Floyd album A Momentary Lapse of Reson in my head.
Today though, I woke up feeling better and I think I’m starting to understand why.