I remember the day when I finally “figured it out.” Not something in the outside world. No. Something in the inside world. Something in ME.
I had been fighting for over a decade. Ever since I woke up to the fact that I had been acting like a victim, I decided to instead act like a savior. And so that’s what I did. First, trying to save education (I got fired from an experimental college for being “too experimental”), then to save a war-wounded vet (in our year-long process, he almost took me to hell with him), and then finally, of course, to save the whole world. This was the big one. The one I had been waiting for my whole life. Peace! We must fight for peace! Peace on earth! To that end I became a loud, vociferous advocate for the Nuclear Freeze (this was back in the early 1980s), on the way to total abolition of nuclear weapons, and then further, to all weapons anywhere! Give peace a chance! I would declare, thunderously, to whoever would listen. Mostly, they didn’t. They backed up, stung by my colossal negativity, my overwhelming pride of purpose, my sense of myself as special, destined, to save the world.
Well, predictably, my mission failed. Indeed, all I did was stir up trouble, even more trouble, wherever I went, spewing out facts about those 50,000 nuclear weapons, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, aimed both east and west. “Kaboom! It’s over. In the blink of an eye!” I would spout, wide-eyed, terrified of what my own negativity kept igniting.
But then, as we say, “something happened.” One day I was sitting there, full of tension, in the household I had formed to ostensibly be the headquarters for my “peace” mission, a household in which its members incessantly argued, vied for dominance, inside a regional “peace” movement in which various factions incessantly argued, vied for dominance, whose way was the right way . . .
Yes, one day I sat there, full of tension, and realized. I am the problem. I am the problem! I AM A VIOLENT PEACE ACTIVIST! Thus, the sudden, blinding recognition: I am the one whom I need to be addressing. And in order to do that I must, drop everything, live alone for awhile, and “figure it out.”
That’s when I moved into a yurt, and stared, initially, at my wintertime fire, for four months straight, reviewing scenes of mental and emotional violence that stretched back to childhood..
“Figure it out” turned into a seven year process of working with my own “inner child” (although nobody but me called it then) whom I named “Orphan Annie,” emotionally abandoned by her terrified mom when her dad went off to the Philipines in World War II.
Right then, that very day, my mother’s fear froze her — to the point where her milk dried up and she ripped me from her breast to a cup.
Suddenly, at nine months old, I was left all alone.
Then, on August 6, 1945, I was sitting underfoot with my mom and her sisters and mother, listening to the radio, hearing about Hiroshima. The adults in the room were overjoyed! That meant Dad would come home again! The war was over!
But to this two and a half year old with the feverish imagination, that meant that eventually, indeed, within my lifetime, the Bomb would go off again, and this time obliterate the entire world.
So there you have it, my own origin story.
There’s more to this story. There always is more to any story. And those of you who follow this blog have probably heard this story before, but always within a slightly altered context, because context, ultimately, matters. Determines meaning. And context cannot be contained. It moves, changes, evolves, morphs, within the living psyche of the one who makes it all up.
Okay, so here goes. All the above is but prelude to this video. Hallelujah!