Saturday, April 26, 2008

Revisiting a train wreck

I was cleaning my condo today, sorting through stuff in boxes that had long been stored away from my last move, when I came across an old journal. Back in the year 2000, I had bought a handy little blank leather-bound journal. I had intended to start keeping track of my thoughts, but I mainly bought it because I liked the way it looked. It has an oversized flap that wraps over the cover when closed, along with a leather cord long enough to wrap around the book several times. The long leather cord is totally unnecessary - it's not like the contents of the book are going to be struggling to get out - but still, there was something about it which I liked.

After I bought it, the journal sat on a shelf unused for probably six months or so. Then in July of 2000 the journal finally got some use. I had recently met a woman I fell head over heals for and I started writing all sorts of crazy stuff. I say I wrote "crazy stuff" because reading it now that's how I can best describe it. I was totally out of balance - apparently every thought I had revolved around this new woman in my life. As a result, I did manage to write some decent love poetry - I suppose there's something to be said for having a muse - but still it definitely wasn't healthy. It's easy for me to say that now, but at the time, I was totally delusional and thought I was acting quite reasonably. I was completely convinced that there was true love and I had found it. And this made it all the harder for me to cope with when the relationship came to an abrupt crashing end. I suddenly had to live with the reality that what I most firmly believed in and had tried to focus my life around was actually imaginary.

About two years after the break up I wrote the following in the journal:

"I still look back fondly on my memories with her but realize our parting was for the best. I depended too much on her for my happiness, made her my reason for being, thought that true love existed and that there was some grand meaning to it all. I was delusional. Sure, I was happy with her, but having now spent two years alone, I realize I am a better person on my own; I'm more balanced and introspective. I am at peace with life and I am enjoying it all."

And this brings up the point of what I'm trying to get at now. From reading stuff I wrote several years ago, I can easily distinguish between what appears to be "balanced" thinking and what appears to be "delusional". But, it would be so much better if I could actually do that with thoughts in the present. What things am I doing now that seem to make perfect sense but years from now will make me cringe and say, "What the heck was I thinking?"


shiloh said...

Hmmm.....first of all I do believe there is such a thing as "true love", you just need to find the right person to experience it with. I know after two strikes it may be difficult to believe, but I've always felt you should give it one more try...You know, wait for the third strike before saying you're out. I know, easy for me to say.....but , as an older sister, I've been waiting for the opportunity to say that.. :P
Secondly, I think one can ALWAYS look at the past and say "What was I thinking!!!" I believe with age comes wisdom and maturity so no matter what your age or circumstance, you can always look back a few years and say "WOW, that's what I thought was important.Boy, was I wrong etc......." If you didn't, you wouldn'ty be learning and growing which is what we're supposed to be doing. I think if you look back a few years and feel you're just the same, that's unbalanced...

But, from my point of view, without a purpose, all our life is just
"vanities of vanities", unbalanced and delusional...

Linda said...

No such thing as true love!?! Next thing you'll be saying you don't believe in "happily ever after!"

Chris said to tell you that thoughts are never delusional. They are just mental reflections on your current feelings. Oftentimes, we say we "weren't thinking back then," because now, you have grown and developed in new ways that change the way you think. The thoughts of the past are never "delusional," they were just different than what you feel now. In 40 years, you could very well look back on these thoughts and come to the same conclusion. The cycle could continue forever, if you let it.

Can you tell he's been reading the zen book?