Graham

Reflections on Life (Part 2)

In Meaning of Life on April 2, 2009 at 7:32 pm

The spiritual side of my life seems to be missing. I have, once again, lost my centering.

Part of the problem is sleep deprivation. There is a direct correlation between sleep and …

  • Speech
  • Mood
  • Memory

Part of it is how easily I slip under other people’s influence, which causes me to move away from my baseline behavior.

Things I would like to have a reason to change:

  • No more swearing
  • No more complaining
  • No more getting entangled in other people’s hang-ups
  • Maintaining presence at all times
  • Focusing on, and deriving some satisfaction from, work
  • Finding balance in my life

But would it really matter?

My parents never believed I would amount to much. Now they are gone.  There is nothing more to prove, no one to prove it to. I feel less urgency, but not completely. I may not have to prove anything, but I am still in the habit.

Part of my malaise is the feeling that merit is not enough, that fairness isn’t a requirement. I don’t know what I think, but I don’t feel anything:  not emptiness; nothing negative, but no sense of what I really want, of what or who I really am.

I am aware, intellectually, that I am finite … that nothing I do will last or matter at some time in the future.  Making a difference is a myth in a cosmic sense. Nothing lasts: nothing good; nothing bad. Nothing at all.

Yet it seems to matter. There seems to be a connection between my finiteness, my parents, and my behavior. I don’t fully understand it, can’t quite make the connection.

Am I only the product of my habits? What are the necessary conditions for change? Will I ever be the man I wanted to be? Not what everyone else wants me to be, but what I want?

I don’t want to be an act. I want to be whatever I am, but I want what I am to have substance. Why am I letting it eat me up?

Symptoms include fear and fatigue (success or failure?). Seems to be success, but know this isn’t what my boss wants. He can’t want to do this, as he has used every delaying technique known to congressmen and lobbyers.

Sense that he is trying to screw it up, or to screw me over: not fear of success, nor conspiracy.  Might have been at one time, but this fear is that he will prevent it if he can. The fear is real, even if exaggerated.

Also have fears about my health. Could be that I am finally entering midlife crisis, but even if true, labeling it isn’t much help. I have had similar feelings at every level; I never expected to succeed as well as I have.

Mixture of feelings, but not a single identifiable feeling. Complex issues:  fear of lost opportunity; slight fear of failure; fear of loss of energy; fear of loss of control (aging, failing abilities, facing my own mortality).

Touch reduces fear, not sensual touch, but signaling that you are there. I must remember to breath. Searching for my source of strength. The “who am I?” in all of this. Suddenly I realize “I” am a construct:  the sum of all I do and all things done to me; embodied in flesh, particularly brain and nervous system cells.

The “I” that is not much more than the sum of the influence of my parts. It is the “me” in motion, the executing program instructions formed by the wiring and chemistry of my computer-like brain. This is why I must continue to deal with the past … in order to deal with the future.

The “demons” are hard-wired. With effort I can rewire the connections, but as I rewire myself I become something other than the “me” I know. I can’t change everything or I would be somebody else. In other words, I must accept the parts of me that trip me up. They are me, whether they bring me down or lift me up.

If I get passed over, I need to understand the often “accidental” nature of success. It isn’t necessarily anything I have done or have not done, and I don’t need to make up my mind in advance regarding what I will do next. I don’t need the additional stress, for one. Work isn’t, and shouldn’t be, my entire life. This isn’t the Holy Grail, it’s a pay grade.

Insight comes in many ways. It isn’t necessary to follow rigid methods, such as meditation or analysis. Stream of conscious writing seems to make me feel better even if I do not achieve resolution every time (no method produces resolution every time). Just because I have my demons does not mean I can’t lay down the burden from time-to-time.

Think there is some residual, some fallout. Once again, letting others define my personal value. I know that if I spend a lot of time in dysfunctional environments, I have a tendency to become dysfunctional myself. This is natural, and may point to the only good reason why I may have to move on.

While I should not move on bitter feelings, I should move away from a damaging environment. Most of recovery is seeing clearly. See “opportunity” for what it is. It doesn’t in anyway validate me. Fortunately I don’t need validation: I am one of the better managers, and most of the leadership knows this.

In the universe I occupy, it means only that someone in the food chain wants me to stick around and keep doing what I have been doing to make them look good. Different people may see different meanings, but that doesn’t change what it really is.

In truth, we control almost nothing. Life is mostly influenced by everything outside us and only a little by us, directly, by what is inside us. We try to game the system (a process which we have agreed to call competition), but the game is not owned by any one of us: different circumstances, different timing, different discoveries … different results.

If we are lucky, we learn to control ourselves.

Copyright © 2000, 2009 by Tad Laury Graham

Originally written March 2000, Updated April 2009 for Inclusion Here.

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