Saturday, January 15, 2011

"What can communicate tries"

The above words are from a poem by Cid Corman, don't remember which. And I don't know if I can communicate, say what I mean, or even mean what I say, from this living/dying corpse.

Alone and not alone. I remember hearing that F.H. Bradley described human experience as a "circle enclosed on the outside." There are things inside that I know, maybe, but I don't know how to articulate them. And there are things I don't know about you, unless you tell me, and I don't know what you're really thinking, and perhaps it's none of my business.

I generally have a positive outlook, some degree of curiosity, compassion for others and patience. The patience has not been easy to come by. (And some wonder if it is a virtue anyway.) For instance, I was getting frustrated with my daughter for taking so long to get ready to go out to dinner. Just put anything on, I thought, and then it dawned on me that she didn't want to just put "anything" on, that how she looks and her image is very important to her, so I waited. It was that brief moment of understanding, rare for me.

And there are parts of me that are dark to myself. I think of the Johari window, which I learned about in a management class some years ago, that image has always stuck with me. It's an effective model with four rooms: things I know and others know, things I don't know or see that others know about me, things I don't even know that are hidden with me and things that I know that no one else knows and I probably won't reveal. It's a humbling concept, especially with half the field unknown to me at least, the limits of my knowledge, perception and understanding. So everyone's walking around with Johari windows, or known unknowns or unknown knowns.

A good reason for connecting with others, to save me from my bullshit, have I considered this angle, have I forgotten about this that actually means something to me? How does my daughter feel right now? Did she sleep well, is she still asleep, is she cold or warm, anxious or relaxed, or did she stay up much of the night posting on Facebook?

So what do I know?

I'm lucky to be alive and in a warm place and have food and air and water and have support of family and friends, even though I take all this for granted and won't ask for help and have a hard time taking or acting on the help that's given me.

I know the sun will shine in my back door someday.

I know that life flows in and through me.

I know that whatever I've done and what I do today has consequences and I am responsible.

And I know that I know only a little and can say less and have to accept that 99.99999999.....% is out of my control and have to find the next thing that must be done, as Gary Snyder said after his brief detour into the maverick bar, "the real work, to/"What is to be done."

(Do kids still respect the college dean?)

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