Friday, October 20, 2006

spiritual dry-rot

"THE GREAT ELEVENTH-CENTURY CHRISTIAN mystic, scholar, and physician Hildegaard of Bingen defined sin as spiritual dry-rot, aridity, and refusal to grow."

Sometimes I feel surrounded by people who can't - or more likely won't - change. People I've known for years who refuse to look around them, to do the hard work to make the necessary changes to lead the lives they want to lead, who complain incessantly about the same things they complained about to me years ago. I wonder if that's part of my feeling of depression and being mired in deep, dark mud. Sometimes, I, too, feel stuck in an arid land of shadows, with nothing out there for me except a bleak future of more stuckness, drinking too much, working when I don't feel like it, feeling ut of tune with the natural order of things and too tired to do anything about it.

But I look at myself in the mirror and I know that I HAVE changed, I HAVE done the work, and I continue to do it, because I believe that to not change and grow is to waste the breathe we're given by the universe, or God, or whatever you want to call it. Also I don't think I have a choice. I'm just naturally a person who thinks and reaches out, and learns, and grows. I'm not afraid of change, which maybe is unusual.

The people around me seem extremely afraid of change, and it's something I don't understand. I don't want to judge them, but sometimes I do. I often feel tired when I'm around them, and sometimes like they just don't "get" me. I wonder what to do about it. These are the people closest to me. What do I do - just walk away from them? Find other people to be close to? But it's not that easy for me; I have a hard time connecting with people, despite all my talking about reaching out and growing. I find myself staying at their level, not pushing them too hard because I don't want to hurt their feelings or make them angry. And I think it's keeping me from growing.

I'd really like to connect with a community that wants to explore these ideas. My process group does, to a point, but even most of them are resistant to change. We spend a lot of time pushing against each other trying to get an ego in edgewise - change comes in tiny increments, if it comes at all, and only after a fight.

Most people I've known who are really interested in exploring deeper issues tend to develop a self-righteous attitude about other people who aren't following their same path, and I'm trying really hard not to do this. I know life is incredibly difficult, and that everyone has their own path. I simply want to be around people who are willing to try harder, to push against the hard stuff, who can walk with me on the path of self-exploration, but who don't fall into self-righteousness and judgment along the way. It seems an impossible task, but maybe that's what my exploration is meant to be. Maybe my mission is to find those people and reach out to them.

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