Monday, August 21, 2006

Seeing Me

I cannot live my life inside my head, nor can I live it by pushing my mind outside to watch myself and others as we interact − that’s not living, nor is it learning. It is like trying to be inside my head and theirs, but it is not achieving that.

I used to do that. It is a marvelous and amazing skill that I have, or so I think. I can be in conversation and outside watching, listening, recording every word, every reaction, keeping track. Other people can do it too, I know that. We have talked about it.

I was a video camera for such interactions. Years later and I can still tell you what you were wearing, where you sat, what you said, what I said back. I learned to do it so early, I had no idea that it was a defense. I didn’t know that I was trying to protect myself by keeping track of every nuance of what was happening, in case I made some awful mistake − so that later, if I needed to I could replay the tape.

Once I thought that kind of paying attention was a good thing.

I was sure that I was recording what you saw and thought. That was such a silly assumption on my part. How could I possibly be? When I pulled myself out of my head and thought I was looking through your eyes, I was only seeing what I would see, if you looked at the world the way I supposed you might see.

Now I know that the marvelous and amazing skill teaches people not to trust me. On some level they sense I am not fully in the moment and wonder where I am and what I’m doing.

What was I doing? I was borrowing your eyes to fool myself into feeling secure. I was getting new information about the ways that I thought people judged me. Ironic, isn’t it? In my own fear of being judged, I was unconsciously judging others − by my way of not seeing them.

One day. I realized how much energy I was wasting, how much information I was inventing, how much I wasn’t learning by splitting myself up that way. I also came face to face with the idea that maybe this marvelous and amazing skill was the reason that people found me hard to read despite my willingness to reveal things, despite my feeling fully free with information, really despite my deep yearning to have them know me and me them.

When I stopped monitoring and recording every conversation, I lost my phenomenal memory of what you wore, where you sat, what you said and I said back.

But I found you.

And I found that I have to be fully present if I want you to see me.
−me strauss Letting me be

6 comments:

Dawn said...

My brain can't think of a response to this post, but my heart, or maybe it's my gut, wants to acknowledge the depth of insight that it came from.

ME Strauss said...

My heart hears what your heart is saying. Thank you.

Ruth said...

Wow, Liz, you are bringing out memories in me today :)

I was talking to an aged friend of mine one day, a very good old friend and we were going down memory lane.

So we decided to look at some photos, as many of our elderly love to do. Actually, I do too.

She spotted a lady in the photo and then totally shocked me with her next sentence.

"Ruth", she said "That lady in the picture was wearing that very same coat 25 years ago when we went to Eurupe together"

I can't even remember what someone wore when we went for lunch :)

Ruth said...

OK, Liz, I wont hog too much more of your blog tonight, it's just that I so much enjoy this type of writing.

I recommend my readers read you!

Ruth, relaxing with my music and reading your blog.

Ruth said...

OK, Liz, I wont hog too much more of your blog tonight, it's just that I so much enjoy this type of writing.

I recommend my readers read you!

Ruth, relaxing with my music and reading your blog.

ME Strauss said...

Ruth,
I love your comments. Sorry it took me so long to get back. I lost my DSL there and had to hook up my dial up. This story is so amazing.

But that's what this blog is about thinking about feelings and memories and finding a place away from cell phones and worries. You know I love having you here.

You are like a flower.