My meditations this past week have brought some long overlooked concepts into focus. Those of embracing pains, physical or otherwise, rather than resisting them. Rather than fighting them. Rather than denying their existence, making them work for me. To reframe their purpose as motivation. Not to focus on these pains. But to use them as part of moving forward. It was a simple change in context. But it helped me, in one moment, to realize sometimes that is all that is necessary to heal. The shift in perception. And it caused me to look at something else I’ve always questioned about myself.
In my life, I have been criticized by many for my need to discuss things. I need to talk about things. Through things. It is not a need of selfishness, but one of survival. The need is not for bringing complete peace, but for coming to a place of acceptance. And, at the very least, understanding. Of anything. You pick. And…I do tend to keep on. Not aggressively. But in searching for that bit. The little piece, or even a turn of phrase that crystallizes the feeling or event into something manageable. That reworks the framing in just the right way so I can allow myself a change of perception. To see it from another viewpoint if necessary to gain the needed acceptance. In keeping on to that point, and in hope of it, people have grown tired of me. When faced with the responsibility for the ‘Why’s’ of things. They tire. “I can’t make you feel any better.” “Let it go”. The door shuts, and the pain becomes part of my routine. When there are no more words. No more keys. No more clues, codes or indicators to help decipher or make sense of it. So it all fits. Please stop talking. Go. With a pretense that no problem exists. It can’t be fixed. End of demo.
My mother was the first person in my life, and nearly the only, to recognize in me, that I didn’t need a fix. Or help. Or even a change. I only wanted to know I’d been heard. I remember the complete relief I felt finally being given that permission in her understanding that one thing about me. Knowing what I didn’t even know myself. It was a soothing savior. Right along with being the one who did always listen. I suppose in explaining this need even now, I do feel tired for those on the other side of it. I feel tired for myself. But I also feel it is an untruth that we all haven’t once said or thought, “What can I do?” For ourselves. Just wanting that magic answer. That change in perspective. That crystallization. In order to go on.
And have we never once thought, “What can I do?” for someone else. How can I make this better for you. And if I can not…help me understand why I can not. Because there is absolutely a reason. Either for or against. There is a reason. That reason is what I look for. I suppose I can see how that would become tiresome. But being responsible for my part, and searching for peace where there is none is tiring as well. It would be far easier to say only, “I can’t do anything for you.” “Let it go”. To turn away and close the door. To just stop talking. Leaving questions on both sides.
A great deal of my teaching strategy, and the success of my students, falls on the hardline ideal of contextualized learning. Making what they’re learning relevant to them. How is what they read relateable in their world. Today. How can they frame concepts expressed centuries ago so that they make sense in their Now. How is the message comparable in today’s world. Compared to what. Who was it speaking to then. And how can they convey their own message now. To be heard years later. If I am unsuccessful in this, it will continue to mean nothing to them. In other words, we begin a dialog to ask, “how does this work for me? What should this mean to me?” Most importantly, “why?”
To search for that answer isn’t self serving. It is for relevance. To aide in learning. To aide in retention and understanding. For survival.
Young children begin learning to read largely using open dialog and contextual clues. What is going on in the picture. Who is taking action. What objects do we see. Can you relate to what’s happening here. What exactly is happening here. If they can see it, if they can see anything, it will lead them to being better equipped to decode those words. The ones that seem so foreign. The ones they need to make sense of to move forward. And to remember when they encounter them again. The struggle becomes less. Over time.
Like anything we are learning for the first time, any experience that is new to us, any hurt we’re feeling, it is natural to ask the necessary questions. It is normal to need to find those frames of reference. It is valid to wonder Why. No work of art or literary genius fell from the sky meaning a thing, before it could be contextualized. Somehow. To some small degree. What is it. What does it mean. Why. We can scream for someone to make it make sense for us. In any instance. It’s just there. It just is. I can’t help you. I can’t make it make sense for you…but, you’re feeling something. Let’s talk about it. Let’s look for those contextual clues. So the struggle will be less. Over time.
Today, I can understand, the talking. All these years. The need to spiral through things time and again. To revisit them. That need for dialog. The unintentional tiring of others. All the questions. It isn’t closure, because that never comes. It’s the need for any tiny shift in my perception so that I can understand what’s happening. To reframe it. For survival. To move forward. It’s a need for context when there is no where else to look.