At times like this, I feel the small curse of my introspective nature and its obstinate demands, how it wants to be allowed, wants my unhurried and undivided attention, how the moments of life insist on being metabolized and given expression. As usual, having failed to stop and tend to this unmitigated part of myself, it has stopped me.
—Sue Monk Kidd, Traveling with Pomegranates, p. 218
“And its obstinate demands.”
There’s a thought-strand in psychotherapy—I think it comes via Jung, but you should make sure for yourself—that a substantial part of a mentally healthy adult life lies in tackling integration. After one individuates—figures out how one is separate-from, and perhaps different—one then starts taking all those separated personality chunks and figuring out how to blend them.
Like dichroic glass, or millefiore.
Certainly integration is my underlying current these days; it’s a part of my GSSD project, a part of taking two classes and not merely one, a deepening part of writing daily. Integrating the obstinate demands of my internal life, as Kidd articulates—My Sweetie got a blast of how my internal life will take matters into its own ‘hands’ when not given spaciousness. But also integrating the obstinate demands of my ‘jaguar brain,’ and the demands of my somewhat social nature.
I’ve tried holing up, giving myself over to my mystic hermit tendencies. I end up driven out by myself, chattering faster than any tribe of monkeys, than any three-year-old with a mission to explain. I’ve worked in community, where colleagues walk in and out with what’s on their minds at the expense of what’s on mine… not that I get cranky about those tiny idea-flames perennially blown out by others’ winds-! I’ve ‘done school,’ and rejoiced in it—even as I consciously watched school-ness spread out and fill up what had been space for poems, and space for community.
Arriving in the middle of life contains the gift of time past, of experience past. An empiricist with my life and person, I have now accumulated data on the experiments I’ve been running, on the results achieved. I’m not foolish enough to think that, unlike in glasswork, I can ever apply the right heat to the best combination raw materials and <<ta-dahh!>> be finished.
But I am quietly hopeful that I can continue to generate pleasing fusions.
Not only to please myself—though that’s crucial for everyone’s safety—but to be able to share the beauty with others.