It is impossible not to be interested at the moment in how shaped we are by the usual routines of work and movements to and from the workplace and the home, as we give these routines up and establish new ways of living, most people making up new routines for themselves. Even the animals of the household adjust their routines, the hens including an afternoon session on the deck throughout April, when I sat there reading after lunch, the cat learning the new cues for feeding times. And then, talking to friends about their experiences, for different medical reasons, with steroids, I was struck by their different responses and about how shaped we are not only by our daily routines but by our ordinary levels of physical energy. One friend would almost prefer not to breathe easily than feel her personality changed on steroids, though to an observer she might seem simply more outgoing than usual and more energetic, another finds the regular withdrawal from steroids the hardest part of the treatment she is undergoing, suffering from the same loss of energy welcomed by the other. Perhaps the physical experience really is very different for each of them, but perhaps it is also a question of how they have shaped their personalities around their different characteristic energy levels, so that a rise in energy for one as much as a loss of energy for the other equally involves the dismantling of all their usual psychic defences. Defences is perhaps too judgemental a word for the construction of the self around how we live, which might involve more sitting or more movement which might in turn allow more or less reflection, more or less engagement with others, more or less reading and writing, drawing or dancing, which are not only the activities that add up to what a life is, around which we arrange the days we live in, but perhaps also determine our personality, the ways we manage moods, the times we think and the thoughts we avoid having, or have no need to have, the ways we find without even knowing it to become who we are.
We are mistaken to think of context as absolutely defined and defining by the external but it is almost trying to trick us, being so explicitly and visibly outside of us always (????) What we don't see (but can have thoughts and meta-thoughts about) is the way our environment elicits internal cues that interact with those already inside of us, and non-visible. So we carry around these two cloaks of invisibility that are just about one in the same in their wearing, or in the least they are always worn with one another, and we feel them there, on us, doing things to our body, maybe making us too hot if we wear them to bed or too itchy if they are put on right after a hot shower (or bath) on a freezing cold day... we know they are there but they are so quiet, their only loudness in our reflecting them when/after they do things to us and make things of us. Thinking such things is causing me to think of Pavlov's dog and how every day every person is making hundreds, perhaps thousands of new associations between the old and new, and new and new; between the activities that add up to what a life is and the components of the days that make up a life. I spent the most part of a walk with my sister last night lamenting my failed efforts to self-discover ~ my many many trials and many many many errors ~ and when I finally gave her a window to reply she said, "maybe you'll figure yourself out if you stop trying to figure yourself out so much" and I struggled to hear this because figuring myself out is a vocation, a calling if you will, but maybe she has a point. Maybe there is a point to not being able to point to everything that goes on and maybe it is the point of these unpointable things to point at us, instead.
I like the idea of the unpointable pointing at us, and the idea of figuring yourself out as a way not to figure yourself out, but a way of figuring, certainly, which is a lovely way to live a life, especially when it includes walks with a sister, and windows for her replies!
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