Wednesday, March 3, 2010

1001: Staying Put

This is my 1,001st post!

And here's my latest Infinity Café micromovie:
Unbroken Circle: Winter Ends (52 sec.)

"Will the Circle Be Unbroken," (1908) hymn written by Ada R. Habershon with music by Charles H. Gabriel. Cover by Randy Travis

I. Staying Put on Earth

There are two ways to be a pilgrim:
leave, and start walking along the round surface of the world;
or, stay, and watch the universe turn around you.

I'm mostly the second sort.
People here in the Northland often talk about moving someplace warmer, but I don't want to. One of the things I love most here is how I don't have to do anything or go anywhere:
If I sit in this room, due to the angle of this bit of Earth, I get a slow but amazing show as we spin through space.

Sometimes the show speeds up, like now, near spring equinox.
All of a sudden people are exclaiming, with shock and delight, as if we didn't believe it would happen (and maybe we didn't):
"Isn't it wonderful?! The days are getting sooo l o n g again!"
Yesterday it got up to 42°F (5.5°C), and we all lost our minds with joy.

II. Staying Put with Pain

Somewhat similarly, the ability to stay put, emotionally, is something that helps me deal with emotional pain, which comes and goes like the weather.
After years, I finally realized it hurts less if I don't struggle.

One evening, maybe ten years ago, I was walking home and a wave of awful loneliness hit me. I clicked through my options to avoid it--call someone up, go to a movie, have a drink, etc.--when it came to me that maybe I should just go home and sit with loneliness.
And you know? it was very comforting. At least now I wasn't lonely and something else (socially overloaded, poorer, drunk).

(This reminds me of the scene in the original The Producers:
Gene Wilder is having a panic attack, screaming, "I'm hysterical, I'm hysterical!"
and to calm him down, Zero Mostel throws water on him.
There's a pause, and then Wilder screams,
"I'm hysterical... and I'm WET!"
Oh, here it is--I think one of the funniest things on film:

I'm Hysterical!

The Producers


"Don't hit, it doesn't help: it only increases my sense of danger."
OK, so, recently I wrote about wanting to learn to live with physical pain, the way I've already learned to live with emotional pain. NOT to say I've mastered that. Ha! But I at least get the idea.
I was thinking physical pain might be a whole different thing,
but RR told me:

"On a neurological level [emotional] pain experienced lights up the same circuitry as pain of a physiological origin.
Pain is pain."
And she sent me a link to this BBC article:
"How Emotional Pain Can Really Hurt".

This is encouraging, because if the brain processes emotional and physical pain in the same place,
maybe, then, I can re-cycle the "stay with it" tactic I've already learned.

The thing is, pain is inevitable.
But how much we increase it by our reactions is negotiable. Not easy, maybe, to recalibrate the default setting that tells us to struggle, but not impossible.

And while we're sitting here, we may as well keep telling stories, like Scheherazade. It might even save our lives.

LEFT: Costume design (1910) for Rimsky-Korsakov's Ballet Russe "Scheherazade," by Leon Bakst. More here.


Anonymous said...

so...Zero is Nero and Wilder got milder. (I'm still in rhymin' mode!) Hey, Everything Grrl, You always get me thinkin'/feelin' something old new differently. Yeah, I remember learning"formally" somewhere/sometime that physical and emotional pain register similarly neurologically; though I had figured this out on a personal level years before. And had also come up with a set of "tricks" to help deal with different kinds of pain: Ripping band-aids off, dealing with lover-. mother- or job- loss, chronic physical stuff, shin splints, bloody blisters. Sleeping, being with friends, sobbing into a pillow or a bathtub, singing, dancing,cooking and/or remembering that old folktale/adage: IT COULD ALWAYS BE WORSE. As I'm getting older/maybe wiser, being in the moment with whatever pain seems to be getting easier and the default option, but the repertoire is still useful.
A childhood remedy I recall from about the age of two through nine years was to dance around our living room to an album my folks had of Rimsky Korsakoff and Katchaturian works, which, of course, included "Scheherezade".
Loved your micromovie and the Producers bit. Thank you for the wonder and laughter. Hey, the veriword is "chernali". "Chern" means "black" in Russian and Macedonian and probably a couple other languages, I think. Moving from deeper, longer nights to longer daylight hours. Yay!

bink said...

Feel that fresh air!

The Crow said...

Loved the symbolism in your mini-movie, and enjoyed a good laugh with Zero and Gene.

I am slowly learning to sit with my emotions instead of trying to suppress them. Can't do it every time, but I benefit from it each time I succeed.

Marz said...

This reminds me of the Star Trek episode (ISN'T THAT BIZARRE?!) Spectre of the Gun in which they escape death by simply believing that the bullets don't exist. (And I must it the leather chair or Shatner's flatulence at 3:40?)
But I suppose that's sort of the opposite of what you're getting at.

Oh yes, and I nearly cried myself with laughter at that clip. I never knew that man was such a hoot!

femminismo said...

Thanks for reminding uS wE always have the option of just staying with our feelings.verification word is "ersha" which "unjumbled" is "share." Thanks for sharing

Fresca said...

STEF: What a wonderful memory--dancing around to Scheherazade!
And I sure am holding on to my bag of tricks, too, for dealing with pain---distraction has its place!

BINK: I quickly closed the window again, but it was great to get a blast of outside air.

CROW: Hey--good point--I think there *is* a cumulative effect, each time we smile at our pain, like Zero Mostel (and I love how even though it's a fake smile, Wildern's hysteria accepts it).

MARGARET: I am shocked, shocked that something I write should remind you of Star Trek... How very odd.

Actually, I think that episode is very related to what I was trying to say: that some things are only "real" because our minds make them so;
they have no objective, outside reality.

A Buddhist Trekkie friend and I were going to look for Buddhist messages in ST, Spectre is one of them. (But then she got too busy.)

Shatner and hot air... Hm.

I don't know why Gene Wilder hasn't had a more brilliant career---he is amazing.

FMISMO: I love how you unjumbled the captcha!
It's a cosmic sign! : )