Friday, September 4, 2009

When Enjoyment is Nowhere on the List

"Yes Mother, but how will you benefit from all this?"
Recent observation by Libchik

Happy Full Corn Moon! I'm full of Migraine meds and about to get horizontal but I wanted to share some thoughts first. Once I hit the sheets I might not get back up until Sunday.

The other day, Libchik and I were making some plans. She and I worked and talked, planned and compromised, and reached a viable solution.

At the end of our discussion, she commented that everyone would be pleased with the solution we reached--except me! She said that I had not included myself and my own needs anywhere in the complex. She also scolded me for never including myself. It's nothing new.

I'm hearing this EVERYWHERE. People keep telling me that I should begin to consider myself before I consider others. It is foreign to my nature though. And that self-denial is my nature is borne out through my birth chart. I was born so "others oriented" that I have no internal mechanism for self-promotion even when I need it.

The ability to deny myself serves me well in my belief system. I was a Secular Discalced (meaning Barefoot) Carmelite for some years, and Discalced Carmelites are a penitential order. We thrive on penance. A Carmelite who doesn't might reconsider his or her vocation.

But a prime directive for us is to never take on penance of our own volition in the absence of approval by a spiritual director who understands the penitential vocation. I haven't had a dedicated spiritual director since my friend and formation director died. I was so crushed by her death that I voluntarily withdrew from Carmel.

All that to say: I should probably listen to all the people in the last 3 or 4 years who have told me that I should loosen up and get my mojo back. It was surreal to hear my adult daughter adjuring me to think of myself, when I know I've spent the last 42 years thinking of her and her sister, and my parents and ex-husband, and the job I retired from on disability pension, and the showbiz public, above all else.

I've said this several times over the last 8 or 9 months, that I must learn how to relax and let my hair down. And for sure it will be a learning event because I don't know what I like to do. I have no idea what I enjoy. Not a clue of what's fun to me.

Well, I know I feel gratified by a number of things but Libchik told me that gratification wasn't the point of pleasure. Experiencing enjoyment is the objective of pleasure. If I'm knocking myself out to solve problems and plan events for others, it's nonsensical to omit myself but I do it anyhow.

Baking that poppy seed cake and feeling the satisfaction after so many years of not having the capability to cook triggered a confusing cascade in me. Honestly, I believe I did feel pleasure. I was proud that I had come far enough to make the attempt to bake again. The cake turned out just fine and it was delicious. My mother enjoyed it. I was gratified that I could accomplish it but there was more to how I felt. I may have--enjoyed it?

What else does one do to figure out what's fun? I won't be climbing aboard the Great American Scream Machine roller coaster at Six Flags, that much is certain. But what other things are fun for a person with no vestibular function whose chronic illnesses are triggered by so many things she can't keep up with them all?

Growing mushrooms? Reading a sensual piece of fiction (or non-fiction for that matter)? Getting hot and sweaty with an agreeable guy? Where do I find an agreeable guy who is ok with my chronic crap?

I'm so trained to perform music that I never learned to play for fun. I was quite glad to find that I could still knock out songs on my new guitar but I can't say it was entertaining to me. My mother asked me to plan a time to play the piano for her sometime soon. It will certainly be gratifying to see her enjoy it but it won't be anyone's idea of fun but hers.

I'm going to cry now. I have to find pleasure but I don't know where to look. Actual me-oriented pleasure and not gratification from service. Maybe that's a start--have I been substituting gratification from service for self-indulgent pleasure?

I wonder if anyone has published a workbook to guide the servile back into the real world? How would I even look that up on Amazon?

Copyright 2008-2009 Parin Stormlaughter, Sparkling With Crystals, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. I do not grant reprint permission. Use the ShareThis link if you want to share this. And remember that if my work gets published anywhere else without proper citation, I'll pray for you. And perhaps take legal action. Rest assured, prayer is far more effective.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Publishing decisions are made by the Sparkling With Crystals staff.