Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Concerning pedestals... 

The daily posts based on David Whyte’s book have dried up for the moment…

Partly that’s down to nothing more than being diverted by the practical business of living. Partly too I was juggling with pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that is myself, feeling that I could almost see the framework of a whole picture beginning to emerge; could join fragments of the puzzle together in islands of clarity but was unable quite to link all the pieces I held in my hand together as part of that whole. Wondering too whether I ought to think of them fitting into a static picture at all, or whether I ought instead accept a dynamic, ever-changing, kaleidoscopic view. But even then, the temptation is great to freeze the frame and study the pattern that the colours – my colours - form as they flash past.

But also, I seemed to move into a different relationship with DW’s writing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until yesterday evening. All I knew was that I felt more distant from whatever meaning was behind his words. It was only when talking about it with a friend that the penny dropped – up until that point, I’d felt validated by what he said – felt that, as I read, I was receiving an affirmation that my journey is a good one; the “right” one for me, my own unique journey, not following anyone else’s guide. Those earlier chapters had been an affirmation of what had gone before in my life, and had started to create an image of the landscape that lay ahead, but without prescribing a path through that landscape.

Yet the last couple of chapters seem to have taken on more of the character of a guidebook, complete with itinerary. In them, DW is talking about our relationship with the hours of the day; in effect, about time management. Even though what he says makes sense – the very concept of a relationship with time goes far beyond the usual process-based ideas of time management - it also verges on the directive, saying in effect “You should manage time like this”. So instead of feeling validated, I had the uncomfortable feeling of not doing things right.

Maybe that’s guilt – maybe he’s right and I’m wrong and I know it. Or maybe I’m just stubborn and dislike being told what to do. Or maybe the earlier chapters were easy because they didn’t demand I actually DO anything. Maybe I resent knowing that his words were written from a standpoint of some considerable success. After all, he can afford to stand there and dictate terms, even to himself. Or perhaps it’s none of the above - perhaps he was just having an off day.

Or perhaps I was.

Either way, it’s perhaps a Good Thing not to put anyone on too high a pedestal.

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