Your head’s like mine, like all our heads; big enough to contain every god and devil there ever was. Big enough to hold the weight of oceans and the turning stars. Whole universes fit in there! But what do we choose to keep in this miraculous cabinet? Little broken things, sad trinkets that we play with over and over. The world turns our key and we play the same little tune again and again and we think that tune’s all we are.
On Stabbing Yourself in the Eye with a Pencil
This morning I woke up with a shock.
I had just stabbed myself in the eye with a pencil in an attempt to solve a problem.
The problem was a pain in my left eye.
A sharp feeling of having a shard of glass inside the eyeball.
And the pencil was, to my dreaming mind, the cure, the soothing balm which would by stabbing it in my eye, relieve the pain and thus solve the problem.
The pencil in my eyeball was a figment of my dream. The pain in the eye is a reality. Not one which I am going to solve by stabbing myself with a pencil.
My dreaming mind is not that different from my waking mind when it comes to solving problems, but it has enough of a grasp on logic to not be a complete moron. Although sometimes I wonder…
I wonder what the dream was expressing, other than the obvious – my eye is hurting and I’d like it to stop. I can guess what the physical source of the pain is. I am mentally exhausted which has rippled into my body, and when I am physically knackered it always affects my eyes.
But what else can I read into this dream, which perhaps may throw some insight onto other matters which may or may not be troubling me?
I have no idea what other dreams preceded this one, or what came before this scene in this dream. When you wake up suddenly, the dream world tends to vanish quickly and the waking world comes into focus.
Even though I could only focus on it with one eye. Which is sort of interesting…
Have you ever played that game where you look at something with one eye, while the other is closed, then switch eyes to see if the view your are beholding appears different through each eye separately?
If you have, did you find one eye was more clear in its vision than the other?
Have you ever tried to focus a pair of binoculars and found your eyes don’t agree on what being in focus is? Binoculars always give me a headache which I didn’t have before I used them.
I am fairly certain that there is a theory floating around in the collective consciousness which holds those things known as scientific facts that each eye connects to a hemisphere of the brain… and that the brain only has two hemispheres (as far as we know and since we use our brain to know things… hmmm).
Perhaps the division in my brain is not clear cut. I get confused easily and not just because I have dyslexia, but that does have some bearing, so I am not always certain which side is which until I really think about it, and even then when I decide… I wonder.
I wonder if the captains of the left and right hemispheres of my brain are still trying to decide what bits belong to their side, and maybe they’re fighting, and maybe they have a wonky boundary line… if they have one at all… which keeps being erased and redrawn.
And what happens to the bits of the body which fall in the no man’s land between sides? How do they divvy those bits up?
Whose side are you on mouth? – asks the captain of the left hemisphere team.
I picked the mouth, so it’s on my side! – the captain of the right hemisphere team answers for the mouth.
You can’t have the mouth, speech belongs to my side! – says the left.
Screw reason and logic, the mouth is a vessel for creative expression! – says the right.
I need the mouth to expound my opinion, state facts, I have important shit to say! – left argues rather illogically for the left hemisphere.
Yeah, yeah, whatever… you can have the nose, it sticks out, sometimes obscures vision, and thinks it’s more important than it really is, it looks like it is a bit out of joint, that’s the sort of thing I imagine goes with left hemisphere thinking! – right uses the mouth to smile.
Don’t you use the nose and the imaginary scents it smells to justify your completely ridiculous theories about the meaning of… all that gobbledygook which uses up so much of the oxygen in the brain that it dulls my side and means I have to work using an emergency generator – Left sounds a bit tetchy, maybe it’s tired.
Well, while those two continue their quest to disagree on everything and never the twain shall meet… how can I use this to figure out what stabbing my left eye in a dream meant?
And who was controlling the hand which stabbed the eye with the pencil?
I can’t recall which hand it was… perhaps it was the right side which might explain nothing really, but…
In true human style of creating complete chaos out of the unknown and pretending it is order… the left side of the body is controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain and the right side of the body is controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain.
Of course, how logical!
Well, that’s the way it is and that’s that! We have facts to back this up, facts which our brains have discovered using our brains to study our brains and our brains are very good at that sort of thing.
So my left eye is controlled by the right hemisphere of my brain, therefore stabbing it is probably a crime committed by the left hemisphere of my brain, perhaps to make sure the right brain can’t see what the left brain is up to… or was it a clever ploy by the right brain to frame the left brain and therefore…
Wait a minute… why would it blind itself? That’s illogical… Ah, but logic belongs to the left hemisphere and thus not to the right. The right hemisphere is an artist and artists do things like that!
Perhaps… it is one of those suicides designed to appear like a murder.
“He was dead, all right. He had been shot, poisoned, stabbed, and strangled.
Either somebody had really had it in for him or four people had killed him. Or else it was the cleverest suicide I’d ever heard of.” ― Richard S. Prather
But what advantage would the right brain get from that and what advantage would the left brain get from it? Is there a middle brain they are trying to impress? An overlord of the hemispheres which science hasn’t discovered through brain examination because the overlord of the scientists’ brains makes sure that its presence goes undetected?
Which side of my brain came up with that theory?
Or is it just a left versus right which is getting out of hand (and putting pencils in one or t’other hand to stab eyes), a fight which started long ago and continues because that’s the way it has always been and always will be until both sides stop and question the wisdom of it and maybe work together.
Case closed due to… lack of evidence or too much of it.
What are you Feeling?
What are feelings? What purpose do they serve?
A while ago I came across this chart which attempts to give the function of feelings. I find it interesting and insightful, a good place to start if you’re experiencing a feeling which is considered negative and would like a more balanced view of it, to know that it also has a positive side to it.
The attitude that certain feelings are only bad or negative has always bothered me.
It bothered me as a child because it made life confusing for me. Feelings became a source of endless paradoxes, and those paradoxes became a source of difficult feelings, anxiety, fear, frustration, then sadness, then anger, then guilt. One leading to another with no seeming outlet or solution.
Over and over again my feelings were labelled and boxed by others. Mostly the message which I received was that my feelings were all bad, and the feelings of others were good. Therefore I was not allowed to feel anything as it might bother someone else. However I was required to express certain feelings whether I had them or not because others require an emotional reaction, but it has to be one which is acceptable and expected.
The list of what I was not allowed to feel grew longer with each passing year.
Both of my parents had exaggerated feelings. If they were annoyed, frustrated or angry they expressed it as rage. If they were happy, in love, they expressed it as euphoria, exuberant joy. If they were embarrassed they became aggressive and accusatory. If they were curious it became an inquisition, an interrogation. If they were hurt they expressed it as a dramatic death scene. Disgust required an exorcism. Sadness felt like the end of the world, being sucked into a black hole.
Their feelings were invasive, they needed an audience and audience participation in their drama, but the participation which they demanded had to follow the script of their drama. Their emotional pantomime needed cheers, boos, and gasps. Their confessions expected worship and prostration and a thousand mea culpas.
This was constant, and yet inconsistent. Sometimes their rages needed the witness of the rage to cry, the tears of another acting as an extinguisher of the flames of fury, but at other times tears fueled the rage like accelerant, and what was needed was a vacuum, for the witness to be nothing, say nothing, do nothing, cease to exist but be there. Then again a vacuum could make the rage explode causing a pyroclastic flow to rumble down the sides of the volcano exterminating everything in its path.
And that confusion did not happen only with rages, their joy was just as demanding of a precise and correct controlled reaction. Joy could very quickly turn into rage if it was not treated appropriately and recognised as being fabulous.
I did not have much time for my own feelings as a child when my parents were around. I did have quite a lot of time on my own, but I did not spend that time exploring my feelings, I used it to relax. The peace was my refuge, the calm port in a stormy world. I enjoyed the release from feeling, from not having to feel anything for anyone else.
As I grew older and began to interact with my peers, with people outside of my social circle of origin, the issue of feelings became even more complex.
By then I had sorted out a coping mechanism of being so detached from my feelings that I did not think about them. Of course I felt them, knew they were there, was aware of them and their status, but they were like breathing. They came and went, inhaling, exhaling, moving through my body, in and out. They flowed. No feeling was final. I expressed them too as part of me, as I breathed.
It only was a problem when someone would ask me what I was feeling. That meant actually thinking about feeling, rather than just being aware of it. And not just thinking about it but articulating it, putting what was wordless into words, and then explaining it. Other people seem to need explanations, especially if your answer does not satisfy their question. It was odd, but they thought I was odd because they seemed so concerned about every fluctuation of feeling, as though it was a matter of national importance, life or death.
I remember becoming self-conscious about my feelings when I was around others…
…so much so that I began to suspect that I was cold. I even asked a friend if he thought I was cold. He was the sort of person who told you bluntly what he thought and that is why I asked him. So many people tell you what they think you want to hear or what they would want to hear if they asked the same question which you have asked them… that’s not helpful. He looked at me as though I was insane and replied that I was the warmest person he knew. I argued with him and he argued back, stating that the argument was like two people trying to decide on the shade of a colour when one of them was colour blind.
To me the most confusing aspect of feeling occurs in the land of Shoulds. When other people feel that you should feel something which you don’t, perhaps because they do and want you to feel as they feel because that supports how they feel or because they have bought into the rules of Shoulds about feelings.
Such as if someone insults you, you should feel offended. But what if I don’t feel anything about the insult because I didn’t take it personally, because I knew that the person expressing the insult was just expressing their own feeling and their feeling does not belong to me.
When someone asks me – What are you feeling or how are you feeling – I often answer with an – I don’t know or a nothing. It’s true and yet not true. I do know, and I’m not feeling nothing, it’s just that what I’m feeling is so subtle it is like breathing. It’s there but not there. It is important yet not important, when it is it vital it will make itself very known and very clear. It will express itself in 3D.
When someone does not accept that, when they demand that I feel, or when their feelings invade my personal space…
…I withdraw into privacy. I’m not shutting you out or shutting myself in, I’m just retreating to that place where I can relax and enjoy the release from feeling, yet still feel what I’m feeling. Breathe without paying attention to every breath as though it was my last.
Don’t listen to the words, words are words, feel the feeling and let it flow…