Grounds for Sculpture

Grounds for Sculpture

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Wide Open

Some of the most impactful and destructive losses are the result of our communication.  Not necessarily “bad” communication, but how the communication gets interpreted and then choices which are made as a result.

So often, something is received not in the way it was intended and then you lose someone you love as a result because that person refuses to come back to the table, or  far worse, to your life.  Then you have two or more people walking side by side through life never speaking again over something small or something monumental.  But over “something” nonetheless.  

Meanwhile, a mother is sitting at bedside while her child is fighting for his life due to Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  Or a daughter is saying goodbye to her mother, as she is about to die from COPD.  These scenarios happen every moment of every day and there are people in the world (often just one degree of separation from them) not speaking over misunderstandings which have ripped them apart seemingly for good.


I was told that when I was an infant, I used to soothe and sing myself to sleep.  I am sure that I was also trying to drown out external noise.  Even as I was pre-verbal.

When I was a toddler and of school age, I had constant ear infections because I loved to swim and I would stay in the water until forced to come out.  I dove to the bottom of the pool or the ocean as often as possible and never thought twice about how much water was accumulating inside of my ears and eustachian tubes.  But those ear infections were extraordinarily painful, especially growing up with a mother who was extremely loud and never thought twice about her volume.  


The Fifth Chakra is considered the chakra of purification.  Located in the throat.  It is about speaking your truth in order to purify a situation.  It is also about the purification of substances, people and karma.  

I learned that when you close off your ears, you are closing off your Fifth Chakra.  So as a child, that was what I was doing.  Too much noise, and I was cutting off my voice.  A voice which I was often told to shut down as well.

That message left a scar.


Flash forward to my adult years.  My good friend told me several times that I scare people with how honest I am.  


I can see how that has been true.  I have watched many friends and loved ones walk and run straight from my life.  I say this as fact, not from a place of wounding.  I know that it was not the result of my truth telling.  I know that.  Could I have been softer in my truth telling?  Yes.  Absolutely.  Even as I have always prefaced discussions carefully so as to prepare friends and loved ones so that they would know the content of what they were entering into without surprise.  

For instance, when my father became terminally ill, I knew discussions needed to be had about his burial plans.  And so I asked for him to have that discussion with me.  He did not want to.  But I also knew that it was important that his wishes be spoken to someone.  And so I asked for him to have that conversation with me explaining why it was important.  I began with telling him what my burial plans were.  


It’s taken me a long time to learn the distinction between being fiercely honest about everything and giving people a break and room to hurt my feelings without having to tell them every single time that they have in fact hurt my feelings.  I can remain in my integrity, work through my process and still keep my Fifth Chakra clear without having to bring out the Good Year Blimp every single time I feel someone has violated my boundaries or not listened to me or hurt my heart.  

This WAS my modus operandum for longer than I care to name.  And it had to have been very challenging for others to live up to.  I was committed to it because I was lied to left and right growing up and I needed to remain faithful to my own soul by being fiercely honest.  But what was coming across, instead, was my PUSHY NEW YORK JEW, which I was really just holding up as a banner and wearing as a suit of armor.  (Purification, needn’t always occur through the process of dialogue with another.  Many of us know that this is not always possible.)


When I woke up in the hospital after this last surgery sounding like Brenda Vaccaro and in utter agony swallowing, all I felt was grateful.  I was grateful to wake up.  I was grateful for my blood drain.  I was grateful to see my friend seated beside me.  Grateful to see a brightness in her eyes rather than worry.  I was grateful, that after being with me through all those hours of surgery to finally see her eating a sweet little sandwich.  Grateful for the years of self- care reminders which were now finally paying off in my hospital room.   I was grateful because there was trust being laid in my hands in this sweet gesture (through an act of nourishment) on many levels.  

I was grateful that when one of my nurses told me she had a headache, I could offer her some of my coconut water to help hydrate her.  I was grateful I could remember everyone’s name who came into my room.  I was grateful to see that what was once a fierce push was now turning into a soft strength.  

I don’t think you get your neck sliced open without deciding to have a clear commitment to speaking love and truth.  

Before the surgery, I was sad for what I would have to let go of in terms of my body and my physical abilities which I was attached to.  It will be a long time before it is even a wise option to see what is left or what is there.  But all that matters now are the simplest things:

What am I grateful for?
Is it wise?
Is it kind?
What is the truth?
What does the heart say?

You don’t get your neck sliced wide open without waking up to speaking up clearly, softly, lovingly and with a greater sense of perspective.

There’s only so much you can do to clean up a mess.  I am sure my instinct will be to always want to try.

But from where I sit now, I know that all there is to do is to stop pushing.  

And to speak the truth with wisdom, tenderness and love no matter how closed off anyone else is.  There’s always an opening.


Jill Bacharach

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