Ignorance Is Rarely Bliss

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“It might also be possible that the world has whatever meaning you attach or, perhaps bring, to it,” Aunt Rose cautioned Sally. “Never take what anyone says at face value. Always explore something and measure it against your own truth. And, if you don’t know what your truth is, seek it out.”

“How do I do that, auntie?” young Sally asked.

“Open your heart to other possibilities. Use your mind to examine the evidence before you. Employ your gut instinct ~ that is, how does what you see or hear make you feel? If you are uncomfortable with something, it’s possible the meaning attached to it is not for you.” Aunt Rose considered further, “We all approach life from different departure points. My experience is not your experience. Our opinions may be the same on a matter but we will have to have arrived at our individual conclusions based on our own process if it is to mean anything. We must go through the process of personal affirmation and not allow ourselves to be bullied or blinded into something, it doesn’t matter what it is. And that includes your understanding of my point of view on this conversation.”

Sally thought for a moment. “Can you give me an example, auntie?”

“Well, dear, you know how your aunt Melanie, my sister, is uncomfortable around dogs?”

“Yes …”

“Does that mean you should be uncomfortable around dogs, too?”

“Maybe …”

“Why? Have you ever had a bad experience with a dog?”

“No, but … ”

Aunt Rose interrupted.

“Why should one person’s bad experience with a dog put you in the position of being afraid of dogs, Sally? Your aunt loves dogs but was attacked by a stray as a little girl. Since then she has kept a healthy distance from them, especially dogs she doesn’t know.” Aunt Rose paused for a moment, and then continued, “I ought to say, to be accurate, that she isn’t afraid of them as much as she chooses not be be around them. … That’s a healthier way of looking at it, I’d say. But should her experience make you fearful of them?”

Abbey copy 2Sally thought for a moment. “Perhaps the lesson to be learned, Aunt Rose, is to be mindful in the presence of dogs unfamiliar to you. For instance, I know I can wrap my arms around Abbey, our collie, but I would never do that to the neighbour’s doberman. He doesn’t know me and I don’t know him well enough to be that familiar. It’s about respect, isn’t it?”

Aunt Rose smiled.

“Yes, dear, if that is the meaning you wish to give it, it absolutely is. But that is a conclusion you have drawn yourself based on your own experience, and this is healthy. To assume a meaning without first giving something due consideration is born of ignorance and ignorance, as the great Charles Dickens said in his Christmas Carol is the most important thing of which to be aware. Remember the Ghost of Christmas Present when he said ” … beware this boy [who represented ignorance] for on his brow I see that written which is Doom, unless the writing be erased.”? Ignorance dooms us to misery. Look around you … how many miserable people do you know whose life might be changed for the better if they chose to look beyond their own ignorance?”

Sally recalled the scene from the old Alistair Sim movie, and and thought of her friend Francine who’d been peer-pressured into the drug scene and was ignorant of its long-term effects. She shuddered.

Aunt Rose leaned forward from her seat of power toward Sally seated on the sofa next to her and patted her niece on the shoulder.

“You’ll be alright, darling. Just keep asking questions and never be satisfied with assumptions. Ignorance is rarely bliss. Find the truth within yourself and you will find whatever meaning the world holds for you and be able to stand up to those who would lead you astray.” Aunt Rose’s mind drifted to her own friends ensnared in their own misery, and gave her niece’s shoulder a squeeze. “And for you, my dear, I hope it means a lifetime of happiness. … But that is up to you, of course.”

Sally smiled. “Of course. Thank you, auntie.”

“Now, young lady,” said the older woman, “let’s make some tea and find the chocolate biscuits. That was hungry work.”

~*~

Prompted by Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

1477384_696513200380722_443439577_n©Dorothy Chiotti … Aimwell CreativeWorks 2014

 

A Life Unravelled

A Life Unravelled

I am of an age

When the formative years

Speak.

“Remember me?”

They ask.

It starts with

Music.

A song.

A memory.

A feeling.

Hmmm …

I had forgotten.

Lost in

Tumultuous times of

Twenty-plus years.

Tumult covered by more

Tumult.

A child overwhelmed;

A teenager confused;

A twenty-something

Ungrounded,

Until in the thirties

Unravelling begins.

As it must ~

Or die bitter.

~*~

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’m seeking professional help to unravel and make peace with my life.

Starting in my late 20s I began to experience wake-up calls. People and events emerged to shake things up, most often sending me into an emotional tailspin.

My initial response was always that of the victim.

“Why me? What did I do?”

Then one day something started to happen.

I started to wake up.

My grandmother’s death when I was in my early thirties snapped me out of a career malaise. Instead of being bitter about the loss of someone I loved I was going to honour her memory by honouring my heart’s desire.

I embarked on my true journey with the horse. Granny would like this, I thought, as she was also passionate about horses. More importantly, however, she’d want me to be happy.

My two years as an equestrian coaching intern were a refiner’s fire. The veneer of my “happy” married life began to be stripped away until I could finally see the truth of its dysfunction. The victim was alive and well and absorbed into the drama of another who, I quickly realized, resembled my emotionally distant, self-absorbed and delinquent father.

Within a few years we divorced. I sought my first round of counselling and avoided dating once I realized I was attracting variations on a negative theme. I was determined to relinquish emotional baggage and find a healthier way of being.

My eyes were opening.

Eighteen months later I met my future husband. A kind, gentle, thoughtful, caring and emotionally mature man. (What he was doing with me took me a long time to understand.) The road was rocky. I’d had no experience being with such a person. But  unlike the previously dysfunctional men in my life, he was genuinely interested in my well-being and demonstrated through deed, and not just word, his devotion.

I learned to accept I might be worthy of something different than my normal experience.

My eyes opened further.

Two years later, tragedy in the riding arena as a school horse I’d been riding died following a freak jumping accident. Getting back in the saddle was difficult. The silver lining came a few months later with the opportunity to part-board a beautiful thoroughbred mare, Murphy. This lasted nearly three years.

And then Murphy died of cancer. More blinding misery, but the courage to look for a silver lining.

Five months later, a dream come true when Bear entered my life. Finally, a horse to call my own. But I wanted to be an aware horse owner. I wanted to build a relationship based on trust. I turned to natural horsemanship and enrolled in Chris Irwin‘s Train the Trainer program. While I was fine tuning my horsemanship skills the horses were reflecting back to me how broken I was, my insecurities rearing their ugly heads and demanding my unbridled attention.

Another wake up call; another realization that I needed more help.

Wise Old Equus

Enter art therapy and meditation. I became more grounded and a beautiful collection of veil paintings was born of my unburdening. This journey lasted about 18 months.

And I was still working with Bear ~ the experience of self-awareness around him bringing greater depth and meaning to our relationship. A new self-confidence was emerging; the victim was beginning her retreat.

And then my eyes opened some more.

A week in Sarajevo in February 2009. Panic attacks. Anxiety. My inner personal hell rising to the surface and reflected in the sad, unhappy state of a recovering war-torn city.

Within weeks I was sitting in a therapist’s office, the depression and anxiety, the feeling of being stuck and weighted down by things beyond my understanding more than I could bear.

The true work of unravelling a lifetime began sitting in a chair opposite a stranger whose only desire was to help me along the road to wellness.

The pain, anger, bitterness, grief, shame, the trauma of abuse laid bare. The broken-ness of my life lying before me like the scattered pieces of a puzzle waiting to be re-assembled, but with awareness.

Eyes ever opening.

And with this a sense of liberty. The freedom to begin to see myself differently. The triumph of survival and a new-found understanding of what it means to thrive. The tools to rebuild the puzzle of my life into something more functional. An opportunity to create a clearer picture of who I really am while releasing the illusion forced upon me when I had no concept of self and no choice but to absorb and reflect the drama and dysfunction of the adults around me.

A life unravelled.

A life reclaimed.

~*~

Thanks for visiting,

Dorothy

©Dorothy Chiotti, Aimwell CreativeWorks 2013