Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday: Vision Quest Revisited (Again)

As promised last Thursday, I’ve decided to examine a little more of the journal from my first vision quest – if only to relearn the lessons gleaned from this meditative journey. If you’re confused, please feel free to read the first post I wrote about this amazing experience, which occurred in the piney woods of southern Mississippi when I was thirteen.

Last Thursday, I shared my ramblings from June 25, 1990 – the first day of that weeklong La Terre Quest. Following my afternoon journal-writing session, I joined the others – James, the leader; his assistants, Steve and Keith; and my five fellow questers, Julia, Antonia, Daryl, Jeremy, and Sean – for dinner and conversation (about all sorts of things, including the works of Carlos Castaneda). Here’s what I wrote the following day (and, as before, please remember that these are a thirteen-year-old’s words, so be kind):

Life’s good, you know. It can be weird and sometimes complicated, but it’s alright. Things happen, you make mistakes, but you just go right on living, trying not to make the same mistakes twice.

Nature is really beautiful, but when you have to try going to the bathroom in a hole in the ground, it can be kind of rough. Last night, after hearing James, Steve, and Keith talk about Carlitos and Don Juan and the Allies and infinite realities and how their friend Tim M. went messing around in the Earth’s funnels of energy and has now been missing for four months, Julia and I slept in her tent. I was kind of cold and grimy. I’ve got to take a shower today. This is going to be great.

Oh, one final remark – though, I don’t quite comprehend what being a Warrior is all about, I know this: You can’t worry or regret about things in the past or future; you can only do the best you can
now and it’s imperative that you live each day to the fullest, as if it were your last.

Following this entry, I listed a few guidelines for becoming a “Warrior,” many of which I shared last Thursday – things like working on basic needs, avoiding fear and doubt, taking nothing for granted, and living life to the fullest. The advice I found most interesting, though, was also the most ironic for a blogger like me:

– By telling all of your personal history, you indulge in self-importance. You cannot get to the point where you are annoyed by every little thing and leave if you don’t get your way.
– Do not take yourself too seriously or think everything you say is worthy of being said.
– Others can “push all your buttons” if you reveal too much of your personal history.


Perhaps James was right. Perhaps revealing too much about myself – on this blog and in other forums – does give others “ammunition” against me. Knowing that I’m a sensitive person, who fears hurting others or being misunderstood by them, has certainly enabled some people to manipulate me on more than one occasion.

But understanding who you are and where you’ve been can help to inform your present being – self-examination and self-revelation don’t have to be exercises in self-importance. Just because you’re willing to share yourself with others doesn’t necessarily mean that you take yourself too seriously or that you believe everything you say is worthy of being said. I certainly don’t. Of course, that doesn’t stop me from being a chatterbox.

13 comments:

Weronika said...

This is so fabulous, Laura -- thank you for sharing! You were an incredible writer with fabulous insight right off the bat.

Laura Martone said...

You're too kind, Weronika - but I thank you. :-)

TheWordWire said...

Wow, you were wise for 13! I'm quite sure if I had a journal from that age, it would probably read something like, "James, Steve and Keith are REALLY cute!!" Or something equally deep...

Laura Martone said...

Thanks, Wordy. But the truth is... I was probably in a wiser mode just because of the situation - and the problem, of course, is that I'm no longer as wise as I once was. Guess I peaked too soon!

(As I remember, Keith WAS pretty cute!)

jbchicoine said...

Laura,
It’s interesting that you’ve become a more open person over the years, and for sure, your willingness to share is one of the most endearing things about you.

As you know, I’m on the other end of the scale. I didn’t necessarily start out that way, but sometimes life pulls the lid over us, providing the illusion of safety.

Laura Martone said...

Mornin', Bridget. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on openness. In many ways, I've always been a rather open person... although, it's true, I've probably become more open (sometimes, too open) with people over the years. At the same time, I've become more physically reclusive. Perhaps that's why I reveal so much to people (in person and online) - I don't emerge from my "cave" as often as I should. :-)

I find it interesting that you believe you're "on the other end of the scale" and yet you "didn't necessarily start out that way" - makes me curious about your own path in life, and makes me think that the openness you've revealed lately on your blogs could be a step in a new direction... of course, your two chosen art forms - writing and painting - reveal a lot about you, too, but that's just my humble opinion. I suppose not all of us write and/or paint what we know.

Strange Fiction said...

I enjoy reading about your journey's so I appreciate your openness. I guess I'd call myself selectively open.. Your post sparked a memory of a journal entry of mine from '94:

'All the people of the world are trapped within the cave of their own minds. Only those few warriors who see the light, who cut free, surrendering everything, can laugh into eternity. And so will you my friend.' ~Dan Millman

jbchicoine said...

Laura,
If my painting reveals anything about me, it’s that I like the illusion of control. As I see it, life is so precarious; the only thing I can hope to control is my brush and paint, and I control them to an extreme, at least I used to. I suppose a whole profile could be built around why I no longer paint…

You might think writing has sent me down a more open path; in fact, it has made me far more selective, and nestled me in a very safe world that I ultimately control. Where the outcome of imaginary people’s lives have no consequence in the real world.

Although I have shared some personal things on my blog, the illusion of safety is in the lack of context. You don’t know me, and you don’t know my path. Part of this is by design. I started my WIP blog to connect with other writers, to find a pool of individuals who might help me perfect my craft. In my mind, I thought it might be easier for readers to offer objective critique if they felt no personal connection to me—they wouldn’t worry about hurting my feelings. I highly value objectivity.

There—now you know a little more about me, but you’re probably still scratching your head…

jbchicoine said...

Hey, Laura, all this openness stuff got me thinking…
Strange Fiction talked about personality types in one of her recent posts; she provided a link to the Carl Jung and Isabel Myers-Briggs typology test .

While none of these sorts of tests are cast in stone, it would be interesting to find out which type you fall under…

Laura Martone said...

Hi, D.L. Hope you're having a pleasant Friday. I'm glad that my openness hasn't made you run for the hills. 'Cause I like sharing my crazy notions with others. Wish I were more like you, though - "selectively open" - I think I'm too transparent at times. Makes me vulnerable... and probably annoying.

I love the quote you shared... ironically, my novel is about caves... and how, for one woman, living in a particular cave community actually allows her to see the light and FREES her from her self-imposed exile. When she surrenders her life on the surface, she, in a sense, trades the cave-like trap of her mind for a liberating cave in "real" life. If that made any sense at all.

Laura Martone said...

Hi, Bridget! Wow, such deep thoughts today.

I can see the illusion of control at work in your paintings... And, yes, I'm sure you could write an entire treatise on why you no longer paint. I can also see how your writing has made you more selective... to a certain extent, I can see that in Story for a Shipwright. In a way, writers are like little gods of the worlds they create... and yet my characters often take on minds of their own. You should've seen me at Come In Character today - boy, did the characters take over. My hubby and mom-in-law are worried that I went a little schizo, but I digress...

But you're right about blogging... ultimately, I don't know you, B, not really. You probably know a lot more about me, though, because I wear my heart on my sleeve... on my blog and in my novel. And maybe it is easier for me to be objective with your WIP because I don't know you personally. I'm sure our relatives find it hard to be objective. Even if they're willing to be honest, they might know too much about our stories or background to see the novel clearly. On the other hand, even though I don't really know you, I'm still loath to hurt your feelings.

And, yes, I am still scratching my head...

P.S. I've never taken a personality test before. Wonder what it WOULD say about me. Hmmm... I'll have to check it out. (Incidentally, did you take it?)

jbchicoine said...

Yes, of course I did. INFJ. Take the test.

Laura Martone said...

Will do, B. Tomorrow. I'm actually going to bed right now! Can you believe it? I NEVER go to bed before midnight... but I'm beat.