What lurks beneath the surface of the common person is fascinating reading. We’re all so different, having each a completely different set of experiences of life, to date. We live in the present, yet it is our recent and distant past that shapes us. It moulds the view we might have of the present and what might be achieved or endured in the future.
And how do we feel even qualified to explore this issue? There certainly is some doubt about how authoritative we can be; after all, do we know anyone with less certitude other than ourselves? Notwithstanding, we have a go—because we need to—right now.
The Motives of the Heart (“the what”)
The most perplexing phenomenon is both the juncture and way of the reconciliation process. None of us is reconciled without some external, mandating stimulus propelling us headlong into ‘a journey’ unknown. I recall someone telling me that “my journey” was beginning—I wanted to throttle them! None of us is that intrinsically motivated to do what is so bluntly uncomfortable and disconcerting.
Reconciling the demons of one’s past necessary requires a search into the innermost reaches of the soul of our person, with an honesty and a forthrightness uncommon to humanity. Yet, we do so with all blissful abandon. We relinquish our personal hold on our pasts—even as if they mean nothing to us. It’s to risk all we know. It’s just the way it’s got to be. If we have an escape clause we’ll use it. We need to sign our lives away on this; invest and reap. There’re no two ways about it!
The Activity of “Reading” Ourselves (“the how”)
We read ourselves, and we allow trusted others to read us, for “reading” is our clearest shot at determining what tangible differences our pasts make in the ‘making of us’ today. We must read accurately and we must learn to read with consistency, putting patterns and trends together so that no actions in isolation would take us out of context. We look for rhythms and patterns, and only then for anomalies. And we trust ourselves, for in this we’re being honest, right?
If we were to try and read and understand someone, anyone, even ourselves (especially ourselves), we must look for fruit; both sweet and bitter. Sweet fruit is virtuous. Bitter fruit is virtue’s rank opposite. We have both sweet and bitter fruit to both groom and contend with. The trick in life is to identify both forms, enhancing the sweet and negating or relegating the bitter. Sweet fruit of peace, love, joy, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self-control, humility etc., is sweet for everyone in contact with us, including ourselves. Likewise, bitter fruit creates the potential for the making of “damaged goods,” which is not a good result in anyone’s language.
When we identify the sweet fruit of intrapersonal and interpersonal success, we quietly acknowledge it, patting ourselves on the back. This is important as it carries us through our experiences of the at-times-condemning bitter fruit.
When we identify in ourselves bitter fruit we must then seek to honestly read beneath it; then in acknowledging it and giving it up we admit to it, saying sorry for it; seeking forgiveness for it. Done over and over again, we establish a process and habit for it. It becomes part of our Modus Operandi.
Sustaining the Activity (“the why”)
We always seem to underestimate the things that drive us toward sustainable change. We change things for a time and then we get bored and our interest wanes—the driving motivation withers as the ‘burning platform’ for change is brought under control. The pressure relieves and we drop our guard.
How do we sustain our intensity?
We mustn’t forget why we started this activity of reading ourselves. If we can maintain it we rise to greater and greater heights of self-revelation. And it’s not just us that benefits. Everyone else will too. We’re no threat to anyone who’s well-adjusted and no one (adjusted or not) is a threat to us. That’s the prize, or at least one of them.
Too many people are weighed down in the deep recesses of the subconscious mind by their pasts. This situation impacts on the way they think and therefore feel, and correspondingly on the way they act. It’s only with a forthright and tenacious conviction that we can even begin to reconcile these demons. And this is a journey, back to our childhoods in a vast amount of instances.
© S. J. Wickham, 2009.