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Monday, August 29, 2011

Becoming comfortable with

Both of my parents have moved to remote places, with unique communities, and are rather isolated in some ways. Had I grown up in either of these places, I think I would have wanted to escape in some way. I might have longed for something different and looked at how to get out, geographically, socially, and regarding lifestyle and mentality.

At this point in my life, I am only a visitor in these places. But arriving in each one, I get the feeling of being pulled into a black hole, with little communication to the rest of my life, and not sure how to connect the experience to who I am. At the same time, I am adaptable, and arriving, and within the experience, it has an integrity and a quality to it that is quite nice. But the boundaries are difficult. I can't think my way into it from outside, or out of it from inside.

So I have slowly worked on the problem over the years by looking carefully at the boundaries. In the remote town in California where my father lives, for example, I look to see whether there are surrounding communities that might have some life to them. I try to find things in common to other places regarding environment and landscape. I plan trips there with an exit strategy, and friends and other family flanking it. Certainly this is also quite personal, and relates to my own experience of family and who I am there, and who I am seen as. I am starting to try the same strategy with my mother's house in Iowa. There, the boundaries are physical, but there is also a strong ideological barrier that is uncomfortable to me. Is there something within that I can relate to? I find pieces of interest to that community that I might interpret in a different way, but still find interesting.

Is such an elaborate process necessary? Maybe I will reach a point where it will seem smaller and less important, but somehow this work is necessary. The other option is to say that visiting my family is too difficult, and no common ground can be found, but I don't want to do that.

On the Petrolia side, there is the natural environment. The trees, the river, the ocean.
On the MUM/Fairfield side, there is the nearby Mississippi river. There are coffee shops in Fairfield. Ideologically, MUM is more challenging. The Maharishi is a figure that I just have a very hard time appreciating. And the closed mentality fosters an inside/outside split that is hard to overcome. One of the Maharishi's main texts he interpretted and based his power around has been the Baghavad Gita. I think this is something I could become interested in.

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