Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A drop of rain above your comfortable couch

I have been thinking lately of (cat)alysts and symptoms and the relationship between the two. And transference, most of all.

The relationship these three words have with each other is not without its painful bouts of elucidation and deeper understandings about systems and selfhood at large. What I mean by somewhat foggy turns and loops is that the way in which catalysts, symptoms and transferrals work (against, for) together is always mysterious, forever nuanced, and if meditated upon, can offer up the most marvelous maps of where the heart wishes to go next, and how to let the mind relax and let go of some of its need to hold on to its externalizations.

Phew. That wasn't really any clearer at all, was it? Perhaps a visual example will do the trick, even when portrayed through verbal means:

You sit on a couch, end of day, somewhere familiar. A known and comfortable space, however potentially unrewarding, boring, or even unhealthy, in some ways. There is something in the back of your mind that gently reminds you of this every now and again, that the couch is likely not where you want to spend too much time. It could even be that the couch is fine really, you're not sitting next to a chain smoker, it offers no loose pens jutting into your back, it smells more or less inoffensively.

Yet you somehow know you need to get off of it, you should move on, it's time to go. That perhaps you've spent the time you need to sitting from this vantage point. Yet the notion is vague, or ambiguous at best, and there's no real reason to move, so people might think you're crazy, you might think you're crazy. So you stay put a bit longer.

Then one day, the ceiling above said hunk of furniture starts collecting water, (like the good vessel that it is) until the moment where it begins to drip on you, right in the centre of the top of your head. This drip follows you no matter where you sit on the couch. It isn't a downpour, no flood here, no need to start rounding up the animals in twos, but the moisture is there nevertheless. The frustration is as well.

You no longer have peace, you start feeling less comfortable, you moan inside, you whine, but you try to adapt, after all, this couch and your relation to it commenced long before the water ever dared to fall. But eventually you can't take it anymore, a breaking point occurs, and you leave the couch by jumping off of it, cursing the room, and running off.

Not that this is exactly how it always works, or that the story is over. But the point, perhaps, is. On the surface level, you have reached a boiling point with some external issue, (the raindrop, in this case) and you have reacted to it (out of a kind of anger, the straw breaking the camel's back, etc) and are now fleeing the scene due to said disruption.

While this is one interpretation of said scenario, I chose it as it illustrates some of the ruminations I have had of late in regards to catalysts, symptoms, and transferrals. It seems to me that if looked at on a deeper level, the drop of water is in fact a catalyst, not a true cause of anything. The frustration felt is symptomatic of an aching desire to leave the place and space anyway. And in order to be able to leave with an external excuse, which is how this culture I know functions, the reasons for leaving are transferred. From an internal disquiet within to an external sense of malaise from an outside irritant.

This post is already far too long, so it is doubtful anyone will get this far other than myself. But if you do, all this to say that I have a sneaking suspicion that if looked at from this angle, I will find most situations I spend time with have little to do with the humans involved in terms of my actual emotions towards them when I am frustrated, angry, upset, etc. and so much more to do with what their catalystic comings and goings teach me in terms of helping to expose on a deeper level the things I am struggling with myself.

In this way, an exciting (and challenging) revelation, as it means I can let so much more go. Frustrating but true, and a good lesson on the way to being a (better) gentle giant.


  1. did you swallow an entire pack of nicorette gum or what?! no one should be this verbose unless they've had "their eyeballs injected with caffeine," as my dad would say.

  2. I DID SAY NO ONE WOULD LIKELY READ THIS. So shut your cake-hole.