Day 457: Exploring Personal
Personal: I’d never really looked at how I had defined, been living out, this word. It seems that I’ve been content with it functioning as assumption, that it was clear, distinct, as a tool with which to draw a line, define a boundary, justify an area of privacy, and yet I see now also how within this it had just a single function, I had not asked the question of who I was alone with me within and as this word; what that actual content was within that was just a vague assumption. A question such as this marks the outset of a journey, not with expectation of an immediate end in the form of an instant answer, but with more instead an exploration of what is it that is contained with the word.
Even since I was a little child, those memories are still there: such as moments in a garden with impressions of a checkered clover lawn, no more or less intimate for me than the feelings of my toes within my socks and in my sandals, or that experience of me quietly within myself while all around the movements of the wind amongst the branches of the trees would come and go, build up and fade away, and then break through again, from a different angle, with a different feeling of the air, a different brushing of a coolness on my arm; and yet still that quietly being within myself experience remains, way back when, and now; that intimate within me and without me overlap where everything both intimately near and deeply far into the world, is reflecting my relationship to me and me to it, where sometimes within the experience of that, there is no boundary. That is how it is sometimes in waking up, with my body stretching out all ways to the horizons of my bed and the even sense of gravity pressing down, defining how the contours of my body rest, and so I enter into specificity.
Describing what is personal in personal experience, I clutch at straws, like as if those straws were movements, movements deep within me, movements I am accustomed to and recognise as me, as an everyday unconscious, with personal as an accepted automation, that personal within things all the time at every moment of the day, unremarked, un-noted, like the being within and as integral to it all, and yet when faced, intangible, lost within the myriad relationships to everything. And yet, not lost: but more, displaced; I mean with clutching at a straw, I clutch a realisation, and though that realisation remains as yet still undefined, I have it in my grasp, and write it.
The image of a garden gate comes up in me: just a simple gate that opens with a latch. Opening up the world of Personal, I am looking here at an example; at a memory of a quiet moment as I walk along, a moment that I would just normally walk right by the details of; that leaf perhaps, a generous spread of leaf that sways horizontally from its stalk, above its shadow on a patch of grass, just a life besides the gate, an aspect and a passing moment of this local world, through which I tread, reflecting back to me my own reflection, and yet my own reflection is to me, just incidental, while who I am within this isness is focused on a task, I am going to fetch some water. That single footstep in my day, along with all the thousand others that get filtered out of memory, out of record or remark, there is no time in all the world for sharing that. And yet not giving me the time in those small moments to consider who I am and how I am towards and in these things accumulates like a personal unconscious.
Going microscopic further emphasises this, all those tiny moments of that personal familiarity that go by even in a moment without the question of who I am reflected in this stream of things; they kind of wrap around me and support me, and hold me steady in my world.