All or nothing

Yesterday I shared, in my other blog, about the crazy month I’ve had of “coming out of my shell” in a way that sounds quite extraordinary given what a withdrawn, introverted life I had been leading beforehand. It’s been wonderful and has set so many positive things in motion; things that seemed out of reach before.

As I write this, I find myself at a hiatus in this new energy flow; a kind of nervous exhaustion that has held up the “stop sign”, so I have stopped for a day or so (though the urge to write is stronger than ever, as I take review of my experiences). My body has defaulted back to its usual mechanism (hey, its still early days…) to slow me down, being exhaustion and pain and so I am pulling back for a while, which is useful for some appraisal of all that’s been happening.

What I wrote about yesterday on Living Whole was this theme of propulsion that seemed to be emanating from me as though, once I started to commit to trying new things, I became a yes person extraordinaire, welcoming newness left and right of me, on and on, every day for that whole period of time that began in early January…like a running start to the new decade (and solar cycle).

What I’m noticing across many layers, looking back, is how I don’t seem to have a middle ground, For me, I’m either all off or all on (and, for years, I was all off…) so that, once I open the floodgates, I simply come pouring out. I can relate this to my Asperger’s as its that thing they call “lack of social appropriateness” (by comparing it, unfavourably as ever, with what is considered neurotypical…which is all about knowing how to live to social “rules”) though I would cast it in quite a different light.

This way of being can be great, it can be enthusiastic, exciting, life-altering, enlightening and paradigm changing in very quick time, if sometimes exhausting, and can wholeheartedly take me (and those around me) to places that seem wild with potential by comparison with what came before. I just want to make clear, I’m not talking about wild behaviour per se…I’m not partying here, or running around with dirt on my face, tipping tables over…I’m just being authentic me, without masks, social pretences, alternate agendas or falsity. This, for most people, is more wild than they can easily take hold of and it pushes everyone’s boundaries when you dare to be it; cutting through all the stance taking, the guardedness and the assumption that other people are out to get you and diving straight into deep, authentic, out-of-the-box thinking and heart-centred chat about, well, anything.

I also know it can be too much for some people.

As ever I did (and I know I picked up on this as a child), I can see in the eyes and behaviours of some people that they simply don’t know what to make of me. Suspicion arrises as to why I am so genuine, so earnest, so enthusiastic, so willing to share, so open and honest, so prepared to talk about subjects others dance around or lock away. That label “weird” is too easily applied and people that can’t make head or tail of me, and who cant be bothered to try, simply avoid.

For years, I made it easy by pulling back from life myself, until even those few niche friendships I had became a little thin on the ground and my enthusiasms were channelled elsewhere, into non-relationship endeavours such as art (though that is a relationship medium of another kind) and my own spiritual growth through my relationship with the divine. In that quarter, I found there was no issue with me being all or nothing. Meanwhile, in my human portion, it’s as though I had to leave myself in the “off” position most of the time; a state I have come to equate with holding so much rigidity and pain in the body. Its as though, as a child and young person, I failed to assimilate the social mores that keep most people so well held-in, like they are wearing behavioural corsets (because I just couldn’t relate to them…blame my Asperger’s…and couldn’t bare to fake it any longer) so I resorted to the body to become my “off” position…an understanding that has informed my healing journey more than I can say.

All or nothingSo, my life settings are relatively simple: I am either the tap that stopped working or the faucet that comes on so fully it splashes water over the edge to the basin and all over the floor. In this life-affirming phase of life, I am wanting the latter.

Because, for me, that’s what life feels all about…a sensation and exploration party. For the rest of the world, this is the domain of great fear. They seem to bind themselves up in so many ropes and ties of social and other rules designed to prevent disclosure of anything too deep or too personal to “others”; then they trade and they barter small portions of themselves if they feel they need to in exchange for something they need, but mostly they guard what is “theirs” like their life depends in it. Then they dig themselves into great trenches of reservation and form cliques to stand up against anyone that wields more openness in case its contagious.

Over the last few weeks, of course, Ive met many people….far more than I normally get to do and have made friends out of a handful of those that I see on a regular basis. One of these kept saying to me how she felt like she had known me forever. She told she didn’t like people at all, though ironically she works with them and seems to be a people person, and that she won’t touch or hug them ever…though by the end she really wanted to hug me. I seemed to open her up with my own openness so that, as I say, she felt like we were very old friends and couldn’t fathom why this was, not being party to a multi-life perspective (I felt into that topic…and her raised eyebrow told me I had now activated the “weird” alarm).

What I suspect such a feeling of pronounced familiarity is, when I meet someone (and its happened many times) is the fact that I go into new friendship as open and honest as if I have known someone for years. Instantly. Because if I’ve got as far as being with them for coffee, then I am also prepared to trust them enough to share far more than (by conventional standards) “I probably should” and, at the time, this puts them at ease…enough to share things with me that they don’t normally share with many or any others. This can leave them feeling, temporarily, so liberated, even delirious with joy or excitement and enthusiasm at the higher-vibe conversation they have taken part in, like taking to the air above ordinary chit-chat into a sky full of possibilities. That is, until they have time to review what just happened and they start to worry about it; wondering, what’s the catch? Once “reason” kicks in again, they often clamp themselves shut, even harder than ever, regretting what they said, worrying why they told me and now suspicious of whatever this power was in me that got them to disclose their innermost secrets with such casual familiarity.

Once, years ago, this happened with a woman I met dog walking who invited me home for coffee because we were having such a great no-holds-barred conversations including a certain amount of confessional on both sides. Seven hours later, we were like long lost friends, reunited at last…until she must have panicked, and frozen, afterwards and was very different the next time we met. A version of this (not so dramatic) has happened with this woman from the other week. Its as though they suspect I have cast a sort of spell over them; some sort of beguilement that, temporarily, caused them to let go of their reserve and the boundaries of their thinking and, without the confidentiality clause that would perhaps only ever have them saying this stuff to a therapist, they were now undone with fear since, after all, I was a perfect stranger until that point. Really, some beautiful nuggets of mutual understanding had occurred; dazzling and liberating and beyond ordinary thought but it wasn’t me doing this; it was the pair of us alchemising it in each other. So what they found in there was really theirs but stuff they don’t normally look at it; which alarms them…to find secrets that are fantastical and chock-full of possibility inside their own consciousness, hidden by all the furniture of their everyday paradigm. It daunts them and so they flee.

Typically, they then withdraw or rebuff me with sarcasm, flippancy, brevity or the obvious preference to talk to me only when other people are around and other subtle signs of discomfort that tell me “I’m not sure about you anymore….I’d like to take advantage of my cooling off period to reconsider”. But then they see you doing magic with some other person and, suddenly, they want to join in again…and so the dance goes on; some of these relationships take off into new turf, others seems to stagnate and yet seeds get planted in more amenable soil, these days, than they used to. Back at school, in darker days, some of these glorious beginnings based on complete openness are exactly what turned into the sourest of relationships because the more that person had relaxed their thinking and spilled personal beans to me, the more they then felt they then had to turn themselves inside out with rebuffing behaviours to get out of this fear they had put themselves at some sort of disadvantage, building up great walls of resistance that could turn unpleasant, though they were always entirely unnecessary…I never wanted to harm anyone and only sought heart-centred friendships. Thankfully, most adults don’t go to such lengths but I still notice the trend.

The thing is, what they don’t get is, they haven’t risked anything….not with me. Telling me something isn’t to find it turned against them as “weapon” at some future date, or to be laughed at behind their backs, or to be thought of any less. What they see is what they get, no pretences. I’m a very simple equation, I just want to get down to the business of being true friends with someone, sharing what we know, what we experience, what we speculate about life, together. In fact, I long for that beautiful sharing party, to make double the kind of machinations that go on in my own crazy consciousness, with another being so we can have some fun doubling up…but, other than with my husband, my online friend and some of the readers of this blog, I struggle to find this kind of open, unlimited friendship in reality and it is all kept strictly to the rules of the game of “being social” as determined by a mindset that is completely alien to me.

Yesterday, I met with a woman for the first time that I “ought” to have been a match with, chosen because she was at least tuned into to the spiritual reality that is absolutely my starting premise for all angles on life. It can get very hard to open up fully to people who don’t share this spiritual angle because you find yourself having to qualify things in terms they understand, which skirt around this (to me) obvious fundamental that all things are connected and that we are all aspects of divine source having a unique experience, playing a game of separation in order to learn something about ourselves. In other words, I can see its a game (and sometimes just really long to push the game aside and get real with another person…) whereas most others I meet take it all very seriously, from within the paradigm, sticking to the separation based rules. So how do I ever get to live my own truth if people won’t join me there? Yes, it can be done and I find my spiritual persona informs the way I handle situations that, quite often, impact people in positive ways without them having to “go there” with me (to a place they feel too uncomfortable to go…since it involves thinking outside the box they call home) but its not the same as the kind of conversation that starts from that premise as the foundation to all else. It can feel like you are always having to make things seem smaller or more accidental than they really are, just so other people can relate at all…and it gets wearisome.

So I was hopeful of this conversation with the woman I met but what I found was a version of what I find is very typical around “spiritual” women of a certain age. I learned, pretty quickly, that she is adverse to people (her “only allergy”), to the point she no longer engages with clients except through Skype and has to pretty much dowse herself in flower essences afterward any engagements in order to cleanse herself of their energy. Even as we sat there at the table, I could feel her building her barriers against me, drawing her fixed conclusions, guarding her particular viewpoints as “the way” though I felt no such need to defend mine, rebuffing me with her energy shield though her words sounded interested enough. Its a sad, but true, state of affairs that you can find a lot of this going on in “spiritual” circles and its no more than another version of what I found with my other new, non-spiritual, friend.

In fact, people not liking people is a really big problem in this world but when it exists so dominantly amongst females, in a world that is meant to be returning to its feminine values, this strikes me as quite disconcerting. Even amongst women who talk of feminine archetypes like they are all they can think about, I find this air of deepest suspicion clouding everything…and little action going on where the words lead.

Whereas me, having been tucked away for so long, am…as I said…this waterfall just wanting to fall, unreservedly, in order to break new ground. I long to splash and play, sparkle and pour, to glimmer in sunlight, to make a formidable sound, to be all that I am…around others doing likewise.

It’s a conundrum of our times; and another a-typical versus neurotypical locking point. People say they want more freedom, more flow, more organic healing, more natural rhythms and to live lives trusting in Nature again and yet they litter this wishful landscape with “excepts…” and “yeah buts” and other such safeguarding conditions. They want it just a little bit but not all of the time and, as soon as thy don’t feel safe, as soon as they have to give up part of themselves to the daylight, they recoil back into all the same old fear mechanisms and structures of separation.

What if the Earth herself is feeling like me? What if she just wants to turn on the tap as far as it will go and let flow without someone always coming in to say they can only allow this to happen a little bit, to a certain budget, in a certain place or certain way, to a certain set of conditions, such as Nature can go wild in a patch or a park just so long as she doesn’t interfere with any man-made structures. What if all of that is missing the point that Nature has all the solutions and can lead us to them, if we will just listen and stop trying to tailor Nature to our ways; not because she is some kind of know-it-all but because she will remind us that we are all part of Nature…we just forgot?

What if she wishes that, instead of being made to contain and restrain her, those manmade structures were made to better support her in doing what she could do to help, which would be to allow her to lead the way to how we go about healing all the ills on this planet, new outside-the-box ways, rather than people always thinking they know best, wanting to make her influence neat and tidy or conditional to this or to that.

What if the only way we get to heal this planet is to trust that Nature knows stuff we need to hear and that, when we take down our fear structures, these remedies will organically appear though our innate connection with the Earth and the ideas this will inspire in the hearts of innovators who could do all we need to do in a jiffy?

What if we all really meant it when we said we wanted peace and love and unconditionality on Earth; and to live like that, unreservedly. The thing is, to make the feminine aspect conditional is a contradiction in terms, so do we want more of its affect in our world or not?

So, painful though it can seem, perhaps people like me are daring to model these things when we go “out there” being unreservedly ourselves, however much of a barrage we are confronted with as people react in their different ways. Sometimes, we will get though, in surprising places…as I already have. In subtle but powerful ways, we are influencing things, just by being us.

When I meet new people, this time around, I am just me and this is what has changed quite significantly from the last time I was “out there”. If I sense a really strong non-resonance, the only other other way for me to be is to be “off”, in which case I will go quiet. and pull back But if there’s a chance I might connect, I’m there…me as I am, saying it how I feel, genuine and interested, fun and irreverent, handling things that come up as organically as I know how. What I really struggle with is those people who have no humour, no love light, no evidence of even buried joy hidden away somewhere wanting to come up or who seem to want to snuff our everyone else’s. I will feel for it but, if the response is utterly flat, I quickly lose energy around that person and I have to move on; as I have already done with one person I have met. This is as much to do with self-care (topic of my other post) as for the fact I feel no point where resonance doesn’t exist. This too I have learned since last time.

All I really want…all I have ever really wanted (looking back across my whole life)…is to love unconditionally. It’s a hard thing to model in this world, set up as it is but I’m prepared to keep on trucking, in my own inimitable fashion. A few people might get dowsed by my effect as I enter their space, so I apologise for the so-called flaw in my overzealous faucet, I really don’t see the point in all those half-measures for turning the flow up and down more, positioning it half-heartedly, which sends confusing messages and leaves everyone having to work out what they are really dealing with. Of course, I’m working on my sensitivity around appropriate situations and timing, and I have to make sure I don’t wear myself out but, if Im going to “come out” amongst people, then here I am.

About Helen White

Helen White is a professional artist and published writer with two primary blogs to her name. Her themes pivot around health and wellbeing, expanded consciousness and ways of noticing how life is a constant dance between the deeply subjective and the collective-universal, all of which she explores with a daily hunger to get to know herself better. Her blog Living Whole shines a light on living with high sensitivity, dealing with trauma and healing from chronic health issues. Spinning the Light is an extremely broad-based platform where she elucidates the everyday alchemy of relentless self-exploration. A lifetime of "feeling like an outsider" slowly emerged as neurodivergence (being a Highly Sensitive Person with ADHD, synaesthesia, sensory processing challenges and other defecits overlapping with giftedness). All of these topics are covered in her blogs, written from two distinct vantage points so, if you have enjoyed one of them, you may wish to explore the other for a different, yet entirely complimentary, perspective.
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2 Responses to All or nothing

  1. cathytea says:

    I wrote a reply this morning, on my mouse-fingered keyboard on my mobile device, and it got lost when my thumb hit the wrong button….

    Reading about your friendship experiences was so familiar it felt a bit painful. My sister-in-law and a former friend each told me, separately, that when I meet new people, looking for friends, I should not open with my unique insights–I should hold those back until we’ve become friends. But I refuse to do that: I’ve had too many times in youth and childhood when I lost friends once they heard my individual perspective. I don’t want to invest energy and affection and attachment into a friendship to have the person decide I’m too weird once they really know me. I’d rather be myself from the beginning and let my individuality work as a filter, so that those with a real potential to be lasting friends will be the ones I form a friendship with.

    It’s kind of a lonely way to be, I suppose, but I think it’s the only way that works for me.

    Like you, I’m all for unconditional,universal love.

    In my life, I have to rely on my everyday structures and routines to help me manage the ebbs and flow of my energies and enthusiasms. It helps me work with the inertia, both to get moving and to stop moving, when my energy flows through the structure of my days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Helen White says:

      I’ve been away on one of my country retreats for a few days, with poor reception for replying but I read your message and thought, as ever, “how similar we are” and I feel we would be such a good match in terms of friendship expectations, if only we lived nearer. I so get what you said about using the individuality as the filter…its exactly what it feels like I’m now doing, like I have no time for time wasters who later regret the association with me when some situation brings in their conditionality again. I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the structures and routines I have been using to manage the ebbs and flows of my energy…and to how I can use them even more positively/consciously, so will be sharing on that soon.


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