I know why I stepped off the grid.
Disconnection is required to do deep evaluation. You cannot both be playing the game and analyzing it at the same time.
Participant and observer are two fundamentally different viewpoints. One requires fast thinking, the other slow.
Everyone finds their own pattern to switch between those approaches. Some people never really move into observer mode and stay shallow, others switch quickly between modes by never going too deep, and some of us get deep to the point of what can be called analysis paralysis, becoming lost in contemplation over action.
The unexamined life is not worth living. A disconnected life is not worth living. Everyone needs to find their own balance.
For me, the call to the meta life came early. It came because of the way my mind works, remembering much and seeing connections, it came because I needed to understand a family that didn’t do meta, it came because my gender identity and desire were queer in a way that I had no models to enact in the world, instead finding stigma and shaming. Theology and doubt came easy to me, introspection and thought are my heartbeat.
I was only barely on the grid, barely part of the community from the start. My stance in life was primarily that of an outside observer, sitting on the edge of the circle, searching for ways to reveal to others what they did not yet see. In an organization full of action people, this role was valuable, even if others resisted my insights.
My experience as translator for my parents, concierge, bridging between their inner world and the external was good for them as I understood how to engage them and give them one more good day.
I know why I stepped off the grid.
What I don’t know is how to step back on.
I need to change my stance to include more action, more interaction with the world. I have things that need doing, the avoidance of which gives me stress, leads me to bad and sad results.
When you talk to someone who is a good observer, versed in the meta, they can give you a picture of where you are, help create a road map to offer next steps.
When you talk to someone who is good at action, though, they often come down to simple phrases like “Just Do It!,” “Beginners Mind” or “Don’t think meat!” They do not understand how much meta you carry around, how much you value that thoughtful and considering stance, how that deep thought carries your identity and your emotional vulnerability.
I learned to stay tender and aware, finding my strength in that aware space. The answer for me will never be to become compartmentalized, callous, or increase my latent inhibition to slough off abrasions and bruises. The power has to come from someplace else, like the delight in performance, the rewards of connection or the joy of play. I have used up my willpower grinding out a life and caring for others and need a new source of salvation.
I need to be touch and fast, instinctive and resilient, to create new space for me, for my needs, and for those who want to be there for me. I need to be able to engage on the fly, to accept the new, rather than just processing it.
I need to not just do the theoretical but to do the practical, too. Yet, coming up gives me the emotional bends.
And I have been having great trouble in finding support and resources to help me do that. For most people action is just action, not something that they consciously have to push themselves to do, and interactions are just interactions, not something that brings up powerful feelings from deep inside of them.
Their burden is introspection, which is why they resist it, not action, which makes them feel alive and connected to the world. My burden is action, which is why I resist it, not introspection, which makes me feel alive and connected to the universe.
Places where introspection and action come together are often called churches. We go there to reflect, to connect to something deeper, to take a moment to consciously understand who we can be, who we want to be. By sharing something inside and acting from grace rather than impulse, we find ways to deal with loss and engage healing beyond fear and stereotypes.
I haven’t found such a place and I don’t know how to make one by myself.
I know why I stepped off the grid. I know how much I gained from hermetic isolation and reflection.
I know how important it is to remain connected to the grid. I know I don’t serve myself by isolating from that which is required or which can assist me.
But getting back on, doing the work, is hugely difficult for me, the action blocked by deep emotions.
And that is a big problem.