Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Bleed Over and the Bleeding Heart

Turns out I had more to say about this than I thought. Bleed over, as I cited in yesterday's post, is "interference caused by a station operating on an adjacent channel."  In a metaphoric sense (which is so my natural realm that I was once drawn to a practical pair of shoes by their name--Reebok Metaphors--and still have the box they came in.  You never know when you might need to stash a metaphor or two!), it is my term for all the stuff that slops over into our consciousness, and our lives, from the people around us living theirs.  

Yesterday it seemed to me that bleed over could be a kind of gift, a way of linking to other living beings, and of participating in community.  But a conversation with my husband reminded me of my initial visceral reaction to the surround-sound noises, literal and not so, that compete for my attention.  And I have to admit that my biggest problem is not with connection, but rather with staying in my own life.  It's like I have some kind of adult A.D.D. of the soul, causing me to flip through the "adjacent channels" like a squirrel with a remote.  (Or as my son is fond of describing me, a "hyper chihuahua on crack.")  For whatever reason, I am blessed/cursed with extreme sensitivity to the emanations of emotion and energy and sensory information from those around me, even non-human beings.  Not only do I receive more than my share of such input, but all too often I find it eminently more compelling than my own small story.  I have trouble staying at home on my own channel.

There is almost certainly some arrogance in my apparent belief that I can do a better job of living others' lives than they are likely to do on their own.  And there is more than a little hyperdeveloped mothering involved in my knee-jerk rush to jump in, to rescue, to advise, and to live in the pain and the pragmatics of my children, my spouse, my surviving parent, my friends, my fellow citizens and planet dwellers.  

Merriam-Webster online tells us that bleeding heart, in addition to being  
1 : a garden plant (Dicentra spectabilis) of the fumitory family with racemes of usually deep pink or white drooping heart-shaped flowers;
can also mean
2 : a person who shows extravagant sympathy especially for an object of alleged persecution.
In everyday conversation, the words "bleeding heart" are most often accompanied by the pejoratively applied "liberal."  I am used to thinking of this as a compliment.  But I am recently attuned to the hubris that can be part of this stance, politically and interpersonally. And the retreat from self, the attempted escape from one's own problems.

Is all this getting me any closer to getting things done?  I think so, if only because it's helping me to think about what I want to get done.  Unless it's just one more distraction. . .

“Will Mary remain invisible? Will Burt notice? Will anyone care?  These questions and many more will be answered on the next episode of … ”

Put it to Bed.  

Stay tuned.  And I will too.  

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