It is encouraging how the space of our relationship provides a mirror to show me when I am not connecting to Diane and others; when I retreat into myself or become isolated or controlling and short with people.
A recent example: during the 4th of July week, two sets of children (mine and my brother Terry’s) and grandchildren arrived for a mini-reunion, 18 people including babies. During that week, I experienced a range of levels of participation, from fully engaged playing with my grandchildren or talking to my daughters or Terry’s gang to sitting isolated reading my book, to being irritated and rigid as I gave instructions on how to pitch a tent or do something or other.
As I reflect back on my participation, I noticed that I don’t like chaos. As a matter of fact I am afraid of chaos and have organized my life to know where things are (a place for everything and everything in its place) and to be in control. While this has greatly diminished as I have gotten older, it surprised me to see that I had wanted the children to visit, but then I missed some of the action, by being isolated. I actually felt tired and needed a break from time to time, yet I seem to have plenty of energy to row in regattas and do the training to keep me in top shape.
The nice thing is that when Diane pointed it out to me, we were able to talk about it without me feeling “not good enough”. In fact I got interested to learn what original trauma made me so resistant to the normal chaos of life. I know I was very unhappy with the chaos following my birth and I think when my brother was born 13 months after me, I withdrew in response to my mother withdrawing, but other than that I am not sure. In any regard, I can now be more aware of my isolating, kind of cold, tendency and do something to change my behaviors around it. Get more into the action.
All the best, Landon