Then he’d look off some place in the distance… At something only he could see

Old_Cowboy_by_HCui

Old Cowboy by HCui

Often in life we yearn for someone to know us, to be interested in who we are, to explore us and understand us. Sometimes it feels like an unrequited yearning.

Sometimes that which is unrequited is better that way. Unrequited love is a love which never dies because it is never truly born to life, it is permanently in gestation. It is a wish which we can wish forever and never regret having wished for it when it comes true and confronts us with the reality of a fulfilled dream.

Reality is so different from dreams, ideals, wishes and all that which is fed by our imagination. It is neither better nor worse, it’s just different.

“And he’d tell you a tale of the old days
When the country was wild all around”

There is only one person who knows me almost as well as I know myself. Sometimes that is intensely and deeply gratifying, and at other times it is unsettling and downright annoying as I can never get away with anything. Yet they know me well enough to let me get away with things too. So it is a beautiful paradox.

I know them well too. I took the time to get to know them, to explore their universe with interest, with the desire to know who they are and not who I want them to be for me, to not assume, or judge or any of those obstacles which we put in our path to know someone.

When you truly want to know someone, it is sometimes necessary to get out of your own way.

“Sit out under the stars of the Milky Way
And listen while the coyotes howl”

But so many people are in such a hurry to know someone else, to sum them up quickly and pop them into a category, labeled and ready for use.

We sometimes do that with ourselves too, because getting to know ourselves takes time too.

The use most required by us of others is for us to be interested in them, to be their witness and audience.

And sometimes the only reason they show any interest in us is to get us to be interested in them, but they don’t want us to label, categorise and box them for use, they want our interest to be a long and exhaustive one, and for us to believe and confirm everything they tell us about themselves.

They just seem to miss the smallprint of the interaction contract which points out that if we really do what they want us to do, chances are what we’ll find in our exploration of them won’t necessarily back up their version of themselves.

Frantz Fanon

If what you’re doing is trying to find an easy shortcut to get to know someone… There is no shortcut. It’s a long road made up of many steps and stops along the way.

Everyone is difficult to know because we are all complex beings. No one will ever truly understand us or anyone else, even we struggle with understanding ourselves… but that is a trait we all share in our journey through life.

“Said this is no place for an hombre like I am
In this new world of asphalt and steel”

And sometimes we meet someone who gets us, and we feel a moment of relief. We take off our boots, rub our feet, put them up and settle back for some one on one time, talking, sharing, being.

Yet there comes a time every now and then when even those who know us well, may not know us all that well.

Think of anyone whom you think you know well, and ask yourself how well do you actually know them.

Consider those times when they disappear into a distant place, they have a faraway look in their eyes, their body has an empty stillness, but you sense a great depth moving through them, and when you ask them what they’re thinking it takes them a while to return or they snap suddenly out of a trance and look confused, guilty or distressed.

“Then he’d look off some place in the distance
At something only he could see

Where were they? They’ll probably never tell you even if they pretend to do so. They’ll tell you something for your benefit, and for their benefit, to stop you from further questioning. They were somewhere private, a secret place with a huge no trespassing sign. It’s not for you, it’s just for them.

no trespassing

We all need our secret places. Those places where we can disappear to without saying a word when the world feels like it is no place for an hombre like us.

“One morning they searched his adobe
He disappeared without even a word”

*All quotes are from the lyrics of Coyotes by Don Edwards.

32 thoughts on “Then he’d look off some place in the distance… At something only he could see

  1. I ended up here in that way that seemingly random things take place – and yet, are they ever?

    I started to read a post of Lynette’s about things she irrationally loves – because she linked to me. And while on her page, I began reading about narcissists, and it led me here.

    This is a beautiful post. I’m so happy fate led me here. Not just because you are wise, and a talented blogger. But because I think I may have issues that keep me attached to the pursuit of narcissists. I never put it together until today. Because some narcissists are less obvious than others.

    I feel a post coming on…

    Thank you for these words, for your inspiration, and for letting us in your world.

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I love the paths created by seemingly random things, they make journeys fascinating and deliciously curious. Thank you for following the path which led you to me and introducing me to you.

      Welcome to my cyber home!

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    1. Thank you very much 😀

      I have followed back and not just because you’re a sage who is sage (and I love sage sages) who lives in an intriguing house in Iceland (and I loved watching Næturvaktin, so much so I thought I understood the language and lived locally).

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      1. Thanks for the follow. I don’t live in Iceland but I do love the country. I took that picture nearly two years ago while having a great conversation with the carpenter who was making some extensive repairs. I look forward to more of your posts.

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  2. Beautifully written as was the music and song chosen. Sometimes we are in too much of a rush, but then I think back to friendships that I have had for many years, only for them too dissolve without reasoning or talking, those friendships and the loss of them crush to the core. Interesting and heart felt write and glad Lynette showed me the way to read – thank you.

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    1. Thank you very much 😀

      It’s very difficult sometimes to understand why relationships end, especially when we don’t see the end coming or happening and it takes us by surprise. Sometimes it has nothing to do with us, it’s part of the other person’s life story and they need to move on, without saying a word or explaining anything to us.

      There are seasons in relationships too. When someone leaves our life, we become Winter, but even Winter has an end, then Spring brings something new where something else has ended. Nature always fills a void created by a death with new life, and that new life is often fertilised by that which has died 🙂

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      1. What an exquisite reply and you are right at the end of that friendships, I made another. I am a Funeral Celebrant and yes nature fills the void with death. Thank you for answering so profoundly. 🙂

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  3. Wow.. this is just beautiful.. so rich and complex and true…what gorgeous pearls of wisdom…. such a gift
    “When you truly want to know someone, it is sometimes necessary to get out of your own way.”
    This morning I read this quote from Anthony de Mello:

    Love can only exist in freedom. The true lover seeks the good of his beloved which requires especially the liberation of the beloved from the lover.

    There is also a saying in my Al Anon group. Only when we can feel free to say what is in our minds and hearts can we recover.. sometimes we don’t even know what may be in our minds and hearts… but to have the permission to express it and struggle towards the knowing in a haven of acceptance of views that differ from our own is liberation.

    The photo heading this is just magnificent.

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    1. Thank you 😀 Isn’t the artist talented, I saw that image and fell in love!!!

      It’s so hard to express ourselves sometimes, but so worth the effort, you free yourself to be… just be as is… finally!

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  4. Do you watch – The House of Cards S2 –

    Clair is a little like you describe – maybe a lot – maybe too much…

    I find I like her a lot – like their relationship for the space and respect it contains…

    Its not something you find so much in life as it takes an abundance of self confidence on both sides to convey such freedoms on another – or for you to possess a contained self reliance that lets your other be as they need to be…

    When we see someone distant, often its our own worry as to where they have gone that informs the questions meaning it takes guts to remain quiet to respect their quiet…

    That would need them not to be playing you for a reaction, not to be baiting you with their silence, that the answer to their quiet is in fact your worry..

    oh how it is so complicated this life we lead..

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    1. I watched the original House of Cards (UK version) when it first came out and loved it. Ian Richardson’s performance was unforgettable. I don’t know if the US version follows the plot of the UK version.

      Claire is the wife (just looked that up, and love Robin Wright as an actress!)… in the UK version the wife was formidable and her relationship with her husband was chilling yet fascinating, it was a business contract rather than a marriage. I’m guessing they’re playing it differently in the US version.

      A lot of what we do in our relationships and interactions is based on our relationship with ourselves, as well as our very first and most impacting relationships with others, there are always more people in any relationship than the ones who can actually be physically seen.

      So if we have grown to believe that someone being silent is something we should be concerned about, that it is our fault somehow and we need to worry about it and solve a problem which we don’t know about, that we should experience the silence as hurtful, then when we are with someone who is silent we use what we have experienced in the past to colour our present.

      It is unconscious mostly so we don’t realise we are doing it. We make a judgment call about the other person and ourselves. If the other person is doing exactly what we think they’re doing, then it plays out repeating what we already know, confirming it, but if they have a different style with which we are unfamiliar, such as the enjoyment of peaceful silence and spacing out, then things get extra complicated because we experience cognitive dissonance of sorts.

      That’s why it helps to get yourself out of the way as much as possible and actually take the time to explore the universe of others, because it is fascinating and there are new perspectives on old things to be found. 🙂

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      1. its the version that is on Netflix – the US one..

        yes I think their relationship is extreme as it is shown but in the same way Skyler in Breaking Bad reminded me of my wife so then Claire maybe feels to be the antidote…

        While I would watch BB and Skyler would be getting paranoid I would be feeling the triggers fire inside me causing a feel something of the same way I feel when I am being examined in that Stasi sort of way that became familiar with my wife…

        So maybe for me Claire is that thing I would have wished for a bit of… that my wife would have absented herself in the way that she has, to punish me as she feels she is, triggers a lot of what I now know about Narcs…

        But in the end what we are talking about is a giant interconnectedness between our present moment and our past – all the people now and then adding up to a feeling right now…

        I was very lucky – my first girlfriends were lovely – that whole time so full of wonder so gentle so caring so beautiful…

        That must count for something in this moment right now – here – inside me still… inside us all the same…

        🙂 you bring me always to thought.. spin me into feelings… its how I come to know you…

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        1. I used to leave the room when Skyler was in an scene in BB. She reminded me of my mother. A self-righteous p in the a, hysterical hypocrite, and a lecturing nag. The actress who played her was brilliant in the role, I’m guessing she may have based her portrayal on someone she knows, it was so vivid, made the character leap out of the screen in 3D style.

          Every experience counts for something, most definitely. The good relationships mark us as deeply as the bad ones. The good ones in my life have always guided me, especially when the bad ones feel overwhelming.

          Speaking of relationships making a mark on us…

          Have you seen The Booth at the End ? It’s on Netflix, I think, or Lovefilm. It’s a rather unusual TV series which uses the interconnectedness of people and things, the varied threads of relationship, our perception of ourselves and others, actions and consequences, accountability and responsibility, wishes and what we’d be willing to do to make them come true, and so much more. It’s designed for thinkers and the mind gets a good workout.

          Thank you 🙂

          Best way to know people is to let them reveal themselves in their own time, it’s a natural rhythm.

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