Arawak Anchors

The window in this room never closes– found out why no one really wants it. I’ll just wear my parka and embrace the icy Arctic air blowing through the window. It’s a hell of a lot better than my housing situation and state of mind from yesterday.

Had lunch with Carinne at the college today. She is my other. She is about the closest, and the furthest from me that I’ve ever met. We complete each other in this maddening and beautiful way. We are.

She told me she had talked to Tony back in Sacramento last night-

“We’re revolting and creating vagina monologues. Issues of the day include: treated wood, MRSA and cultural tensions.”

She told me I wasn’t alone, and all the girls sans Heather were pissed off and angry about it all.

But I digress.

I don’t want to talk about this today. Or think about this today. I want to dive into romance and Arctic air and creative people and ideas and places and become one with the world and its ever revolving perspectives. I want to tune into my perspective, and my freedom. Carinne told me today that the hardest and the best thing I could ever learn from this program is how to escape without leaving. How I am so good at flying away when I want to, but now I’m learning how to continue on and progress when flying away is not an option.

Clearing my head. Clearing my space. Clearing the world for the revolution of my mind that is going to take place here and now with coffee and parkas and autopilot mindset. Letting it flow to me. Stop directing my thoughts. Stop choosing.

Was reading this book this morning by a psychologist who worked with indigenous cultures all over the world.

His first assignment early in his career is working for the government in Suriname, working with the Arawak people. He was supposed to study the people’s relationship to work, but it turned into a much deeper study of choice. He created questionnaires asking the population a fairly common American question: if you could do anything, what would you like to do with your life?

And he was met with blank stares, a pregnant pause, and a repetitive answer.

“This. Of course I would be doing exactly what I am doing. What else would I do?”

In a study with children, he initiated a standard “draw something, anything” prompt. And the children stared back at him with blank, confused stares. This still happened in following tests with native instructors prompting the children, instead.

He came to the conclusion that the people here were not accustomed to the idea of “choice,” as far as we look at it in Western American culture. And this perception of reality was a lot closer to the mindset of all of our ancestors, in earlier times. Life was not a series of choices, causing anxiety and regret and jealously, but rather just the way things were. You took what came to you. You were a product of everything that had come before you, and everything that existed at this point and time.

Remnants of that can be seen in the Inupiat culture here. This strong tie to family, and a deep connection to what came before. Whenever we meet a native person and they tell us about their life and their culture, they always mention their families, going back generations. The woman we met last night had a picture of her parents on the back of her parka. A man pointed out his mother on the heritage museum wall. I don’t know enough about the people yet, but I would venture to guess that they don’t see themselves as separate entities floating through space alone as we mainstream Americans do, but they see themselves as a continuation of a process already set in motion long, long ago.

Which is a perspective that a highly anxious person has a lot to learn from.

Letting go of the idea that you can control everything, and that things are just the way they are. And events arise the way they will. And then you act in the only way possible for you.

Lovely, beautiful, simple, brilliant.


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