The web of life is so complex, and appears to be gaining in complexity with every passing moment. It seems unfortunate to me that some of life’s complexities have come to so surround me and to infiltrate my thoughts and heart that tonight I have given up any hope of sleeping. How to untangle what seems to be so much bigger than me?
How to even begin to write about what?
I will start with this. A woman I have recently met in town offered to house, animal and garden sit for me while I am traveling north to see my family free of charge. I may be being small-minded to say that I am leaving ‘my life’ with this woman who is very much a stranger to me.
Because of the limitations of my existence – both inner and outer – my home, my garden and my animals exist as a sort of oasis for me of safety, security, entertainment, what gives some meaning to my life, some structure, some sense of well-being and connectedness to the web of life which for me so seldom CAN include human contact and interaction.
Yet as I mention my decision to accept this woman’s generous offer to people I know in my life here in this small town rural area I have had my initial suspicions verified – this woman is ‘a hoarder’.
My oldest daughter’s best friend’s now deceased mother was a hoarder. I know very little about this state of being. Someone told me today of a television show about this condition. I don’t have any insight about what the intent of this show is, why people watch it, what it offers for the betterment of humanity. My initial reaction was sadness. “Why would anyone wish to put on display or voyeuristically want to watch it?”
When I type ‘hoarder research’ into an online search I see many pages appear with information about this condition and about being raised as a child of a parent with this condition. Yet what gives me hope for whatever suffering might exist both for the hoarders and for those who love them is this:
Inside the hoarder’s brain: A unique problem with decision-making By Maia Szalavitz, Time.com, updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue August 7, 2012 (there are some fascinating links to follow for related information at this link)
Distinct Brain Activity in Hoarders – August 20, 2012
What strikes me personally is the fact that evidently it is most common that no matter how much ‘stuff’ someone with hoarding accumulates – they do not recognize that they have any problem at all.
BOY does THIS make me THINK!!
I can think about my mother and about my father, about the insane abuse that happened to me (with my siblings suffering as witnesses) because they also did not recognize they had a problem at all!
I think of raging alcoholics, drug addicts, violent offenders – the list could fill a blog post by itself – who also do not recognize they have a problem.
I think of myself living my life until I was 29 as I mentioned in my last post as I did not recognize that I had a problem – even that I had been abused – until I was this old!
I even think about our society being so oblivious to the terrible ongoing demise of what could even be called civilization let alone morals within our national boundaries. We don’t have ‘a problem’ with the fact, for example, that research has clearly shown 75% of our nation’s youth between the ages of 17 and 24 are unfit for military duty?
The list of telling facts about what’s wrong with society and with the world seems to be so overwhelming to so many people as any solution seems to be nonexistent (which it is NOT, by the way) that ‘the problems’ simply vanish over some imaginary horizon so that people can get up and get through another day.
I am still cleaning up my own house! I have plenty, although by many American standards I am poor. Everyone has some kind of hoarding tendency – I suspect. Why do we buy more than one roll of toilet paper at a time?
Yet as I clean my house I think about this woman who will be staying here if our agreement finds fulfillment. I want my house clean and organized for myself – but also for this woman. I want her to feel she has a full-house Hilton vacation while she is here.
Will she notice?
It seems that the brain of a hoarder does not connect what they might see of how other people manage their material resources in any way with the overflowing MESS that can engulf their own lives. This woman I mention (not meaning to put her down but boy has this all got me thinking) drives an older model pickup truck that is stuffed in the bed with stuff (I’ve seen books and magazines peeking out from under blankets thrown over the pile) that has no option than to be soaked through and through with our heavy monsoon summer rains.
The cab of her truck is packed so tightly there is barely room for her to sit herself in there – but she CAN – so there must be some sense of ‘enough is enough’.
I sure don’t know. I don’t know how this woman will feel staying here – but I wonder if part of the reason she jumped up to offer to stay here while I am gone free of charge is connected to how she feels in her own home. Is there a vacation from hoarding?
I suddenly (as I wrote those last words) thought of what I ‘saw’ when I so thoroughly examined my own mentally ill mother’s papers and letters, sifting through my own filters about how I would bring HER words (as the terrible perpetrator of abuse against me for 18 years that she was) into my own version of MY childhood story.
I was able to so clearly recognize that there were two brilliant, short periods of time in my childhood when Mother was OK! I view these periods (each having been about two months long) as having been times when my mother was granted a reprieve from her own devouring devils – times when she was in what I call ‘a perfect state of grace’.
It is both my business and not at all my business to be considering these things regarding someone completely separate from me. Yet I can’t ignore the fact that I process related information through a series of personal filters.
As I do this I realize that I see two kinds of filters. One kind allows us to filter out reality so that we can ‘ignore problems’ as if they do not exist at all – which allows us to keep on keeping on IN SPITE of what troubles us.
The other kind of filter reminds me of purification filters that remove debris and contaminating toxins – like water filters. This kind of filter for a human being must by nature involve some thinking and processing GROWTH work.
This kind of filter must allow us to see things in a new light, to gain new insights along with new information, to reprocess what has been known before into something bigger and more whole that what we have known before.
This filtering system is about clearing things up, gaining clarity, expanding possibilities and potential. One kind of filter is a closed filter. The other kind is an open filter.
And I guess, as the above research mentions, what we keep and what we don’t allow to stay in our lives has to do with our brain’s ability to make decisions and choices based on what we find has value to us – or does not.
I am adding the fact that I do not have a hoarding condition to my long list of things I am absolutely grateful for. Although I have spent days bemoaning my housecleaning tasks – I realize now that I am grateful that I CAN clean my house, that I CAN make the kinds of decisions and choices and take the necessary actions to clean my house at all!
Life. Never boring!
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