By Sonia Nevis
I’m not sure why I used the word “mean.” Probably closer to my experience is that the winter weather was restless and I was surprised by it. I was restless and I had many reasons to blame the winter, but I still didn’t know what got me so stirred up. It was as if the fierce winds and the cold blasts were echoing some long ago experiences I have had. I decided to write this to figure some things out.
Usually I would have ignored my restlessness with some certainty that it would pass. And, I’m fairly certain that it would have passed. But I know that I am racing toward my 84th birthday and it is time for me stop and note what I pay attention to and what I ignore. It’s time for me to know more about myself.
My early life was pure confusion -strange homes and mysterious caretakers and above all, the shower of differing advice.
How to brush my teeth, whether a wet towel is to be hung up or tossed on the floor, when to start eating and when to wait for someone else to start, was I to wear my clothes for only one day or to wear them for several days, to speak or to wait until spoken to. Nothing was ever the same, and each bit of advice was different than the last one I was given.
I realize, as I write, how much I learned from those early experiences. I also realize that when I lecture, I often say listen to me “lightly,” since whatever I say on Tuesday will probably be different than what I say on Thursday. Only this minute do I realize where I learned to believe that and to say it.
My good fortune was having the experience I had with Fritz Perls and with Gestalt theory. Once a month in Cleveland, Fritz taught a group the essence of Gestalt principles.
This was in the 50s, when I was experiencing complete confusion, and Fritz was working to articulate his principles. His ease with teaching one principle and, then, the next month announcing that what he taught the last month was not important since he has now figured what he wanted to say was exactly what I needed to hear from someone that I trusted. And I did trust him. I learned to trust myself and to have the courage to step into the unknown without my knowing what will happen.
I read an article written by Jonah Lehrer in the December 13, 2010, New Yorker called “The Truth Wears Off.” The article is about the scientific experiments that are conducted in the search of “truth,” that when replicated a year later prove to be wrong. He cites many such experiments.
“But now,” he says, “confirmed findings have started to look increasingly uncertain. It’s as if our facts are losing their truth: claims that have been enshrined in textbooks are suddenly unprovable.”
“We like to pretend that our experiments define truth for us. But that’s often not the case. Just because an idea is true doesn’t mean it can be proved. And just because an idea can be proved doesn’t mean it is true. When the experiments are done, we still have to choose what to believe.”
I hope this makes your life easier as it did my life.