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Why Do We Hurt the Ones We Love?

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

The other day was somewhat overcast. Late afternoon I messaged my daughter to see if she was available for a phone call. Then, glancing out my office window, with only a view of my patio garden and a small patch of sky, it seemed that night was coming on early. The sun breaking through the clouds, I thought I'd go up to my roof to see the sunset. Although we can take them for granted, sunsets just might be the best thing about San Miguel.

The wind was blowing. The air was cool. A storm was blowing in. I could watch both the sunset and the flashes of lightening against the dark clouds.

They say that if you can hear the thunder, then you should get out of the water. I couldn't hear it. The lightening was a good ways off, but it felt dangerous. Up on the roof seemed like the wrong place to be.

They also say that a streamer charge goes up from the ground to attract the lightening just before it strikes. So, during a storm, if you feel the hair on the back of your neck suddenly standing up, it's best for you to suddenly drop down, to break that streamer.

(I wonder about that woman who was killed by a stray bullet up in El Centro several months ago. Did she hear the shots and look around? Would she still be alive if she had immediately dropped down? Would I do any differently?)

I met a woman who was struck by lightening... twice, once while she was washing dishes. I tend to be a bit reckless, but since meeting her, during electrical storms I stay away from plumbing. Still, when your number is up... My cousin's girlfriend's son was struck by lightening and has never been the same since. The bolt came in the window, down the hall and into the room to get him.

Up there on the roof, the sun still hovering above the horizon, my phone signaled an incoming message. Not from my daughter, it was from David, one of my programmers, letting me know that he had just made live several day's worth of work. He had some questions, which I answered.

Up on my roof, with the distant view, I tend to feel as if I am at the beach. This is especially so in the morning when I carry up my yoga mat and bowl of fruit, the mat substituting for a beach blanket. (It's a little pathetic, I know, but it works for me.) That evening, with the wind and storm clouds, I could almost here the crashing surf, I could almost feel the sand below my feet.

Skeptics will say it was only the change in air pressure, an electrical charge in the atmosphere with the storm coming in. But for me that moment, up in the wind, was mystical. People say "Seeing is believing," but I think that the reverse is at least as true, "Believing is seeing." Our health (placebo / nocebo), our performance (optimists do better) our personal relationship, our world change according to our beliefs.

My beliefs have changed. There is greater order, completion, fruition. There, up on the roof, the sky (sunset, lightening, wind) and earth (my relationships, my Lokkal project as represented by my talk with the programmer) were combining. I felt blessed and reassured, like I was nearing home after a long journey.

During that epiphany, I took some photos and then my phone's battery died. The glow leaving the sky, the storm threatening, I went back down, plugged my phone in and sat down again at the computer to check the programmer's changes.

Early in this process, my phone came back to life and a message from my daughter showed. Responding to my offer of a phone call, she had written, "Yes. I can chat a little, but I don't feel well, so not long." I wrote back asking what was wrong. She responded, "I have aches and sore throat and I feel feverish." I thought, "If she's not feeling well, then we'll speak another time," and, though I am ashamed to admit it, went back to work.

Three hours later, some time after 11:00, I looked up from my work and wrote her back, "Lastima [pity]. I hope you are sleeping deeply and wake without any symptoms. I almost always use Eupatorium [a homeopathic remedy] for anything with achiness. I'm so sorry that I did not mention that earlier."

At day's end, tired in body and mind, I don't need any excuse to feel negative, guilty or forlorn. Through it all, including a moment of panic regarding the Virus, I knew that I was torturing myself and that all would be well. The following morning it was. She wrote, "Yes, I'm ok today. Still have shortness of breath, but immune support has helped with the rest."

Last night, drifting off to sleep I thought, borrowing from the song, "Why do we hurt the ones we love?" The answer came to me: because we are uncomfortable loving and being loved. We can be perfectly polite and kind to friends and strangers, because there is no intimacy involved.

We have ghosts, demons inside our house, wounds and confusion, unfinished business regarding past intimate encounters, almost invariably starting with our parents. Outside the house, perhaps at the cost of ease and flexibility, for the most part, we can avoid them. But when we get close to someone, when we are at home, then the haunting lets loose. I remember to say please and thank you, to show genuine interest in my co-workers, but with my own daughter I forget to suggest a remedy for her illness.

My girlfriend playfully punched me in the arm when I told her, some years ago, "I like the way you treat your friends," implying, "I don't like the way you treat me."

The Buddhist have an adage, "No enemies within." It is about coming to terms with your demons, converting that hostile relationship into an asset. Carl Jung advised us to "personify" our psychological illness. I advise, "Treat your dis-ease like a person. It is at least a sub-personality. Presume intelligence. Respect it."

To continue with an earlier image, lightening when it strikes is destructive. But if you have a lightening rod and a fat cable that can lead the charge down storing the energy in a battery, then you have more power. The first step is to give the dis-ease more room, to create a theater where it can express itself, instead of acting it out with those around you. I've written books about it.

This whole article is in fact such a theater. It is a Dear Disease letter. I am writing to myself, to my daughter and to you, dear reader. But primarily I am writing to, for and about my dis-ease, that unknown, primitive, uncomfortable, disquieting, repressed, neurotic complex, that I suffer over and over again. That I suffered that night. Like all of us, it wants attention. When I become more respectful to and curious about it, I am freer to be nice to the ones I love, loving them and myself better.

My daughter's calling. I've got to run.


Dr David a victim of the Hippie movement, is still trying to change the world. He and his merry band believe that with their new expanded Lokkal it just might happen. (On your screens soon.)

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