Your Saving Grace is your self-awareness which prevents you from sliding into self-indulgence and bad habits. Your honesty with yourself may prevent you from deteriorating further. Become aware of your Saving Grace today. (Understanding the Enneagram, 90)
The enemy of my self is my ability to bypass reality and move swiftly into the non events of my imagination. When things are good I make this a separate place in my head with a door and a latch. When things are chaotic or transitional the door is gone, the latch is a faint memory, the floor space spills out into reality and hopes and expectations. My focus is cloudy, my boundaries are muddy. The enemy of my self then becomes indistinguishable from the rest of me, the snake in the garden, the tree from which I should not eat- both God’s creation, both pronounced “good” in those early days of the Garden.
This bit is important, both God’s creation, both pronounced “good” in those early days of the Garden.
I’ve never really written fiction. Apart from a couple of screenplays I still toil over from time to time I just never developed the voice and the skill and the passion for fiction. I have a number of great ideas but little time and less energy to follow through. And then in the middle of even writing that I think about the old joke about eating an elephant, one piece at a time. In pondering the elephant and the novel and the trees in Garden I’m left with this idea that I’m not so sure I’d even fancy elephant. I’ve never been much of a meat eater. I’ve never really written fiction.
It is here the lines cross, the metaphors mix and I’m left with this indeterminate feeling, this nagging in my noggin that perhaps the enemy to my self has been grossly mischaracterized in my psyche all these years. The enemy to my self is not outside of me, it is not separate place; a coach house, a rusting car in my yard, an uninvited snake wrapped around a valuable tree in the garden of my self. It’s all me, and perhaps, in the right context and the redeemed spirit, it is all “good” after all. Perhaps it is not the enemy of my saving grace at all.
Below is an excerpt of the first couple hundred words of a novel I’ve begun. It’s going to take freaking forever to complete. You may never see another entry, I’m just warning you of that. Even so, having written this small bit, the enemy of my self became a friend and I pronounce that “good.”
Whenever there are sirens everyone stops. Everyone stops and watches or they close their eyes and they bow their heads. Some pray, if they remember how to pray. Everyone waits for the machines to pass and the sirens to fade away and then things move again.
Gaia says that before the Fall they did this not out of respect for the siren but because the vehicles of that time could not pass otherwise. Gaia remembers so many things about what the world was like before the Fall. Gaia says that now we wait and we pray, if we remember how to pray, as some kind of unspoken thing, some tribute we don’t recall but that our spirits recall and so everything stops, everyone stops, whenever there are sirens.
Gaia remembers what life was life before the Fall because she was young then. She says that the world was dirty, people would throw whatever they did not want into the road. She said that the air was hard to breathe and that the people spoke harshly to one another. The world she speaks about makes our heads hurt and our hearts heavy. The world was strange before the Fall.
She is very old now and she can hardly move. She tells me that she sits still and breathes slowly so that she can live longer, so that she can see me grow up and see how the world will be for us next. Gaia may be the last one living who remembers it all and because I am always here with her she asked me to write it down. Gaia has said that there was a time when the people did not have to fear “the poisoning” but they feared it in any case. She said that a touch could not make us sick. Calvin does not believe her but then Calvin has been the emissary of the Governors a long time.