May 2nd 2006

copyright don oddy

~ fix me ~

ďWhatever knowledge we have, if we are not honest,
we do not realise that we must look inside ourselves to
find what needs to be changed. It is honesty that
focuses our attention on ourselves, not others.Ē

As we grow up, that painful process, where we move from dependency on family and parents to our independent outlook, we develop our unique view on life and the world. As the growing up occurs we all experience our need to break out from control and get control of what we feel and think and do. We get good usually as young adults being rebellious and fitting in with the world we want to join, the human race where we get to choose what we do and how we conduct ourselves.

We often rebel, we become difficult customers to family as we define ourselves differently, we become what is available to us across the spectrum of life. We develop our preferences, for interests as wide as imagination, we feel the pull of our sexuality and we become driven towards our adult life.

Is it any wonder we go through anxiety and crisis a plenty during our growing up. We are finding our identity and we are finding our place, we get good at determination and we get good at making the best of what we have.

Most of us get our happiness out of our relationships and our daily activities, and if we are lucky, not only do we get intrinsic pleasure, we get recognition for who we are and what we do. We develop interdependence with the world.

So far so good, and all sounds very easy. Yet we all experience anxiety as we grow up and learn how to cope from every angle about all we are. We have good examples and less useful examples as we learn to deal with life and hard knocks, hard rocks and difficult stressful life experience.

In my world there was always one form or another of getting myself fixed when life got too much. It was enshrined in my background to let go and loose with alcohol, to let my worries about the world be drowned away, if only for a few hours with an elixir which blunted feeling and will and anxiety. And more powerful for decades was the drug of life, life itself. Life itself always fixed me, the new challenge, the new relationships, the new activities. And behind that celebration of life was always a drug, so pernicious to me, it swamped my outlook decades later and made the edifice of my life wear to nothing. I used life to fix me for a long long time, and life was good to me. As much as I put in, I got out, all experience, the joy and sadness of life worked for me.

A life Junkie without doubt, the zest we get from living sustained and was my restorative. Life was my fix, and now as I return to sanity, life is fixing me again.

Yet I became aware that as life is the true fix to anything we may desire, I became aware of the dangers of relying too heavily on any one element of my life. I needed variety and experience to make life work. When we realise itís the whole picture of life, we are successful in spreading our experience to sustain ourselves. When we become reliant on just a few elements we become less flexible and less interdependent, we get needy for what gets the job done fastest in this busy world. Is it any wonder we are prone to develop habits? Our society in the UK is awash with fixing elements. We can become alcohol dependent, the easiest of many to spot for ourselves and others. Work, people, our sexual drive, our obsession with appearance and so many more fixes can make our world work. When we get our fixes from one source over others we get interdependent and more often move without realising to dependent and obsessive, our relationship moves from master to slave so subtly we donít realise just how effective our dependency is until its too late.

We are driven beings, driven from primal needs and wants. Our nature is to keep our experiences going to the good of those things we value and find help make our world work. We are all good at fixing ourselves one way or another. This is not a bad way to describe our behaviour its an understanding of what and who we are. itís a way of understanding that fixes of life need necessarily be good and be detrimental when habit as Aristotle observed leads to excellence and poor habits as I observe lead to addictions.This is my experience.

So when I developed my good habits to fix my world, I felt euphoric and joyful, rarely did my habits lead to sadness. Or when they did, I was able to keep balance somewhere in the jungle of life in doing more or less of activities which provided a broad and varied outlook.

Our fascination with pleasure and making more of it, our need for joy in our lives, this can push us to excess in fixing. When we do achieve, our rewards come with dangers, where we are exposed to pleasure in excess. When we donít succeed, our ways of fixing go into excess of agents we feel able to control and fix us. At either end of the spectrum of experience we can move from pleasure and indulgence to dependence and addiction. As we know as we grow, life is the ultimate fix of everything. And we need develop our interdependence with life, for it to impact on us and for us to impact on life.

So when we feel the need to be fixed, we work hard at what we know, even when we donít realise the dangers. For pleasure will often hide away and help us deny the dangers we face.

For years I fixed myself with work, my passion, my drive. I defined myself by work and being as excellent at work as I could possibly be. But it was never enough, it was inevitable I needed more. Why work? Because thatís what I was taught and thatís what made me able to get rewards of any material nature to make my world feel and appear good. Work made everything subordinate. Even the love I felt for my partners, my family and friends, work always came first as I knew without work, the rest would fall apart. Work was my way of defining and fixing me. Whether I was good at work or useless at work, it made no difference, work was the ultimate measure to evaluate and fix me.

Love fixed me better, and women in my life came and went, yet work always drove me some other place. I know why it felt better to use work to fix me, it was a place where I was in control, it was defined, it was where I knew the rewards were constant. And my primary fear in relationships was always loss and rejection, abandonment where the fear of being alone and love given and received was lost. Work did not give me love, but in never rejected me as long as I worked hard and was rewarded by the system. I fixed my holes with work, and love, well if I felt good from my work, then love was something I could do without. Those I loved deepest, were either hurt by their love or worse love died along the way as life dealt blows like death, rejection, failure and all manner of calamity by loving too closely. I used fixes to fix my gap, my gap as common as the day is long, intimacy. And when I did fall in love with women along the way, I never realised they never got the best of me, all they got was what was left, after I had fixed myself with elements I thought I controlled. I took a long time to realise I had never had this control or power, it was an illusion and born our of fear, it took a very long time to know I was fixing me.

We hear love conquers all, and along the way, I was deeply moved and deeply in love. It happens and we really donít have control or power to stop ourselves. We are driven by our primal inner being and certainly love will find a way. That sadness which comes with love lost, it is a harsh as death and worse, for we live on to experience excruciating pain as loss makes us choose to live without that love or die another day as long as it takes to make sense this world again.

Our ultimate fix in this world is not pernicious, and it is the easiest of arts to overlook as we become embroiled in lifeís toil. We forget our humanity as our world overtakes everything we experience and pushes us towards dangerous territories. Every single human being has the opportunity through life to make good or make life intolerable. Life itself and how we live it is the success story, our learning and our application. Our success criteria need only be one thing, living itself. How we deal with every experience of life and remain connected to our life is truly our success. All other measures deployed are often necessary and not ever going to fix our real inner being, the art of being itself.

Fixing me, a day at a time project, an interdependent development of self. Fixing me is not fixing me to be something I was, something I might become, its about me being, just for today. And fixing me is about endeavour and journeys and love and joy and sadness in their full measure, as large as life and no greater than any other. How surprising it is to be fixed by life itself, a daily project of living. What an experience!

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