Ghosting

 

 
I learned this term today in an elephant journal article.  It means “ending a romantic relationship, by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out.”

Like the writer who defined the term, I am in the dark about new trends, words and expressions quite often despite having two teenage daughters. I often think how far behind the times I will fall when my contact with them is not daily–in my house. They keep me fresh and as close to hip and trendy as I will ever be (which is not very close), often with exasperated faces, slumped shoulders to punctuate the sheer agony of educating an older person.

However, rudeness is not confined to youth. I agree that ghosting is rude, excluding abusive relationships, of course. Treating people as if they are disposable plastic bags, discarded (probably on the ground) after use without a thought to future ramifications (pollution-physical and emotional) to other beings both human and animal is more than unkind, more than cruel. It is brutal. 

The kindest gift is knowledge with all of its up and downsides. I may be rejected, feel bad about being rejected or even about myself, if someone dumps me face to face or in an email or text, but ice that rejection with someone’s cowardice or cruelty to keep me ignorant in the face of such dumping, well that is too much. 

First, I not only wind up feeling rejected but ashamed on top of that. Once I discover the ghosting, I am bound to feel doubly embarrassed that I did not know the person I cared about was such a coward, such an unethical person. That is the part that would throw me into despair. How could I not know I was dealing with an asshole? 

That realization–that I am stupid, unobservant and/or naive–kills me more than someone rejecting me for being me. I do not need validation from someone else, though it certainly feels wonderful to be appreciated. But I DO need to know who I am dealing with–for my own safety. For how do I make wiser decisions in the future if I have a defective bullshit detector?

The battle is always between the bravery and freedom to trust against cautiousness, the wisdom to discern others’ intentions and needs, and whether those fit my own. The difficulty, of course, is in achieving clarity, sorting through what’s mine and what’s someone else’s. They get conflated and confused sometimes. Is it me who wants exclusivity or am I capitulating to some unspoken or spoken desire of the person I HOPE to build a relationship with in time? It gets complicated picking through the nuances.

Knowledge is the best armor. Knowing the self and observing others is a lifelong study. I hardly ever get it right. The attempt is all I or anyone ever has, but the trick is to develop an intuition or listen to the one inborn, weak as it is, mixed in with recollection of tendencies and traits that are recognizably lethal.

I believe ghosters are detectable to those paying attention. 

Barring the sociopaths, those who would do others harm smell differently, and I mean that more in a metaphoric than a literal sense. Tight listening to instincts, like wearing infrared goggles, reveal the dark hidden. If only we use the gear at our disposal: eyes, ears, heart and mind, take note of the signs, the hints, looks and words–not in suspicion but in curiosity, like an archeological exploration, seeing what the landscape bears underneath, hopeful of gems of discovery but mindful that the earth may be barren or even collapsable and dangerous.

Perhaps ghosting is more a phenomenom of youth with its inexperience, fewer notes on lived case studies. Or it should be. But even young people have inherent tools to sniff out fear, falsehood and feelings. If only they respect themselves and their abilities, without trepidation over likely mistakes. 

Buddha proclaimed it way before I did. Suffering, though inevitable, is minimized in the mindful.
 

credit: futuresequence.com

A Curious but Obvious Notion

I nearly always practice yoga in the solitude of my room, yoga mat spread flat and cushy on the clearing between my bed and doors, bathroom and bedroom. The spot is spacious enough, though I often disappear from wherever I am anyhow, closing my eyes in movement, shuttering my awareness to the outer material world as much as possible. I do not feel this kind of freedom in a class.

One consistent ritual in my practice is to light incense, some evergreen, pine or reedy scent reminiscent of the earth’s goodies. I am not sure when or how I switched from scented candles to incense, but I burn incense now as I have for years. To complement the scents, I click on my Native American flute ensemble station on Pandora to hear the hollow wooden whistles of the fluted chorus sung through the wind or birds, screeches of eagles, or even drums of thunder and clackle of wampum. Sometimes I listen to the sound of simulated light or water in vibrational tones or wind chimes. Anything to cast away the walls as I salute the sun through and past the house rooftop.

But it recently hit me. The memories of moving through asana practice outdoors, like that yoga on the beach or in the park series, bring me peace, thinking how I glimpsed the indivisibility of the inner and outer worlds integrated then. The juxtaposition of moving inward while outside brought everything yoga I had read, practiced and believed into focus. Moments of fluidity of mind and matter.

It all makes sense. Inside, the impulse to move inward is driven by outdoor signs; outside, the drive to move inward out into the expanse pivots from the outside moving inward and back out again, both inward and outward absorbing all as one. Not so much an epiphany as a slot-filling, the answer finally catching up to the question.

Namaste, as you were.

One Naked Poet, the Gaze.