“You Still Have A Few Blind Spots.”
“Julie, you still have a few blind spots,” a spiritual teacher reminded me on our last time together. I was leaving Minneapolis to move down to Spring Green, Wisconsin. She didn’t, of course, tell me what these blind spots were; it was just a gentle reminder that I did still have them. I had done a lot of inner work up until that time. So it’s safe to assume that I may have gotten a bit arrogant around my efforts and growth. I could have become like Theseus after his successes with the Minotaur: he thought of himself as infallible and as the greatest king ever. He had forgotten he still had blind spots, as we all do. It’s not the blind spots that get us in so much trouble as forgetting that we have them.
Now I remind myself when I am having difficulty or getting too big for my britches, chances are I’m encountering another blind spot. Maybe, in fact, because of my willingness to go down and into my experiences, rather than out and away from them, I meet up with another Minotaur, another shadowy aspect of myself or of the worlds. I meet up with another blind spot.
Won’t we all . . . Don’t we all?
Writing has helped me continue to name my blind spots. In life, and in our stories these blind spots are often where tension occurs. This tension is that unexpected and invisible tug or whack in the head that warns us something is happening here! Pay attention.
I recently discovered the value of recognizing that we may be in the grips of another’s blind spot! Of course we are limited in what we can do with someone else’s blind spots, other than focus on how we may be playing a role in their blindness. I can confirm that it won’t help, in the least, to let the other know that you believe they are blind to something. We must explore our own blind spots (through writing and contemplation), and let the other discover their own. (Or let them get whacked in the head as it where).
In writing fiction, we will want to feel the tension of the protagonists and antagonist’s blind spots. The reader may know what these blind spots are but for a good story, a protagonist should be blind to her strengths and weaknesses, at least initially. And the antagonist will likely remain blind to aspects of his character till the bitter end.
Presently, as a nation we are under the influence of a blind man. A man guided by his internal hunger and fear, while blinded to any of his weaknesses or character flaws. What to do?
Live forward. Write forward. Don’t agree to another’s blindness and don’t focus on changing them. When we are caught up in another’s blind spots we are held captive in their shadow. (Great in fiction, not so great in life).
“If we don’t know our own story well, in its darkness as well as its light, we cannot know the story of ‘the other’ in its fullness. And if we cannot empathize imaginatively with other people’s stories, how much can we know about the real news of the world?” (Parker J. Palmer, Healing the Heart of Democracy)
that chill brush of you, even slight,
says I can’t leave you – try as I may,
around however many corners of my mind.
but today I turned the chase.
looked me dead in the eye, and saw you more
clearly. lending your strengths too,
dark as they are,
in the broken places, alongside the lauded light.
when I need you, maybe I’ll call – maybe ally,
now that I know your name.
—Rebecca Cecchini, poet Here is her blog: https://stoneskipper.wordpress.com