The Skeksies and the Mystics Unite 12/4/09
I’ve been reading Alan Cohen‘s book I Had it All the Time: When Self-improvement Gives Way to Ecstasy. It’s hard to nutshell his book but here goes: He helps us see that our attitudes can keep us from heaven on earth and that gratitude is the key to happiness. His discussion of the movie Dark Crystal was particularly meaningful for me. A planet is dying because the two peoples who inhabit it can’t come together. One group, the strong and ruthless Skeksies, is obsessed with their warrior side. The Mystics group focuses on inner knowledge or “wisdom” but somehow “lacks motivation.” Because each side isolates itself from the other, the planet is dying. Too much energy is going into protection and fear.
In much the same way, I, as an infant surgery survivor, divided myself into two camps–the one who had recovered from surgery and the one who was deathly ill. The one who was healed and the one who was broken. Unconsciously, I walled off the sick one from the healthy one. We lived in two separate spheres, each protected from the other. In my life, this schism played out as follows: model grade school student/gang leader; high school twirler/shoplifter; Ivy League student/patient on psych ward; and so on. At age twenty-six, with the help of a therapist, I began to integrate these two. The bad baby and the good baby merged.
By trying to separate myself from my operation (the old putting it behind you routine), I made myself weaker. Identifying only with my healthy self resulted in emotional, spiritual and intellectual wounds going untended. Identifying only with the fact that I was sick early on ignored my strength and resilience in coping with a difficult situation.
Cohen writes, what is wrong with you may be what is right with you. I couldn’t agree more. The whole me–the Skeksies together with the Mystics–is what is right with me. By integrating both sides, I save myself. Combining the one who healed with the one who needed healing, I am whole, potent; I am human. I have strengths and flaws that teach me how to grow. In a way, two lost sisters inside me have found each other. In the embrace of their reunion, this new self becomes.