Sunday, March 01, 2009

being a fully functional person

Being a Fully Functional Person

Here is where the two books I am reading intersect in purpose. In Rituals of Healing: Using Imagery for Health and Wellness, the idea is to increase one's physical functionality. In On Becoming a Person, the idea is to increase one's mental and emotional functionality. So far, with the help of the first book, I have created a breathing routine, or ritual, which has helped me a lot with lower my stress and tension, as well as with my asthma problems (though it doesn't completely rid me of them). I still have yet to work on something for the chronic pain, which is a revelation in itself, since I had the underlying belief that taking care of the stress and lessening the fatigue would reduce the pain. So sometime this week, I will have to rethink my chronic pain.

Ever since my late twenties, I had often expressed the desire to be a fully function human being. But looking back, I'm not sure I really knew what I meant by that, outside of the wish to feel compentent and secure--and the ability to keep up on housework. And yet nothing I did seemed to be enough. Instead of feeling more human, I found myself feeling less and less human. Carl Rogers, based on his observation of his clients, defined being fully functional as "being the self one truly is". This means to accept that there are some things I am good at and some things that I am not good at. I have always understood to a point that I had to play with my strengths, and have even had some success with it.

However, looking over my past efforts, I approached them more as a problem in engineering, than a progression towards personhood. Instead of being more efficient, I might have been more successful if I questioned the "shoulds" more, fought the facades being placed on me in an effort to please and meeting the expectations of others. That might to make it easier to follow my own direction, with all the complexity that is me. That doesn't mean that I can ignore the expectation of others completely, but I can certainly be more picky as to which expectations I accept and those I don't.

Life is not a steady state. Years ago, I wrote the following mission statement for myself: "Everything deserves respect and an opportunity to develop itself to its fullest potential, including me. This can be achieved most effectively when the forces of our lives are in balance. Imbalance causes stress and a system in stress must compensate for that stress. This is the way of nature, whether it occurs in an ecosystem or a test tube or someone's life. My body and mind are ecosystems in themselves and need to be kept in balance. This balance is not a steady state, but a fluid, living thing that requires adjustments from time to time."