Saturday, September 05, 2009

Norah and the Watchers

"It is here in the unwatched space that peace begins." --Mark Nepo

Have you ever experienced the paranoia of “the watchers” – the fear that everyone is watching you or worse still that no one is? I spent years shedding the notion that people were observing me and expecting me to fail or not live up to their standards. I learned that often people really don't care what you're up to as long as you don't get in their way. However, being raised under a highly critical eye helped me become finely attuned to those times when the watchers do show up. It’s a blessing and a curse.

I can’t always name it, but I know when something's amiss. I begin to feel it in my gut. Sometimes it starts elsewhere – a prickle of the skin – a twinge of the heart. I know something is going on, but I can’t exactly put it in words. I want to shrug it off – to deny the watchers are there - to hope for the goodness of others and deny the potential overreaction of myself.

For Buffy fans, you know that Giles is her watcher. He is there for Buffy’s safety, mentoring and training. In many traditions, God is known as watcher and protector. It is comforting to know others are watching on our behalf. But what about the other watchers – those who watch through fear-clouded orbs instead of eyes of the heart? At times, I am guilty of this clouded vision. If an issue is someone else’s fault, then I am absolved. It is much easier to blame our problems on others than to take personal responsibility. It seems that those watching for evil in others will find what they are looking for. My hope is that by opening our eyes to goodness it will also be found.

From time to time, my fine attunement tells me the watchers are present. Will they seek goodness or evil? Responsibility or absolution? My hope is that each of us will seek and find the unwatched space where peace begins - beginning with ourselves and then sharing it with others.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lucy, I am watching you because I love your blogs. I may be missing the point of this one about unwatched space, but I will ponder it. Since they found the little girl who was hiddend right under everyone's eyes in a neighborhood, I have been thinking more about what we look at but don't really see. In any event, watching others and thinking of them watching us makes me think and that is one thing I love about your blog. Thanks very much....I will continue to watch and it is all in love. Shalom, Laura

kigen said...

Lucy, thank you. Letting be, "unwatched space," trust in ourselves and others, is a wonderful call.

Tess said...

As a child (and also still a tad as an adult...) I wanted to be watched and developed a whole repertoire of showing off to try and make that happen.

But when it was inadvertent - that was different. I still remember my mother saying in a rare tone of irritation that no-one was looking at me. This was after the experience when I was around six years old of posing for a photograph with one sock pulled up and the other sagging around my ankle. I hadn't noticed and no-one had pointed out to me this sartorial disaster. I was simultaneously humiliated and furious.

Oh Lord. No-one was looking at me? Thank goodness. But... no-one was looking at me?????

kigen said...

Lucy, I take that back ((-:
it's not a wonderful call, it's a wonderfully impossible call.

Abbey of the Arts said...

thoughtful post as usual, love the Mark Nepo quote and hearing some of the story behind these ideas yesterday. Thought I'd let you know too that I did go home and watch "Sunshine Cleaning" and one of the two main characters is named Norah. (it was also a really lovely and heartbreaking film)

Gabrielle said...

I want this space to grow longer, the same way that I want the space between thoughts to grow longer.

SUNRISE SISTER said...

First, I notice that 3 (incl you) have seen the movie "Sunshine Cleaning" - such a nice, full of truth and life movie, sad, funny, reminder of the ordinary in life being important....

Second, the post brings all sorts of moments to my mind, the watching, the being watched, the wanting to be and the not wanting to be watched - it could become a theme for paranoia if we truly held in our hearts that we are being watched every moment by that outside of ourselves which many label as "God." And on the other hand, it can lead to the comfort of never being alone in a good way for the same reasons. Methinks I am rattling on but I like this post of awareness and presence and what we can do with this knowledge in our daily living.
xoxoxo

Country Parson said...

Try a little thought experiment over the next several days and put yourself in the role of watcher. I wonder if you will find the focus of watching to be something that fades in and out, moves around, and often becomes locked on something about another person for reasons related to some random thought or idle point of interest. Now consider yourself as the watched. I imagine that most of those watching are just random observers in whose lives you exist for just a moment or two. Some will fixate on something about you that has nothing to do with you but everything to do with them. A few, friends and loved ones especially, will find your presence a part of what makes their days full. I think the end of the experiment will show that we are always being watched, but randomly and not closely, and that for most people, even our existence is transitory. For close friends and loved ones, just the opposite. For God? What do you think?

lucy said...

laura--i am happy to have you here watching any day. i love your thought about "what we look at but don't really see". i read a quote today that said, "we are all more than we seem." so true yet so easily forgotten.

kigen--but let's keep after that call, huh? :-)

C--as you know, i adored watching Norah in "sunshine cleaning." funny how i met my own norah before watching that one. another little bit serendipity.

gabrielle--i'm with you on wanting both of those spaces to grow.

lucy said...

SS--reading your rambling is like entering into my own mind (where most often it is enjoyable as it was this time.) i had not seen "sunshine cleaning" at the writing of this post, but now have and highly recommend it. (amy adams is julie in "julie & julia". go see it!)

CP--(see last sentence.) i like your little experiment. i do do lots of watching in and out of my days. with casual acquaintances, it is as you say and another totally different think with those i love and care for. the unsettling part comes when those you hope love you seem to be watching for less than loving reasons. and i agree with your comment "Some will fixate on something about you that has nothing to do with you but everything to do with them." and God? i think i'm over the "big brother" image of God, AND it is still comforting to know there is a presence greater than I who just may be watching over and protecting me. gotta love the mystery!

SUNRISE SISTER said...

Oh I HAVE to see Julie and Julia now - Amy Adams is one of my favorite starlets!:)