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bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

No advice column.

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bird poops on plum branch
Dear Fantastic Whale at the end of the universe eating an ice cream cone and standing on a stack of turtles that go all the way down,

I learned something about energy yesterday (or rather last night, at about 1am, at Linda's), about how there are two kinds of energy in us/me... the kind that can be given away freely and happily, and the kind that, if given away, turns into resentment.  That second kind of energy isn't easy to regenerate (hence the resentment) but it lives in our core and gives us our sense of self-worth.  The first kind is love, good intentions, favors, generosity, etc.  The second kind is sense of self, confidence, motivation, happiness.  In the social world, people will give and take energy from us, and we have to make sure we give and take the right kind.  Giving energy away and taking it in is one of the joys of life.  Give away all the free, lovey, kind, give it all away until it's all gone because it will come back fast, but as soon as it dips into the expensive, internal, kind, stop.  Don't give it away, don't let it get depleted, because the recipients of that energy will end up making you feel resentment and you will feel drained and unhappy.  And I have to be careful about realizing that I need to remember to stop the energy before it gets self-destructive.  And also realize that there's a whole lot of the first kind of energy and that it's totally okay to give all that away all the time forever and ever.


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That is truly brilliant. As I read it I kept thinking to myself, I totally get that . I often wonder that about me. I give and give all the time, and I can remember when there were instances in various relationships of various natures that changed. When I began to feel resentment. Once again, you have given me food for thought.

i'm glad you understand about this. in my family, or w/my sisters anyhow, we call it ch'i, life force, what leaves you depleted and resentful when you've given it all away. keeping your ch'i, or making sure not to give away all your life force, is really important. i think i've gotten good about managing it, well, up until recently when i realized my balance at mcleod was a little off, but i can figure it out all again as long as the people around me understand that's how i need to work. you know? anyhow, it helps to know you understand.

yeah, i am starting to understand... there's a lot more to understand... but i think this is what i was trying to understand when we talked about self-destructive versus self-sabotaging... i think i have a whole lot of energy to give, and it's all healthy and good (even in a way that really tires me out) until it starts taking some from the ch'i section of energy. and it's not selfish to protect that energy. i'm ready to understand more. we are learning from each other and that makes it all work. hi lele.

Well, whatever kind of energy you sent my way last Thursday, I really appreciated it. I hope that I can return the favor sometime. Let me know.

Thanks! It was good seeing you, and I hope things start swinging back for all of us soon. I'd still be up for a drink anytime.

This makes total sense. I can sense that transition, too, but never really was able to put it into words. Thanks!

i entirely agree. and yet there are questions. the first kind can be given freely, you're right. the second kind can be given and regretted. and yet, aren't there times when we've all had the benefit of someone giving of the core, the self, the soul, the confidence, and it's been important? i'm thinking mainly of parents. it seems it would be impossible to be a good, average parent and not sacrifice a lot of what would otherwise be your energy of self-sufficiency. parents will argue to the end of time that they get much more than they put in, because they're so goddamned in love with their children. and yet, aren't they spending themselves to make us happen?

or, what about long-term relationships, specifically marriages, or maybe live-in situations? it is expected that you give the kind, generous, loving energy, but the ship also sails through your own, sacred, internal waters, causing you to give in ways you wouldn't otherwise, which you may recognize as depleting you of yourself. do you then retreat? resent? get fat? drink more? cheat? divorce? or, just not commit in that way in the first place in order to maintain that sense of self?

i've had some time to think lately about the notion of giving of oneself, and it seems to me that when the second kind of energy is required, in small amounts, to keep things on track, it should be available for the giving. to a degree... it isn't about compromising who you are, but it is about compromising with someone who is *not* you, which seems to inherently involve getting far enough outside your own comfort zone that you're expending draining energy. you're maybe even unhappy for a time. but can there be a return on that kind of expense, also?

i think you're on to something. i think the second kind of energy is worth spending in certain situations. it's self-destructive in some ways, and leads to confusion and dizziness and weakness, but maybe the resentment only occurs when it isn't returned in kind with someone else's second tier energy. so, the first kind can be given without much expectation of return (maybe just appreciation) and the second needs to be returned in some form (some healthy some not)... mutual love, dependence, etc. maybe codependence describes a situation where second level energy is being shared between people but where they're sort of locked into this very fragile state that requires every ounce of energy to be returned with dire consequences. i don't know though... maybe the metaphor also falls apart a little if you push it too far. thanks a lot! :)

maybe, perhaps, one of the tricks is to be aware of the different energy varieties and sources, and try to recognize when someone is giving you the second kind (maybe not as easy to recognize as when you are giving it away yourself), and showing proper reverence for it.

as for your codependence model, no definition has ever made more sense to me.

I was thinking about this some more on the bus today and think that maybe second level energy is that energy we exchange when we feel that we have given a part of ourselves to someone else. All that one with another person stuff. Personally invested, emotionally invested, tightly bound, etc. It can be invested healthily into family, significant others, etc, and it can be invested unhealthily in people that don't respect you or don't respect themselves or whatever.

And yeah, I think the trick is knowing which thing is happening, and knowing where and when to draw lines and cross lines. Because being 100% invested is sometimes the best thing you can do and sometimes the worst thing you can do.

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