Tuesday, March 2, 2010


When they were building the walls,
How could I not have noticed?
But I never heard the builders,
Not a sound,
Imperceptibly they closed me off
From the outside world.

~ Constantine P. Cavafy

Cavafy articulates something that happens to all of us.  Your complicity with other people’s images and expectations of you allows them to box you in completely.  It takes a long time to recognize how some key people on your life’s journey exercise so much control over your mind, behaviour, and actions.  Through the image they project onto you or through the expectations they have of you, they claim you.  Most of this is subtle and works in the domain of the implicit and unstated subtext; it is, of course, all the more powerful for not being direct and obvious.  When you become conscious of these powerful builders and their work of housing you in, something within you refuses to comply; you begin to send back the building materials.  There is no planning permission here, thanks for the kindness!  Such projection and expectation is based on their fear and the need to control.  Expectation is resentment waiting to happen.  In contrast, friendship liberates you.

~ John O’Donohue
 from Eternal Echoes