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When I was a child I was exceedingly passive. There was hardly any sense of self. I was simply a portion of a whole. I belonged to the Sherman family, was part of Karen and Rachel, belonged to my tiny missionary school and in a sense I saw myself as representing America on Japanese shores. I literally thought of "myself" in these lenses. I was heart broken at the thought of having in any way been linked to the horrible deaths of innocent people burned alive where they stood by atomic bombs. I had this thought when I was seven.

Compassion came to me like breathing back then. I can remember crying about my fellow classmates who I was not sure would end up in heaven as early as the age of four and all the way until I was 17. Gradually over time I developed a sense of my true self and with it came passions. I think the process truly gained speed when I finally left home at the age of 17 to go to a ridiculous Bible thumping college. I went there against my parent's will, you see. And my sister's dominating personality was removed far from me for the first time in my life.

I began to have wants, desires, thoughts all my own in no way attached to anyone else. Most of the time I kept my inner self hidden from view and stayed passive on the outside. I revealed myself to a few close friends at college. I still have this habit of hiding who I truly am and often it is reinforced by fierce rejections. Still overall after 30 odd years I am more myself on the outside than I ever was. There is much less hiding these days....just the rather particular things..the odd things are left in the dark.

There have been relationship casualties to this process though. Breaking apart can be painful and leave a shadow of once was in interpersonal relations. I have learned that I have a temper and a habit of saying imprudent and ridiculous things, particularly making promises about human interaction that are almost impossible to keep. I have this strong desire to not make waves and just belong again and it is accentuated by the sense of loneliness I get from my continued indulgence in my passions and delighting in my true self. So I end up being a typical example of a people pleaser even as I quietly keep my distance emotionally.

My family interaction is almost a joke. We go on acting as if we are close but we have huge chasms of not understanding each other and not knowing quite what to say without starting some argument. I have become the proverbial black sheep and it is truly ironic since I started out a little angel, always the one to be obsessively good.

To complete this journey I must find a way to perceive myself as part of a whole again, part of the entire human race connected together in a mass of existence, part of something even larger than that, a collective consciousness that reaches beyond life or death. Now that I have broken apart to birth passion I must reunite with compassion and community bringing gifts of beauty perception and diversity of experience. Finding a small community to interact with on a regular basis will help with this perception and growth. I must learn to balance passion with compassion, forgiveness with ferocity of desire, self with community.

In my lucid dreams I am a creature of joy sometimes rather careless and fierce in my dealings with the world I experience there. Lately there has been more of the super-ego. I've been helping more but often in a callous cold way. I've been forgiving more even while feeling afraid and disgusted. When the compassion I felt as a child comes as naturally to me in the dreaming sphere then I know I will have grown in the ways that I have desired and do desire.

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