True or False Self

You may be a wonderful doodlekit…,” a possibility I had not considered, ever. I was, however, considering what Mark Nepo calls the “never-ending task of deciding to whom we entrust our life: our True or False Self.”

But before I deliberated on “doodlekit”—whatever or whoever that might be—Cooper provided a possibility for my current struggle with my two selves, True or False.

Mark Nepo and Mira

Like any sensible being—canine or otherwise—Cooper is omnipresent to life in the now. In my last post, Trailblazing, I wrote about Cooper being ill and my glimpse of the road to the Rainbow Bridge or my False Self interjecting what may be but not what is.

In this moment in northern Florida, the humidity has dropped to 38% from over 90% and temperatures are high 40s with wind. It’s a cold, dry day, the kind that favors Cooper’s health, and he’s for it.

Dog ramp in tow, out the door we go for our ride. I open the hatch of my Toyota Scion. Cooper waits for me to stretch out the ramp and put it into place before he completely clears the ramp, as if he were a pup again, soaring  into the back of the Scion. With wide open grin, he turns and walks down the ramp. He is still Cooper; his dream still is “going bye-bye in the car” as we always have.

We take our usual front seats–I drive–before I can put the key into the ignition, Cooper licks my face for more than a few minutes. Once we settle into driving, Cooper places his paw on my hand, a dog having his day. Being human, I can only think of how hard my False Self works to prevent what may be.

We arrive at Guyte McCord Park for our daily stroll.

Again, I remember my morning’s meditation with Nepo and Carl Jung. In a dream, Jung works ceaselessly to clear a path to nowhere and to no purpose, it seems, until he reaches a cabin in a clearing, whereupon he drops his tools, and enters through its open door. He sees a being kneeling in front of a simple altar. Soon, he realizes he is seeing himself and “…that his life of cutting a path was this being’s dream.”  He has cleared the path to his True Self, his soul.

Cooper and I stop to sit awhile in a favorite area. He checks out scent. I stay with my two selves, True or False; I think we’re onto something.

Other than these daily park outings, I am no longer able to travel. This has been true for the last three years, not bad after more than thirty years of living with lupus.  Honestly, I’m still discovering what an extraordinary gift my life is but I seem to explore it only within my soul.

Dave R Farmer Image
WANA Commons

My False Self—the one that works so hard at fixing/preventing what may be—recently agreed to extensive family travel plans, relying once again on a way of life that no longer is but may be????

For two months, I thrashed through one form of fear or another over this trip: worry, stress, irritability, stress, sadness, stress—seeking any way it might be, any way except facing my True Self.

Not content with a Cooper leap of faith or a Jungian dream, my False Self screamed, stomped and swore until my online Scrabble partner (everyone should have a Scrabble partner of such equanimity) suggested I consider a drink or two, wondering whether it “would hurt that much?” Oh, out of the Chat wisdom of Scrabble partners….

KM Huber Image

I met myself not with drink but with an open heart for what is and no longer for what was. It hurt, all, but the air is clear, now.

A cold, canine muzzle nudges the limp leash handle loosely hanging from my fingers. Cooper is ready to go “bye-bye in the car,” as always.

A wonderful doodlekit? Who knows?

Rhythm of ROW80 Sunday Scheduling:

The 30-minute writing stretches have improved the overall quality of the “words I keep.” The exercise provides a way to think through material for blog posts as well as novel scenes.

As Gene Lempp mentioned in his blog today, none of this writing happens without patience. In that spirit, this week I am establishing a writing routine specific to my blog posts. I’m finding that it’s too much of a Sunday-Wednesday “time crunch” to produce quality posts. So, beginning this week, I will have two blog posts in final draft form by each Sunday.

I continue to work on my novel, using Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering and Kristen Lamb’s concept critique.  Last Saturday, I submitted an overview of the novel to my concept critique group and received excellent comments. I will work some with scenes and plots points as possible this week. This is the first substantial writing progress I’ve made in the last four years.

24 thoughts on “True or False Self

  1. The self is an odd assortment, a whatnot collection gathered together in the mortal envelope of the body. I hope that when we shed that body which gives such joy and such sorrow we will finally see what is with clarity.


    1. I suspect that we will, and in that moment, realized what we have lost in mortality. This physical plane truly is the razor’s edge, and as hard as I try to appreciate it all, I know the moment that is is gone, I will miss it, which is not regret, just acknowledging.

      Lovely words, Adrian.


  2. I definitely got some great ideas from Story Engineering. It’s amazing to see how that plays out in fiction and TV shows and then apply the story structure to my own novels. Good luck with the blog posts. I tend to write on posts here and there throughout the week and then firm it all up and schedule posts on one day of the week. It’s worked for me thus far.

    Have a great writing week! I’m naturally a cat person myself, but that is one great-looking dog.


    1. Hi, Julie!

      Story Engineering really taught me to see scenes, and now, I can’t stop seeing them, literally! Of course, it does provide a new perspective. I never expected to love blogging, like it but not love it, so new worlds everywhere for me. Thanks for the blog post scheduling suggestion. I’m going to try it.

      Hope to see you here, again.


  3. Aw, I just fell in love with Cooper from reading this! What a wise and lovely boy.

    Your openness to considering both of your selves and your possibilities is inspiring. I love the way you don’t turn away from your False Self.

    And thank you for the link to the Concept Critique. I had missed that one.


    1. Thank you for commenting about Cooper; I assure you, he is worth every warm thought. Clearly, he has my heart completely. Also appreciate your encouragement in my daily dual with my selves. It’s never boring.

      Glad to provide the link to that particular post of Kristen’s. Truly, I think it’s one of her finest. Nice to see you here again.


  4. Beautiful post Karen. I only wish I had your wisdom and faith that being, just being ME can work out all right. I struggle daily with allowing myself to be me, as for my entire life I’ve been the sister, the daughter, the mother, the wife, the pet Mommy, the over protector not only of my own people, but everyone else. Now I’m facing things where it’s important to be me, and being all right with who that is. I so appreciate you encouragement and input. You are a great inspirer, thank you.


    1. You are so much wiser than you recognize, my friend, and you know I don’t say anything I don’t mean. Word by word, you are making your way. You are doing such a great job; being you is where peace lies.


  5. Everything leads back to being in the now and receiving unconditional love then sharing it forward. It sounds like you have that with your Cooper.

    I am glad things are going so well with your book. It sounds like you have the focus that you weren’t able to tap into before.

    I love reading your posts about Cooper!



    1. Finally, many words are really going to become a story; it’s been a circuitous route but always knew there was a story there. My Cooper and I are very much in love with each other and have been from the moment we met. It happens like that sometimes. I love writing about him now so I truly appreciate that you enjoy reading about him. It means a lot.


  6. Like you, I struggle, caught between what my head and heart have conjured, and the reality of life that stands so obstinately in the path of my hopes. As far as what will be, we are all navigating by touch; our future is impossible to see. But the present is here, right at our feet. It’s up to us to notice and appreciate the small every day joys, even as we struggle forward, one shaky step at a time. Sometimes we want to kick the fates in the shins and sometimes they deserve it, but it would be a shame to focus solely on the rain, and miss the greening of the grass.

    Thanks for the reminder, Karen. You center us with each thoughtful post.


    1. Such lovely words, Leigh, reminders all, in particular the greening of the grass. Saturday, with Cooper, it was the grass in which we both seemed most interested, for individual reasons and expectations. As we both know, some steps are shakier than others. Always good to read you here.


  7. Ugh… And please, excuse my saying “Kim”, Karen. I typed it (overtired) and hit post before I realized my mistake. I should know better than to type after midnight…. 😦


  8. I always feel that I’ve touched a deeper level in myself after reading your posts, Kim. I’m not sure what that really means yet, but it’s something that I know I should be considering as the next few weeks pass. And I’m sure it will serve me well. Thank you.


    1. Thank you for your words, Eden, for you are a woman of fine words and open heart. As trite as it may sound, I know we are all on a journey of many levels, the “sense” of which washes over us, and we just know but that is all. As writers, we work with words, maybe to find the sense of us. Always glad to see you here, Eden.



      1. Yes. You have something there in “As writers, we work with words, maybe to find the sense of us.” This sense is not as easily definable as the words we use, but it’s there, and I think we all feel it at one point or another. And the multitude of ways it manifests itself are glorious…when the writer becomes nothing more than a conduit for something beyond human existence.

        Though it doesn’t always make great fiction. 😀


    1. Welcome, Audrey!
      Curmudgeon that I am, I am really enjoying working with ROW80 but it’s discovering all the blogs that motivates, as you say. Hope to see you here again.



  9. Nice post. I am dog free, but not free of the ego, the “I” that isn’t as the Buddhists might say. But every day is another opportunity for further opening of the heart. Hang in there fellow sojourner.



  10. Aah; love this post! My lovely hubby had to hold the paw of our (now passed away) doggie as he drove. Dogs have the most sense of any being in this world! Glad you’re getting good feedback on your novel; long may it continue!


    1. Thanks so much, Jane. That Cooper, I may just learn to be. Feedback is so important and I’m fortunate in the critique group that has just started up: it’s diverse and authentic. It’s been years since I’ve been this excited about a critique group.
      Always nice to see you here, Jane.


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