The inclusive brain is vast and far-reaching. It includes others, their needs, their imagined/felt experience. It includes the past and the future. It includes consequences, potential and imagined, of every action taken. It is guilty for past actions. It second guesses future actions. The inclusive brain is vast, far-reaching and full. Full of other people’s realities, stories, concerns, feelings. Full of worry about all the things that can, might, will go wrong. Full of big feelings–its own, and the empathy with the feelings of others. The inclusive brain looks to be interrupted from the outside. It is almost addicted to this kind of functioning. It wants the world to ask of it, to need it, to call it into action, into the present. The request from another catalyses and channels the scope of focus for the inclusive brain. It is a relief for a time. It is focusing. The rest of the time, the inclusive brain is at the mercy once again of being endlessly full and unfocused.
I remember so vividly the feeling of relief and liberation I felt when I was called out of the grade three type chapter book that I was reading in the kitchen around supper time. There was action around me, so much action, but I was barely aware of it. I was completely involved in my book, and I only realized it when my mother finally got my attention. It was a wonderful feeling, to have been in my own world, even as others were around. I remember going shopping for less than an hour when newborn ben was a few days old. I had just fed him, he was full, and asleep, and my mother was with him, so it was safe. I realized in the store that, for a few minutes, I had completely forgotten about being a mother. It was an awakening with intense guilt and horror at the potential consequences. Did I not want to be a mother? Did I not have what it takes? Did I not love my baby? How long would I have forgotten my baby for in the store? I did not yet realize that my very own breasts were “telepathically” connected to my child’s needs and they would tell me by aching and leaking when it was time to go to him. So even before my consciousness had adapted to the inclusive/invaded/interrupted brain of motherhood, my body would dramatically lead the way.
I am several months in to the mostly empty nest. I no longer feel like the ground beneath me is trembling. I will go many hours without worrying and feeling anxiety about my children every day. I will think of them, sometimes with pride, imagining them being themselves in their own worlds, on their own paths. But more and more often, I have the chance to think of them as people in my story. I think about them as a part of my life path, as major and special characters. It feels like I, Alison, and getting bigger, and taking up more and more room. And I am. I am taking over the whole house. I am moving through the whole city. I feel some degree of dread or resentment when I have more than two clients in a day. I relish my days off. I am getting rid of stuff to make more room. Luc said, looking at the book wall “you lost weight!” And yes, I lost weight. I am actually losing body weight as well, at the same time as taking up more space. The last thing I want is to feel closed in by people, by clients, by busyness, by stuff.