Some days, no matter who we are or what our circumstances, are fragile. Some days, for each of us, require such gentle handling that we perch on the precipice of falling, at risk even to the mildest of stimuli.
So let us be gentle with each other--even when we're having the easiest, the fiercest of days, we never know what fragility, what gremlins lie in wait for those we come across.
Many of us have learned the hard lesson of putting on a brave face, a calm face even in the midst of great battles.
I have never liked being told what to do, not that that will come as a surprise to any of my regular readers (or friends, for that matter). But at the same time, I have bent over backwards, compromised myself and my intuition more times than I care to admit in order to keep people happy or (maybe worse) to fit in, to be liked.
I'm sure it's a habit common to so many of us here. But every time it's happened, every time I said yes or even maybe when I really wanted to say no, well, a little of that rebelliousness gets up, dusts itself off, and stalks away in search of someone with more willingness, more backbone, more confidence in herself.
Because that's what it comes down to, isn't it? Confidence. Confidence in who we are, faith in our intelligence and our innate beauty, in our charm and in our very right to exist. I don't care what we were taught or what politeness dictates--it's high time we took up space, asserted ourselves despite how the world/media/history has dictated...
I think I've decided to rely on full disclosure more often than not. You know, when appropriate. Perhaps if I stop acting as if something isn't bothering me when it is, when asked, I'll tell the truth. Perhaps we're all alike in our neurosis, that as different as they may be from one another, they don't need to separate us. Perhaps, if we could speak them aloud, we'd all fit like a puzzle, filling in strength where others lack it, shoring up worries by those who have been where we are.
Perhaps if we were all just simply, and without drama, transparently honest with each other, we'd all sleep better at night.
It's a necessary practice, and one we engage in annually because it is so healing, because it is so uniting. And not just uniting us with each other, but with ourselves, with the cellular memory of what it was like, once, to be taken care of and loved utterly and without condition.
How we got here is important information. But it's how we move forward, gathering what we've learned, cradling our empathy and carrying our compassion on our backs that dictates how we (all) will live from here.
I wake up every morning, hoping things will be different, better--but never expecting it. I think, perhaps, that's where I'm going wrong. Even if we don’t get it, if we could only genuinely expect the best from ourselves, from this day, certainly that would make us a more deserving legacy for those who, with so much less certainty, hoped for so much more.
We tend to be rather self-absorbed which, really, is just human nature. We live in these bodies day in and day out, so naturally, they tend to rank high on our list of concerns. But that self-absorption so often manifests, not as self-reflection, but as self-obsession, constant comparison, anxiety, depression, vanity.
But I think if we were to allow ourselves those momentary lapses, laugh them off, then push them aside to see what really resides in our heart, then we can forgive ourselves anything and move on.
Maybe we just might discover we have as much interest in another's heart as we do our own.
One of my favorite little self-checks before opening my big mouth is this: Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? The first is easy. The second, though it seems quite clear, can be deceptive without a habit of investigating our motives, but that can be learned with a little patience and a lot of time.
But it's that last one that makes this equation so very vital for peace-keeping, for keeping the kindness train on track. Is it sometimes necessary to speak up, to speak your mind? Oh, hells yes. Can you do it in the most truthful, most soul-revealing (and therefore kind) manner possible? Ditto on the hells yes. At times, some words are very necessary.
But other times? How necessary is your opinion to the world? To the person in front of you? Will it change anything? Or are you needled and needing to instigate a little friction? Here's where we boil it down to the bones--our intention, our motivation. All it takes for peace in this world, I'm convinced, is a pause. A...
I call myself a hermit and, compared to most people in my circle, that's probably accurate. But interdependence is essential to a healthy ecosystem, humans included. What becomes dangerous or, at least, damaging, is when we begin to craft our mini-societies around the core of our personality, our individuality--either to highlight or to obscure it.
If we bury ourselves in another--group or individual--then we're, at best, as good as useless--nothing more than a worker bee answering, often with relief, to orders; or, at worst, we allow ourselves to become absorbed, body and soul, into the person/group/cause until we forget that there was once a tall timbered center here--independent and life-giving, now nothing more than another log rotting in the forest.
On the other hand, if we set ourselves apart--out of fear, frustration, exhaustion, distrust, or ego--that independent, tall timbered center takes over, petrifying itself until we've become unbending, unmoving, unable to leave the cave...
We have seen, again and again, war after war--whether national, international or a feud between landowners, neighbors, and property lines--ownership and his big brother, nationalism, can be a dangerous narcotic. The whole we-were-here-first argument doesn't wash. The plants roll their eyes, the animals gnash their teeth, and the insects decide then and there on a new plague, a new plot to bring down whatever divine-right-come-lately has landed.
But I've got nothing against home, and I've got nothing against safe-keeping that home. But I do have something against violence. I do have something against 'divine right.' I do have something against selfishness, against greed, against excess. Generosity, welcome, trust before suspicion, and an ability to **share** what one has--this is the fine print that comes along with ownership.
You see, you hold resources that are far, far older than you. These resources house food, medicine, wildlife, birdsong, soil, water, hills tha...