Perhaps that is not the best way to begin a post. There always seems to be a measure of sarcasm, tinged with irony and foreboding anxiety when someone uses those words. Perhaps the better way to begin would be, Think it Through. Rationally. Or Think. It is through, rationally. Hmm. Maybe not. Maybe it is just this: Breathe. Think. Choose.
I seem to be surrounded, lately, by the harried and the marvelous, trying to be the best people they can be and worried beyond belief in the process. It eats at them, doing the right thing and then being torn apart for it. Perhaps it is on the perception of being torn apart that afflicts them; a flurry of terrible shades and sanity-testing wights appearing at the front door, waiting to bury themselves in couch pillows and under rugs. It’s the potential of pain that causes us the most pain, isn’t it?
It’s more than that, though. I think we don’t give each other enough space, enough credit, enough credence. How rare is the kind word when the person isn’t there to hear it? How special is it to hear that you’ve done a good job, or that person has a large heart and good intentions? We are so worried about that which isn’t right, and trying to make it right, that we forget to give ourselves – and maybe others – the space to be real, to be awful, to be… human. To be imperfect and yet, perfect. Tenderness and consideration are not for the weak. They are for all of us.
We live in very insulated culture, here in America. We worry about things that probably have little value in the rest of the world. That, out there, is the place where people are fighting for their lives day and night, fighting for food and shelter, for decency and respect in just being human, a woman, or a different religion. There is a real threat of rape, murder, starvation, disease, and injury. Here, we get angry if the wifi on our plane flight isn’t working. I won’t say that what we worry about is trivial… but when you are dodging mortar shells, you’re not really worried about how you pissed off your boss that day. We turn on a tap and have hot water and worry about fluoridation. We didn’t carry that water, possibly full of microbes and disease, for five miles so we could drink tomorrow, dodging rebel tribesman along the route. All our human reactions, fight or flight, are no less affecting; it is merely the consequences of the actions, the end result, which ranks different in scale. We are both running for shelter midst the bombs going off near our heads.
Relativity isn’t merely a theory.
I feel like I have walked near the rocky emotive cliff today with at least three individuals, holding their metaphorical hand as they swung out precariously over rocks and trees. The cliffs are full of dangerous pointy words, precarious feelings, and dodgy emotions. I feel honored, and a little taken aback, to be the place where the crampons are embedded. I don’t feel that strong myself at times. And there is a part of me that takes a giant brain sucking leap outside myself and looks back at these situations. When did I get so detached? Am I really detached? What if this was me? Where do I place my footholds? I do my best to hold the ropes and, at the same time, teach them how to climb back up by themselves. One gets tired if one is always pulling things from the ledge, no?
And so, if it was me, I do ask… What if I fall? Who will catch me? Better yet… what if I fly? What does the ground look like and if I walk away from it, is it always a good landing? What if I don’t walk way? What… would I want me to say to myself?
Perhaps it is the time and time again of having to haul my emotional self up off the floor that has taught me to experience and observe through distant eyes, taught me to stand aside, beside, perspective and ask, “where can it all go from here?” I’ve found myself unafraid to look into the abyss of loneliness, fear, failure, heartbreak, sadness, desperation, and even death. I swum in those pools and felt what it was like to get out of them. To dry off. To look at the surface of them and remember the feeling of being in their waters. Whether it is the fear of a painful death, or the passing of a beloved friend, or the sadness and desperation of failure, I know there is another side. Even death has a purpose and a meaning, if you would really observe it in its truest form. I do think, a lot, about the “what if’s?” I would like to think that I have the grace to follow through, to really do it, whatever “it” is, to get out of a situation. And then… I realize that I have. All those times of climbing back up the rope myself, have taught me that it can be done. It can be fixed. It can live beyond the “bad.” It will be different. I will be changed. But it will work. Have I faced great challenges? Heck, I don’t know. They felt enormous to me. And that, I realize is exactly the point.
Everyone, every one of us, is a story to be told, has a story that they hold, and has had challenges. None of us is unique in this. And yet, all of our stories are unique. Singular. Interesting. Perfect.
All challenges are great in our lives and we cannot judge the scales by which each of us receives our Judgement. When our hearts are measured on the great golden scales after we pass on, it is not against the heart of another human being; it is against the Feather of Truth and Harmony. The only measure of my life, my trials, and my actions is against how I conducted myself – not how they fit against another. The journey of this life is in my own heart and mind, of what I create and whom I serve. How bad can it be? It can only be as bad my mind will make it out to be, and only so good as my mind creates. Perhaps that is the core of my detachment, the space to think about how I choose to make the situation manifest, and how I choose to approach it. Will I have not learnt that which is not? What will be my outcome? What will I choose?
And do I have the courage to Choose Again?