Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bear With Me

I am all about balance. I'm the middle kid - the peacemaker in my family. Chocolate is one of my dearest friends, but I adore broccoli and brussel sprouts and tomatoes and grapes, too. Whole grains? Bring 'em on. Full-fat cheeses? Mmmm, yummy. Finding balance is an obsession for me. Normally. Call me a Libra.
However, I'm at the tail end of the Libra calendar - close to Scorpio-ness. Which means I'm also passionate and idealistic. And when it comes to injustices I throw the balance out with the bathwater and the whole damn tub. Give me justice or listen to me lecture. And cry. And scream. And follow you around until you see the world from my point of view.

All of this means that I wish I had a vaccine that would rid the world of certain horrid things. Topping my list of abhorrent vices is sexual abuse. As I struggled to keep up with my dog on our walk yesterday I began to acknowledge that in all reality, I need to sprinkle all of this with a dash of Libra to temper the Scorpio. Sexual trauma is perpetuated exponentially in cycles. The vast majority of people who victimize others by molesting or raping them were victims themselves. They learned that the way to maintain power was to become the abuser. They were taught that power was the objective. They embraced this lesson in a desperate act of self-preservation.

As my stomach twisted around itself my mind slowly and methodically began working at the knots. Believing in some utopian reality where sexual abuse no longer exists is useless. Turning my back on it because of this is equally as useless. Is it possible for me to find some balance here? Can I work to help create a place where there is less sexual powerlust and have that be enough for me? Can I accept that I will not change the world in some dramatic fashion but be satisfied knowing that I have changed one person's experience for the better?

As the day and night wore on and I continued to wedge my fingertips through the twists and turns of this knot I found myself picking up Lin Jensen's book "Pavement." Here is his take on my struggle:
"The world has a place for each of us that no one else can fill. I try to remember that when I find myself in some place where I'd rather not be. Maybe I don't want to be standing in line with my bag of groceries waiting to be checked out, or turning the compost heap on a hot afternoon with sweat soaking my shirt and trickling into my eyes....But if this is where I am, then this is where my life is taking place at this moment. It's not that I couldn't do something different....It's just that whenever I resist present circumstances, I'm resisting my own life. ... It doesn't really matter much whether I like being here or not. What matters is that I be faithful to the life I'm given and not forfeit myself in its rejection. ... To be truly and wholly present even for the present moment is to be vulnerable, without defenses of any sort. It is here that the boundary that fear constructs between myself and others dissolves. The heart is drawn out of hiding and the inherent sympathetic response called compassion arises. I cease seeking my own personal happiness at the expense of others because I see that the suffering of others is my suffering was well...In my actual life, the nation is at war and people are dying because of that. I wish with all my heart that it were otherwise. I wish my country and its people were known for their qualities of mercy and kindness rather than for their reliance on the use of force. I might rather remain in the seclusion of my own house and read comforting novels by Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy....But I've chosen instead to show up for life as it is, to bring whatever gentleness I can manage to the streets of my town, where anyone and everyone can see that I'm here."

'Nuff said.


My Own Woman said...

Are you able to give me an exact date when I will arrive at the same place Lin Jensen has arrived? I thought for so many years that I've been on the pavement, but instead, a lot of the times instead of being on the pavement, I think I've hit the pavement......hard.

I like what Jensen has to say. I just need to get there.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Like the Dalai Lama says (you can call him H.H., I do), "Let love, peace and compassion be your religion."

We must seek first to understand, THEN be understood.

Should I go on and on, or do you get the idea that I agree with you and Lin Jensen?

Anonymous said...

Compassion....I like what Lin Jensen says, it helps me make peace and manage my inner anger and frustration and tears. Yet, sometimes it is just so hard to get there...or I should say stay there. I do believe it is the right way, and I keep trying, but I feel I am tested frequently. However, I will never give up!!
Thanks you my friend, for a beautiful post, one I will reflect on for a while.

Scott from Oregon said...

"To be truly and wholly present even for the present moment is to be vulnerable, without defenses of any sort."

I agreed with almost everything, but I did not agree with this. If you are present and accepting of your place in life, then you are, in no means vulnerable. You are at your least vulnerable. You have your full power and nobody can penetrate that power unless you let them.

Deb Shucka said...

More food for thought from two master chefs of words. Thanks, Kari!

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