Once upon a time, I had a rare gem of a friend; I lost them in what turned out to be a scorched earth campaign of fear and recriminations. On both sides, candidly. I think when I realized just how poorly and negatively they REALLY thought of me, it hurt so bad that I’d rather just live without them than continue to experience it.
And, like most humans, when hurt beyond words, actions became sharp as razors (words did, too, of course… which makes quite a mess of the prose, but if you’ve been there, then you know the sense I’m attempting to convey, even if it is impossible to convey the experience fully).
My life has unfolded like a skein; I have a long and storied history of abandonment and neglect, but that history doesn’t excuse me from striving to learn how to constantly push at the boundary between “hurt” and “healed”. I wish it did. This is hard work and I get tired.
It is a wholly human effort, I think. We all come into the world with innocence and pristine trust. We all discover that the “natural” ways of being are constantly beset by force from all sides; that the nature OF being is a constant ballet with our environment.
We find that some of us are Baryshnikov and others, the “Absent-minded Professor”. We’re not as good as some. We’re “better” than others. As if that actually matters. But we ALL dance because life is movement and cessation of movement is not.
Clumsy beings that we are, we stumble if the tempo changes too quickly; we lose our place or step on someone or are stepped upon by someone and, just like that, it’s all tooth and claw and territorial display and command/control and, “Oh no, you didn’t!”
The equivalent of leaping off the stage and into the closest gutter because, for that moment, it’s more important to return the strike than even to dance. So perhaps ‘battle’ as well as ‘ballet’, hmm?
On still rarer moments, finding ourselves once more out of step, out of time, or maybe in a heap on the floor, we have a realization:
If love is the thing we profess our greatest motivator, then any course of action that does not express this motivation, this intention, must be set aside.
Even (especially?) when it’s hard.
It is very hard for me right now. Harder still is the realization that ultimately, love is better expressed as not inflicting yourself, your wants, your demands on another human being. I’d like to say this is an ancient lesson but it is all too recurrent and much more frequently relevant.
On the upside, this work and effort does keep my perspective focused upon practice; only occasionally now do I have “the need” to explain something to myself in writing. I can also express and explain myself much better to others…. which effectively IS the progress toward a more caring, compassionate, inclusive, and pluralistic being.
Needless (??) to say, I’m not as good at it as I wish I were. Probably not as good at it as I “ought” to be for my age and experiences. Then again, who is? I don’t need another reason to kick my own ass around my mental attic, do you?