The idea of a surplus of goods was not present in my family so even as adults we bicker and fight over who has more in their pile. At Christmas when we were kids we would each carefully count our pile of presents and then compare the number to other siblings instanting creating familiar pain inside ourselves. Many in my family are so angry and hurt they live their lives in this same way: still looking to see who has the most gifts in their pile. Sometimes I buy into this behavior. Sometimes I don’t. Things have gone so far down the road that many of us don’t even speak to eachother. One family member is in charge of this non speaking policy and carefully monitors all the others to make certain it is obeyed. I am always curious as to where her power comes from and I often see it is all of our fear of abandonment. Like animals, if we are fearful, we are vulnerable and lash out and try very hard to be the one who has the biggest weapon. I doubt there will be a disarmament policy in my lifetime and I pin my hopes on the next generation. This time of year when our hearts are open some in the family look for weapons and some look for love. I know that is why I work as a healer and isn’t it funny I have no power to heal the childhoods of my family?
No matter how I try I can’t escape it! That abandonment demon that sidles up to my shoulder, places her hand on my head, whispers ever so softly in my ear, ” You are alone again!”. Each time I realize I have again involved myself with another person who is incapable of intimacy, who is an alcoholic, who is emotionally removed, who can’t truly love me, I have to look at the amazing wall I have created around myself. I am actually a very creative builder: I use any raw material I can find: tears, anger, hate, joy or even ectascy. Like the little pig who built his house of bricks, mine is impenetrable. As I become “an older woman” , I am taking down the wall. It takes time. I have to move each piece far away to a recycling place where other defensive woman leave their debris. I have to carefully choose which brick I can remove without making the whole wall tumble. This work is tiring. Sometimes I give up and rest in the shadow the wall creates. Sometimes I am so excited at the deconstruction I race to the finish. Mostly I try to look at each brick and imagine who made it, how they did it, and if there was any joy.
Last night I had dinner with an inspiring man. Actually a well known, inspiring man yet I knew nothing about him prior to the event. I found him inspiring to look at from the moment he walked into the room and when I was seated next to him at dinner I felt as if I had known him always. Now, some people might find this a fanciful statement, yet I believe there are those people we come across in our lifetimes whom we have known before, in other lifetimes. I knew I had known this man before and wanted to take his hand and walk out into the city and sit somewhere in a cosy corner and find out what his life had been like in this lifetime as I felt I knew about the others. All of this in about one minute came and went in my mind and I think I am lucky to be able to believe in dreams and other lives as in doing this I am able to understand these odd situations I sometimes find myself in. A connection with someone is magic and a great gift and I am content with that. In the light of day I have learned the man is a well known hero of sorts, a great negotiator, as well as a passionate healer in the world. I am not surprised. I am glad I am traveling these days with an open heart and a path that seems to direct itself.
When I began to watch the news last evening about India I was transfixed: it seemed so frightening to me that a place like Mumbai or a hotel like the Taj would be under attack. The video’s of people struggling to find a safe place and the recorded sounds of gunfire and explosions were terrifying to watch. At first it seemed unreal and very far removed from our daily lives, but then a reporter who was from India stated calmly that the attack was as if a band of terrorists had entered time square, shot our civilians and forcibly entered the Plaza Hotel(or the equivalent as it no longer exists). When I heard her say this I was almost paralysed by the understanding that she was correct. The world we live in today is not safe anywhere and nothing can be taken for granted. Just as some day, when I have grandchildren, I will tell them of the time when we were able to stand under running water in the shower for hours if we wanted, I am certain we are watching on television things that will become more and more common. We are living in a world where differences seem monumental and borders , though blurred, create rage and fear among groups of people. Just as water will become a luxury we can no longer waste, so will the assumption that peace and safety are a natural and deserved part of our daily lives. As Americans we have been sheltered from war but not terrorism. As Americans we have been less than mindful in spreading our peacemaking philosophy throughout the world. Now is the time to try harder to do this by developing compassion towards others and spreading that compassion to everyone around you. There is an article in the New York Times this morning written by Nickolas Kristof about the bravery of some woman called “The Bravery of Heroes”. I think everyone should read this piece as it inspires those who do to get involved in unjust and violent behavior. I think we need to begin right now.
The funniest thing about life is the jokes you don’t get for a long time. The funniest joke to me is the fact that we really have no control over anything, least of all ourselves. I have spent so much time worrying about what I said or did and how it would affect someone else. What that other person thought of me, how I could change what that other person thought of me. Tonight I was reading Warren Buffet’s new biography, which is very interesting by the way, and he spoke of how one is scripted in life: whether it be from the outside or the inside. If on is scripted from the inside one lives life for oneself: the achievements are noted and taken in by one’s own psyche. Most parents raise kids to be scripted by the world in terms of what achievements mean and what is important. We praise our kids for accomplishing things that are meaningful to the community rather than encouraging kids to find what is meaningful to them. Many really successful people I have known are interested only in what they look like to the world: they have little inner life nor have they developed real relationships with others. They are always moving on from successes looking for the next thing they “should” do for their lives to look really good. I am really trying to learn what makes me proud of myself and then enjoy it when it happens.