Sunday, February 22, 2015

Finishing the thought bracelets

Dobra Teahouse
Taste of Kashmir tea
Medicine Ball (dessert thingy... it has chocolate)

Let's see, quick update...

I've been sick.  I got the flu on Valentine's night.  It's alright.  Greg had already passed out on the couch while I was putting the boys down.  Yay, parenting!  I'm still recovering, though.  The active being sick part is pretty much done, but things have not cleared out and I'm all eeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh...  Hopefully, tea will help.

I'm also plodding away with the book stuff when I can get time alone with the computer.  People often think that if you're a stay-at-home parent you get all this extra time to work on stuff.  Totally not true.  Maybe some people can do that, but I think it requires different kids.  Or different furniture.  And additional people.  At any rate, it's not good think time when I can actually sit in front of a screen uninterrupted.  It's still distracted time, because I'm still "on deck" ready to break up a fight or wipe a bottom or argue over whether or not it is actually snack time.

It's also a problem that I still don't have a computer - this is Greg's, and I have to pry him off of his own computer if I want to get any work done, and by then it's later than I should be up.  And that's how someone who "doesn't work" can only write for a couple of hours one day a week and get no sleep.  Ever.

But you still do it.  There's a Rumi quote that goes, "If all you can do is crawl, start crawling."  Which is a lot more poetic than my, "Go stand on your treadmill!"

Some explaining.

Once upon a time, I bought a used treadmill with my little tax refund.  And like most home treadmills, it mostly sat around and did nothing.  It was in the living room corner, and I would look at it and think, "I should be walking on that thing, but I really don't want to put on shoes... or real clothes.  I hurt.  I'm tired...  I don't wunna."  So I made a deal with myself: every day, I would just get up and stand on it.  Often with no shoes, no shirt (the curtains were closed).  But I would get up there and stand on it.  And if I got up there and stood on it, I'd probably start walking for a little bit.  And if I was going to walk, then I'd walk for five minutes.  And if I walked for five, I knew that I could walk for 12 minutes, because that was usually when my body would finally start to feel okay and I could walk for the 20 minutes I was supposed to walk.

So all I had to do to walk for 20 minutes was to stand on my treadmill.  All the work was done in the standing.

There are two kinds of energy I learned in school: potential and kinetic.  Potential - static, contained, waiting.  Kinetic - moving.  Energy in motion.  That's what I want myself to be.  No more waiting, no more same cycle repeating.  I want to be living.  And when it comes to friction - the force that opposes motion - static friction is the hardest to overcome.

And that brings me to tattoos!  I got some more.  While I was contemplating what words or quotes I wanted to finish the thought bracelets around my wrist, I gravitated towards three words I had tweeted for the new year in 2014: Peaceful. Kinetic. Wise.  But another word struck me and resonated: Lovingkindness.  It's actually a particular meditation for Buddhists, focusing on developing and practicing sincere love for all human beings.  So, also for the sake of spacing, I settled on "Kinetic~Lovingkindness" on my left wrist.  With a treble clef and an 8-point star (from an Eric Carle book) to divide it from the "Bliss in the Is..." phrase already there.

So what went on the right wrist?  The second sun from the Moby doodle (I also recolored the first sun), and Rumi.  Not the quote from above, but another one in Arabic script.  Why in Arabic?  First, space availability.  Second, it's lovely script.  Third, it deepens the meaning of the translation which is (I really hope, Google Translator), "Every story is us."

All of us have a unique story.  No matter how similar to another, it is always in some way different.  And that is why there is always some value in every single human story.  And yet, we are all human.  We are all made from the same star stuff.  Even though we cannot all live the same story, we all share in each other's story.  We are all born with our own unique genetic make-up, surrounded by the environment and people that will shape us.  So we can't say when you look at another person that you, as you were born, could have actually become that other person.  And yet, every other person on this earth, I consider to be another manifestation of myself.

No matter how grand and benevolent and peaceful and wise...  And no matter how brutal, how truly evil and inhuman...  In some way, they are mine.  Because a human being is a human being is a human being.  I happen to be this human, but the stuff that made me, made them, too.  And that's all very difficult, especially staring into the eyes of someone truly evil.  I don't want to own them.  But I feel that I have to.  I have to own their story, too, or I can't see them.  And if I can't see them, I can't understand.

My husband and I diverge on this point.  He, like many, was deeply affected by the September 11th attacks.  But he has no interest in understanding why someone would want to fly a plane into a building and slaughter innocents.  He just wants to see them gone.  Gone from the face of the earth so they can't hurt anyone else.  And if Hell exists, so much the better, because it's waiting for them.  He does not believe in changing minds, he does not believe it is possible.

I, on the other hand, think the most important thing we can do is understand why someone would fly a plane into a building.  Because we make ourselves monsters, and if we don't understand why, then we will simply keep making more.  I cannot imagine myself having the impulse to do something like that, but I have to try to think that this person who did this is also me.  What would it take to bring me to that place?  How could we un-make that monster?

Every story matters.  Every story of suffering, of tragedy, of success, of mediocrity... it all matters.  Truth, insight comes from anyone, anywhere, in every tongue.  Every story, every perspective... it all has value.  If we didn't think the stranger's story was about us, would we listen?

This may be easier for me because I am a very sensitive, empathetic person.  And I kinda thought everyone understood that we are all connected to each other.  But then I was reminded by a really terrible adaptation of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" that some people are not born with this understanding, or are talked away from it.  If Ayn Rand wasn't a biological sociopath, then her early childhood experiences certainly pushed her that way.  That woman had zero empathy, and also zero understanding of those who do.  It's not social control to say that we're all connected and cannot be wholly selfish beings.  She just swung way too far to the other end of the spectrum.

But even her story is mine.  She wasn't wrong about everything she wrote about, though I disagree with most of her stuff that is wielded like a cudgel against anyone who isn't a "successful entrepreneur" or whatever you want to call the  selfishly rich.  Not people who are rich.  Just the rich who believe in elitist thinking and the relative worth of human beings, and therefore manipulate the system to protect and increase their own wealth and influence.

Oh, what a bunch of poppycock.

Come, have tea with me, those of you who think I'm wrong, who think you know who I am... who do not know I am you, too.  I may not change your mind, but perhaps, you may just begin to see me, and to see yourself here, on the other side of the table.

Much love.  Hippy - out!

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