Sunday, January 9, 2011

Traumatic Events: Hard lines, Soft Soft

This morning I feel bereft as I contemplate the shootings in Arizona that have killed several people and critically knocked a vital public servant off her feet for the inevitably long term, with unknowable recovery of her abilities to function after very serious brain injury. I look at the history of lost public leadership in my lifetime and understand that this kind of event can be quite provocative. Our nation has already allowed policies of national distrust to draw forth vitriol and hatred among us simply because we might see things differently, look different, think in a different mother tongue, have been born in a slightly different longitude.

I am the granddaughter of immigrants who fled to this country to save their lives and to enable them to achieve some semblance of their personal value rather than spend lives limited by oppressive regimes and prejudices. I can certainly see how it is that I both clamor to defend and glorify the country I live in, yet distrust any authority. Postures of power and control run on the dualities of promise or greed and fear or blame.

Most of my life I have been deeply drawn to participate wholeheartedly while at the same time harboring an equally deep distrust of that which draws me. I fell in love again and again, at least from the age of 4 when I first remember the texture of the cheeks of my new love in my half-day kindergarten class. My resistance to the war in Vietnam was all encompassing, whether feeding Veterans on Washington Mall, smothering myself and a friend to protect against teargas, building bathroom walls for the local county office of the "Student Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam Now," or reading everything published at that time to support my fierce arguments. It was equally important to me to try to change the way my high school taught important subjects as disassociated from living and doing, working strenuously to institute an experiment in hands-on learning within the wider community. My writing and working life has been mostly in this same all-or-nothing mode of operating. No one could be more impassioned about giving grants for public programs, or fairness in schooling, or even the benefits of a yoga practice.

Somehow my human nature continues to underline the duality of this reactive and attached behavior. In order to be persuasive, productive, needed, I have always carried the gene for tunnel vision right next the gene for distrust of structure and authority. Okay, perhaps even my own intellectual, sexual and personal structures have betrayed me in the past, drawing me deeply towards that which also hurts me, but certainly political activism will do that. I think that any deep drive to change towards a particular goal or need has that in it too. But the distrust is also a warning and leads to sabotage of purpose. The balance will remain elusive with this deeply divided way of understanding and being.

I apologize for all the moments when my actions have emanated from that dualistic posture, knowing it almost always caused harm. I am sorry that I, too, have at times zealously obscured truth or evolved selective deafness to the voices around me. I am grateful to be here, living long enough to just begin to understand this, hard as it is. My practice helps me find the truth, and allow it, breathing and connecting to a much larger awareness.

May we transition into a new way of being, find our way unimpeded by regret, bitterness, hatred, greed and delusion. Rest, heal, go in peace. May the suffering cease.

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