"We are all here on earth to help others; what on earth others are here for, I don't know." W.H. Auden
What the hell are the others here for?
Just kidding, they're here to do the right thing, too. Whether or not they choose to do so. Well, that's just not your problem now is it?
Don't we all wish sometimes, someone stronger, braver, older, with more authority would just swoop in and do stuff for us?
Don't you? Or are you just dying to do everything by yourself, stay up all night drinking coffee, researching your rights on the internet, all while giving yourself an ulcer you won't soon recover from.
Life is hard sometimes. It's going to get harder if you keep running away.
Wisdom always comes from the most unlikely places. For example, when I was maybe 20 in college, there was this grocery store clerk, her name was Danielle. She told me the story of her life, which I'll save for another time, but the punch line was, "Life will keep handing you, back to you, until you figure it out."
I thought about it at the time, but I didn't really apply it to anything. I didn't think I had anything to apply it to. At the time, I was perfectly content to keep running away from my problems. I mean there was a great big world to see anyways right? I could just keep going and going and.. you probably know how this ends.
See, at some point, you're going to have to face yourself, challenge yourself, good, bad, ugly, against all odds and opposition, full of anger and doubt and who knows what else.
I'm not exactly talking about epic sagas but it'd be cool if your life were an epic saga. Well, I guess in a way, all our lives are pretty epic, I mean The Odyssey was just a story about a guy getting back to his wife.
I'm talking about the common evils in the world. The things you know happen, but don't think they'll have to happen to you. When they do may you think, "Well, these things happen," or "Life isn't always fair." Thereby asserting your powerlessness in the situation.
I mean, you could step out of the way and make it someone the next guy's problem. You could, yeah, that's an option.
"Your life lessons are repeated, until they are learned."
I saw that on Facebook.
My life lesson in this instance is, being the scapegoat. When I see an injustice I do everything, but the logical thing. Meaning pounding fists, yelling, and general, unintelligible dismay, sort of like an erupting volcano, lava flooding the streets and everyone just wants to go back in their house and forget the whole thing.
Leaving everyone around wondering if all the hubbub was really necessary. So, if I got my lava out, how does that make me the scapegoat? Well, you may find in life, people don't want to change. They want everything to stay the same, comfortable, even if that comfort is smothering them, and it probably is. So, the noisy voice ringing on about injustice, is out of the norm, and gets the heat for all the problems. Sort of like the siren that woke you up at night. It's not the emergency that's the problem, it's that damn siren for being so loud.
People live with injustice, pain, and the like, out of the sense of security it allows them. It's not their/our fault, we grow and change from pain.
Sometimes to provoke any growth you are forced to stand in the muck, by yourself. By. Your. Self.
Yup, all alone, because when you bring up something everyone knows but doesn't want to say, you dear, will be the object of the scrutiny, not the injustice, not for a while at least.
Because people take time to change. It may have hit you like a ton of bricks, and you think it's just oh, so obvious and you can't possibly understand why other's don't see it. That's why it's your life lesson. It came out of the sky and hit you on your head and now it's your problem, because if you don't pick it up, dust it off and address it. You'll have those same problems over and over.
I feel like I'm being dramatic, but the thing is I've been allowing the blame to fall on me for the better part of my life. Which is interesting, because I'm not a person of cowardice. I'm the person who rises up and then slowly but surely, allows others to push me back down. They poke and prod and shush and scamper and I think "I can't exactly do this alone." That's when I pack it back in and crawl back into my hole.
The thing I've learned is that in order to make a change, in the fashion of the things Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr. wanted us to do, you have to rise up and plant your feet firmly in the ground. Make it known you feel this way and no amount heckling and haranguing (I love that word, it took me a while to find the spelling) will shift the one set of feet you were given to stand on.
So, I'm all full of conviction, because this was really a first for me. Because as I said before injustice makes me pound my fists and what have you, but I'm usually the second in line and quick to lose my blaze.
See, there's the discoverer, the pioneer, the creator, the architect, all the same person by the way, who decides to stand alone. Then there are the chips off the block, falling one at a time to say, "Yes, this is in fact, truly horrible. I am outraged." I usually take the place of one of the outraged chips.
Meanwhile that poor architect has been trying to find someone, anyone who might be willing to listen to the echoing cries of indecency, and is awfully relieved that the cause is (finally) gaining some traction.
Little known how long that individual's suffering has lasted while waiting for someone else to hear, but they stuck with it, because it only takes one.
We are here to make the world a better place, alleviate suffering for someone, somewhere. We are also here to learn our lessons. Sometimes those two things meet in an ugly way.
But if you get that nudge to dig and dig, you'll find not only a resolution, but the relief to your own suffering. See whether it's God, the universe, your unconscious mind, your soul, or the collective unconscious, who digs up these schemes and puts them in your lap, they were brought to you to show you something you've been putting up with for too long.
You can fall in line and back into old habits or you can try something new. Get way, way out of your comfort zone and dare to not only to speak up, but to become useful to yourself and to the world.
I like to think about this kind of change as a swelling seed, so full of tension and intention that it either has to burst at the seams or rot, decompose, and become fertilizer for the seeds that are willing to bust. Not that fertilizer isn't necessary, but do you really want to fill a role that can be managed by poop?
Yeah, it just doesn't sound that attractive.
"There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see." Leonardo da Vinci (my favorite lefty)
I guess my journey in the past two months has been to stop occupying the space of a person who sees when shown and begin to just, see.
So, let those emotions swell you up, give them direction, and let them leap out. Trusting that one by one, the people who see when shown, will see, and those who do not see, will never see.
“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” Walt Whitman
Even if nobody hears or sees, if it satisfies your little soul, I can promise you'll sleep a little easier knowing you walked through the fire and lived to tell the tale.