Sunday, May 23, 2021

Pen For Peace

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me. 

Sure, if you're made of steel! But we're not, are we? A mantra can change our natural reaction to hurtful words, that's true. But, that doesn't mean you should say hurtful things...Because words can be like knives. They're intended to wound, debilitate, kill...

It's nice in theory. I imagine myself as a warrior, someone with a tough exterior, who allows the small stuff to just roll of my back. But, that still doesn't mean I shouldn't think before I speak, that still doesn't mean I'm justified saying hurtful things. And truth be told, I shouldn't have to wear all this heavy armor to protect myself or you from me.

We all know that moment...when ugly words roll off our tongue. Ugly words though don't typically roll off the tongue, do they? They torpedo out with vitriol.

Sometimes, I feel justified in my feelings and hurt. Why shouldn't the other person get a 'piece of my mind', especially if I've been wounded emotionally by them. And that's just it...why should I give (away) them a piece of myself? Because truth is, my anger becomes my master and I, its slave. I no longer have any power. No one wants to hear the truth of that. People love to wallow in misery and anger. It makes us feel alive...but that isn't the kind of 'aliveness' we should be striving for. It's rooted in illusion and the false. It simply can't be trusted.

But who of us is like Jesus when he overthrew the temple? When we say someone is self-righteous, we see them as rigid and lacking in compassion. But, to be act in righteousness, that's a different thing, there's another element at play. You can feel this truth and energy in your body. It rings true and it doesn't come from selfishness or ego. You make room for it because deep down inside you know you can be better, more authentic...if only you could overcome yourself.

Self-righteousness is what most of us are accustomed to. It's all about how I feel or what I think, what I believe, what I feel I'm owed, what I want and feel I deserve. It's never about the other, at least, not in the way it counts. We don't know how to put ourselves in other people's shoes. There is always reaction, never understanding.

Having said that, that still doesn't justify gossip or nasty words. If there are two statements that come to mind when I'm getting all hot and bothered (typically, over nothing though at the time, seemed like everything), it's these..

He who has not sinned, cast the first stone.


Treat others as you would have them treat you.

How humbling, right? Stops us right in our tracks. Beautiful, moving and direct. These are words that carry power, too, the kind of power we can practice on a daily basis, the kind of power that builds character.

I had a hard time in University when a professor said that someone he knew was going to counsel (serial rapist and killer) Paul Bernardo. It was around the time Bernardo got caught and was sentenced to prison. 

My professor said, "It's important to separate the behaviour from the person. He is not the behaviour. He is a person who committed horrible crimes."

I've had a hard time with those words. I've spoken about it in length in another post I wrote some years back.

And then I think of the two statements above, and it all makes sense...All that anger melts away. And the lack of anger doesn't mean I make it okay for anyone to behave badly or cruelly. It just means that there are things I don't and can't possibly understand and ultimately, are none of my business. The most important thing becomes that I keep myself in tact, that I don't lose or scatter pieces of myself in numerous places because it later becomes hard work to have to retrace, retrieve, regather...

I had always thought - if I'm not the sum of my acts, then who am I? When people speak of a loved one who's passed on, they refer to them as the person who was kind and generous, sweet, good to their family, etc. Were they not all the sums of their actions to be described in the way they were?

Still, it's not who we are. Surely they make up parts of us...but are they really us? I know I have a body, but this body is not me. I know I have thoughts, but this mind is not me. I know that I feel things, but my emotions are not me. I am so much more than all of that.

It's difficult peeling away the layers. Time can add them on in the form of protection and denial. The truth about ourselves can be hard to face. We're not always kind, are we? To ourselves, to others? We might play the part, but is that who we are? It must come down to intentions and motivations. We both know that many people do great things, outwardly, but then we find out about what's been happening behind closed doors and it's nothing short of, atrocious.

I heard someone the other day say, "Thanksgiving used to be about the it's about the receiver." The world is upside down, flipped on its side. We don't see the way we ought to.

I guess I'm rambling now and my point is lost. 

We don't know how lucky we are. As people talk about their next Botox session or bikini wax, or complaining about having to wear a mask, people in other parts of the world and right here in our own backyards are suffering from some serious shit.

So, let's stop gossiping about our family, friends and neighbours. Let's put things in perspective. In the end, none of it will MATTER  (materialize). But our actions today, if they're aligned with goodness, love, beauty and kindness, can create a more peaceful and loving world. 

Better to use the pen for peace than for war.

No comments: