Thursday, February 16, 2017

Valuing the Venture

I’m going to offend you. Being human offends. Even those we love can offend. At issue is whether the stubbing of one’s toe, and consequently limping for a few days, is sufficient entirely to bear a scar so deep that we never walk barefoot ‘there’ again. We wear shoes next time. We are guarded.  It is our sensibilities that are offended. We have this expectation, this image in mind, that how-things-should-be is not met. And in our own inability to surmount the moment, to include, absorb, assimilate, and integrate the offense, we make a judgement call. One indeed can cut off one’s nose to spite one’s face. One indeed can push the plate of delicious food away, its taste entirely spoiled by the table guest’s casual use of the phrase, “I don’t give a shi... !”

Some words hardly bear saying (depending on your sensibilities.) We are so used to foul words nowadays that their imagery has all but entirely vacated our sense of smell, sight, taste, touch, or hearing. We happily use acronyms to substitute a blasphemous phrase, OMG! And we easily use the vulgar acronym to express surprise, or even disgust, WTF? So it goes. It is for those of us who do ‘sense’ words that I would here walk through the mine-field, (or do I now offend as I take the liberty of expressing some valued values in my own mind-field?)

The garden of the spiritual warrior is always full of bugs. There is never a complete surcease of problems, however small, in the analogy. One is always tending to the self in relation to the whole. And stubbing one’s toe is inevitable (especially since rocks themselves can come to the surface after long winters of being buried deep.) Childhood; family constellations; teenage forays; a young person’s brashness; middle-age messiness; and an old-age dispassion can all intrude on the perpetual pursuit of the happiness we seek. After all, is that not what the end-all of the Famous Constitution reads (on the plinth under the big concrete lady who holds up a torch)?

Enlightenment occurs where the cracks get bigger. We break open from the shell of our containment only to discover there is yet some other cage around us. To travel one needs visas, passports, proof of means, proof even of destination. And as we see yet more, go yet further, there is a gradual letting go of fear, of uncertainty, of the distress of being sometimes ineluctably torn from our comfort zones. We are emboldened, step by step. And sometimes the journey can get longer and longer, more and more freeing, until we stub our toe! And that’s when reality, with all its aches and pains, can rise up and bite! Being tripped up is no fun!

The value in living lies in our self-worth. (We tend to give it over to our self-esteem.) We’d rather have people see our gardens when they’re in full-flower than have people visit while we are busily shoveling manure. We instinctively know that people will value us more if they see our best selves, see our beautiful houses, our clean cars, our neat gardens, our mowed lawns, our plaques of achievement on the walls, our wonderfully laid table, sniff delicate cooking smells, and enjoy the facility of our facile and fluent conversations. And then someone over the plate of food utters, indelicately about another topic, that something or other, “scares the shit out of him!”

 Yes, I told you I was going to offend you. (Or perhaps not?) At issue is that lightening up, really, truly, is about being more enlightened, after all! Yes, it's true, venturing trumps stasis, every time!

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