Friday, January 13, 2012


It is interesting that recently both I, and Judy of the Peace Be With You blog, have recently been dealing with the idea of "fighting."

I think I've been doing far too much of the wrong kind of fighting. Fighting battles that simply cannot be won; fighting battles that even were I to "win"—and that's dubious and large air quotes around "win"— would do no good for anyone, myself foremost; fighting battles that I can't even explain what or why I'm fighting.

A couple of days ago, I had an unbelievably, indescribably wonderful evening with two indescribably, unbelievably wonderful friends. Scots poet Robert Burns wrote, "O wad some power the giftie gie us/To see oursel's as others see us." And with generosity and love, they held up some very powerful mirrors to my own processes.

Some of the things we talked about, that were among the most important things anyone has said to me ever, were about wrong fighting. The "Why are you wasting your time and energy railing against that?" variety of "wrong fighting."

One of the most incisive comments was "Why are you working so hard at justifying your 'that's wrong for me' decision? It's wrong for you. You know it, you're not going to chance your mind, and you don't need to justify it. Good. Done. Now spend that energy looking for what's right for you." And my friend was very, very right. I had looked down one road of possibilities. At the moment, it looks wrong. And I was fighting very, very hard to justify that 'it's wrong' decision... But, really... why? I don't know. I had my back against the wall, facing down a completely non-existent opponent.

And that was an interesting life lesson... suggesting a deep question: How much time do we spend fighting things that we have created entirely in our own imaginations? Traveling the M.S. highway, we've had our "sensitivity" ratcheted up, our immune systems are strangling themselves on our own nervous systems, every day we wade through "it didn't used to be this way" and "it didn't have to be this way" and "I don't know how long it's going to stay this way." And in the midst of all that, I'm picking a fight with something that exists only in my imagination, and it's so nebulous I can't really correctly use the word "exists."

But I really do spend way, way too much time fighting myself. Even in simple things like "I can't walk that far." Is it that I actually can't? Or just can't deal with being in complete participation with the experience of "walking" the way I "walk" nowadays? Because, sometimes... dammit, It's just no fun. And when it's just no fun, I just don't want to. Am I "playing the M.S. card" on myself?

That's not always a question I want to face answering.

Today at school, some kids were selling some churros as a fundraiser for some people in a foreign country. They were having a hard time selling the last two or three... I tossed a dollar their way, and told them, "That's for someone who wants one but doesn't have a dollar. If somebody comes by and wants one, but they don't have the buck to pay for it, I just paid for it."

One of the girls said, "That's really generous!"

I said, "Generosity is always repaid. But when, and where..." And then I smiled, and said, "That's a mystery."

And then I remembered my conversation with those wonderful friends, who were encouraging me to pursue a path of open-handed joyful generosity, rather than desperate, insistent, close-minded, repetitive and pointlessly defensive justification, and I thought...

"Physician, heal thyself."


Peace Be With You said...

I have now posted a comment on my Fighting post which provides links to your two recent posts on this subject.


Muffie said...

Great inspirations! Thanks for helping me, too, as I seem to be traveling many of those same byways at this time.
I remember when I was a principal, and had to walk across what we called the Great Room (it was large) to get to my office. One day, it just seemed like an impossible task, so I sat down, and remained seated for several minutes. During that brief interval, I realized that I was the main obstacle. Instead of creating an easier way, I just continued to bemoan the fact that I was getting too weak to cover the room in one movement. Aren't we strange creatures?