Xing Nian Kuai Le! Happy New Year!
May your moments balance
petals and music, creeks and mountains
negativity and hurry and false
the spirit of the past and future
in your present.
May you breathe deeply
Perfection is a process. In this respect, I agree with the Lao Tzu quote my previous calligraphy teacher painted and explained for me. Many iterations and levels of failure and success compose this, our vast expanse of life. It's ok for us to make mistakes and learn from them in the ways we are able. There is not a hurry or a race because we're all headed to the same place. Each of us is responsible for ourselves, in a way, and each of us is also part of a bigger world where certain things are decided in advance for us.
It sucks, and people will propose that we all clearly demarcate our own futures, but there is a lot to the world that is not determined by individual effort alone. For example, this country basically started itself with the same families in monetary power that are still currently in power. When you dig deep enough into history, you may learn how the first European immigrants fled religious persecution and current inhabitants seek to flee money's harm on health and vitality. In a recent post, I examine the fairly one-sided concept of the life theory of "You decide for yourself." It puts most expectation on individual rather than collective contribution to society. It is often a component of self-empowerment seminars, ideas, and groups. For example, this mindset might say: Anyone who works hard enough will succeed in life. It is superficial analysis that gapingly overlooks early-life privileges, such as education or healthcare; clean running water from an indoor tap; consistent and permanent shelter; food for every meal; a consistent or loving family unit. It's easy to talk as if we face the same choices, that all anyone needs is enough money, pats on the back. Concepts of time, beliefs about determination and free will -- these are personal. Our upbringing and socioeconomics of whether there is
food, shelter, education, water
awareness of deep belonging
creates many dynamics, some of which many do not consider because it doesn't occur to them; or they call it "too much thinking" or "too analytical" and then do not think about it; or because of some other reason that may or may not have much merit. Regardless, these invisible socioeconomic dynamics surround us everyday. Our personalities interact with racism, classism, and many other forms of bias even if they simply overhear and keep quiet about it or do not notice it as unwelcome.
I'm reading The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace by Jeff Hobbs at the moment, and wow. It outlines a lot of prejudice, bias, unfair. Here's this man who earns his way out of a hard neighborhood and then returns, now deeper in what he once left. I find myself reviewing my own thoughts and choices with this new context of Mr. Peace's existence. How much of my earlier life did I spend weaving into my childhood neighborhood? A lot. It's home. It seems like it's supposed to feel comfortable. But there are some of us for whom home is unsafe, unwelcome. I don't know for sure if it was like that for Mr. Peace. Perhaps he felt safe and welcome. For me, childhood home is full of humor that hurts, picks, teases relentlessly; and not hearing when I say stop or no or I don't like this; and a lot of ignoring silent pleas for assistance. This is what I remember now. I'd like for it to be a memory that is somehow soothing. Is this possible? If so, how? Where do I find the tools to practice with my childhood as a soothing memory? Would that be telling myself lie(s)? My therapist would likely say this is where both soothing and unsafe/unwelcome can exist together, that this is where there is gray instead of black and white. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) works with extreme ideas and helps to plant them together in a middle ground.
The new year, the concept of time, all of our hurts and pasts and worries and futures, I visualize these in balance with water through mountains, vast waves and beautiful islands, soft nurture and support through our every particle.
Well hello there.