Monday, July 29, 2013

You Cannot Buy or Sell Bravery

Here's what's going on:
Friday I didn't write a blog because it's nearly impossible to write eruv Shabbos.  Too much to do.  Plus, I had my dad here.  Saturday, I played Boggle until after 12:30am.  Awesomeness.  I even scored 30 points in one round.  ONE ROUND!!! I have now vindicated all my childhood trauma of ALWAYS losing every game I ever played with my family.  Except CandyLand.  I kicked CandyLand butt!
Sunday night I wrote a blog.  A good blog.  But I didn't publish it.  And here's why.  It involved other people.  To be more specific it involved my relationship, past and present, to people that I love very much.  People that are close to me.  People that have NOT given me consent to publish personal information about them all over the internet.

I can't understand it.  Why wouldn't you want every one of your embarrassing, shameful and hilarious character traits posted on the internet, for close friends and strangers to read and judge and laugh at?

Weird, eh?

So, I wrote that blog and I didn't publish it.  But it's the writing that helps me the most.  Mission accomplished.

And now it's Monday.  It's late.  And I really do need to get to bed at a decent hour.  This will not be my longest or best blog.

That being said, what should we talk about?

Here's what I was thinking about today:  I was washing my clothes.  Outside.  In a bucket.  With a plunger.  As exciting as that sounds, I needed a little something else.  I tried listening to NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on my phone.  But I was too far away from our WiFi.  After that failure I put a mix tape on the ghetto blaster in the garage.  Crappy sound.  Good music.  Like really good music.  I listened to the mix tape that Micah made me when I was 16.  It is, by far, the best mix tape I have ever heard.  It could be because it is so heavy with memories and nostalgia.  Or it could be that it really is the BEST MIX TAPE EVER!  It starts out with Fugazi.  And right there you know.  I mean you just know.  Next comes some Tricky and PJ Harvey, old school Blind Melon, Lou Reed...

I'm listening to this and thinking 'I saw Tricky live.  I saw PJ Harvey live.  I listened to Fugazi all through high school.  I thought that all meant something.  I thought all that would be part of the definition of me.  And in that definition would be the word cool.'  

Why do I care if I'm cool?

How about pretty?  How does my life improve at all by being pretty?

Fashionable.  The very idea seems laughable now.  What is the point??!!!!

When my kids are bugging me every fifteen seconds and I feel like I am going to explode, does it help to be pretty?

When I can't figure out what to make for dinner, and I am exhausted and the dishes are piled high in the sink, does it help to be fashionable?

When I am fighting with my husband, in despair over my life, and broken down, does it help to be thought of as cool?

I am in no way saying that I am totally over wanting those things for myself.  But right now there are very few people involved in my life who even know who Tricky is.  Being pretty does not help me mother at all.  Being fashionable could unravel a marriage when money is tight.  So why?  Why do those things even enter my mind?  Why can't I just let go?

I think that most of it is social conditioning.  Watching TV and movies.  Seeing magazines and being on the internet.  It's all there.  It's all here.  What is important is how others perceive you.  Because you can buy and sell things that create an external representation of who you are.  There is a market for that.

What you cannot make money on is wholesome living.  You cannot make money on a happy marriage.  Or on good mothering.  Those things are work.  Internal work.  Working on compassion, patience, tolerance, boundaries, bravery.  You cannot buy or sell bravery.

And so to the big world it is worthless.

But if I take a moment out of my day to stop and think...
At first, with my awesome music in the background, I will immediately think of how cool people should think I am for listening to this music.  When that automatic thought subsides, it makes room for other thoughts like, Right now my husband is cutting the buckwheat with a scythe, I am washing my laundry in a bucket, the kids are playing quietly, the turkeys and chickens are grazing next to me, the clouds in the sky are making the most wonderful formations, there is a breeze, I am a beloved child of G-d, I am making a corner of this world a better place than when I found it...

I could go on and on.  But the point is, there is so much here, now.  And if I let out those thoughts that have taken up way too much room in my head, thoughts of how I am lacking, then I make room for what is here.  Sometimes, like today, it was beautiful and peaceful and full of gratitude.  Other times it is not as pleasant.  And that's ok.  Because all of these are the things that begin to make up who I am.  Not my musical preference or my clothing or anything else external.  It is the quiet thoughts, the strong feelings, the holiness of my soul, that is truly who I am.  No definition needed.

And if those walls of definition come down, I won't have anything that needs to be defended.  And that makes room for YOU.

I have this picture in my head of a room full of people wearing differently shaped cardboard boxes.  And they keep bumping into each other.  Denting the cardboard.  Where one is square, another is pointy, and yet another is absurdly round, and they have to keep adding layers to make sure their insides don't get bent, or lose their shape.  But the room is tight and to move, they keep bumping into each other.

But under those boxes is light.  Lot's of light.  Different colors and shades of light.  And if they stop defending their boxes, they could start to see their own light.  And each other's.  And when you shine the different lights on each other, Oh! it makes the most beautiful combinations of Light.  And no one has to dim their light because more light is just more LIGHT!  It's wonderful!

But no one gets to see the light because they are too worried about someone else's cardboard bumping into theirs.

Anyway, that's the funny picture that's playing in my head right now.  I'd make it into a cartoon if I had any idea how.  But I don't.  So I write.  Good night all you lovely Lights!

  1. Spending time with my husband today.
  2. Picking wild blueberries, blackberries and mulberries.
  3. My husband made me dinner!  Yahoo!!!
  4. My insane hormonal emotion roller coaster slowly coming to an end.  For now.
  5. Watching the turkeys graze.  There is really almost an exotic feel to it.

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