Good morning, everyone ~
As I start this week’s mass email, I am tucked up in bed. Not because I am sick or debilitated; but rather, because this is where I can sit comfortably while typing and also be a warm ‘nest’ for our geriatric cat, Murphy. At the very old age of almost 20, engulfed in a never-ending pain caused by arthritis (and the natural deterioration of aging), Murphy needs as much TLC as he can get. His charming way of getting what he needs makes for a symbiotic relationship … a balance of give-n-take. His need for human contact/warmth/comfort is easy to fulfill, for my human need to be needed/wanted/loved is equally fulfilled.
It’s a big mystery as to why we humans have such difficulty fulfilling one another’s needs. I understand the biology/psychology behind our common short-comings toward one another. It’s the senseless wars/destruction/tortures/heinous crimes against fellow humans that I cannot fathom.
In very early childhood, my parents owned two dogs. Collies. Father and son. They were great companions for one another and for me, until feeding time. Then, the sire would often snap/snarl at the son, take the bulk of the food, and even when satiated stand guard over the leftovers. I found it difficult to like the older collie. What parent acts that way????
As I’ve grown much older and learned more about human nature’s various degrees of greed/cruelty, I find it difficult to like a lot of my fellow humans. The authors Jeffrey Cranor and Janina Matthewson, in their book “You Feel It Just Below The Ribs” explain this human phenomenon in various ways. One statement strikes my heart/mind above all others: “… too broken … also too broken to grieve his terrible circumstances. All he had left was rage. …”
I believe we live in a time of rage, during an era of human history where too many of us are “too broken”. It’s not that we are in too much pain; rather, that we (as a species) are too broken and have created a too-broken world. We rage against one another because there is nothing else to do. We cannot un-do all the brokenness of the world, and we have no one to blame but our own ancesters/siblings/fellow humans.
Some, of course, are born “broken”. Something in their DNA prevents them from feeling compassion/empathy. Perhaps that something exists within everyone’s DNA; yet, not everyone’s DNA genetics for that rage/cruelty turn on. It lies dormant, or is held in check by the larger amount of genetic-based empathy/compassion/caring/love.
And the strangest thing of all, we rage against those whose barbaric rages continue destroying the very Earth that is the only home any of us will ever have.
Many years have passed since those two collie dogs raged over a food bowl. For as long as humans have been on Earth, there have been wars/conflicts. Rage gives birth to rage.
Old Murphy/I have been part of one another’s Life for most of his. Peace does not give birth to peace until we choose it.
We cannot time-travel to the past and prevent that very first human-rage event. We can, however, choose to move forward into a future that we ourselves create … and choose peace. What, though, do we do about that DNA expression of deliberate cruelty/chosen war/addiction to rage/conflict? Therein lies the crux of the human dilemma, the question with no answer.
Should I be punished/tortured/crucified today for some crime against humanity that one of my distant ancestors committed? If we research back to the beginning of human existence, will we not discover that same human brokenness/rage in existence then that we see today? We cannot choose which genes in our personal DNA turn on, nor do we have any control of which turn off. Yet, if our mind-spirit partnership is one of compassion/peace, we can indeed choose to focus on maintaining inner peace/pray for world peace/self-train in ways to control our own natural brokenness-rages.
In other words, we can choose to be more humane/less destructive … if our mind-spirit remains stronger than our brokenness, more durable than a beastly rage … if we draw boundaries for peace and boundaries against feral rages.
As a child, I tried explaining to the older collie dog that his behavior was cruel/unacceptable. His nature, however, was not conducive to willingness to change. I then drew boundaries against his feral rages against his son, and stood guard between the two during feeding time, allowing each to have their fair share.
Tucked up with old Murphy curled between me and the laptop this morning, I must take frequent breaks from typing in order to ease my body from its hunched/stretched position. I could shift Murphy elsewhere, thereby taking what I need (physical comfort) and depriving him of what he needs (physical comfort); but, why is mine more important than his? I can create a small place of mutual peace/comfort by adjusting to the circumstances. Being human, being the “bigger person”, doing the right thing simply because it is the right thing to do — it isn’t rocket science, nor does it require a high-level clearance from the Pentagon. It simply is a simple thing to choose/do.
Here in the month in which the world is focused on the Christmas story and sings “peace on Earth, good will to (hu)man”, may more of us remember our capacity to heal/help self/one another. Not just for a month or a season, but from this moment forward. We all, after all, are broken inside, to some degree, by countless things. Not all brokenness results in manic rage/senseless war/mass destruction.
Be people of peace, with strong boundaries against growling old dogs of war-n-rage. Stay humane. Stay strong in mind-spirit for Life-affirming peace. Stay aware that we’re all broken … and, aware that we’re all here only for a short period of Time. Let us choose peace/love/healing — which has nothing to do with tolerance and all to do with greater understanding of self/others.
Gentle hugs/much love,