Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friends that are really strangers

"Trust someone who can see these three things in you:
The  sorrow behind your smile, the love behind your anger,
the reason behind your silence." Thich Nhat Hanh

It was interesting to come across this quote today. Helped me understand the extent to which I am more a friend to some than others, and vice versa for me. Later that night when I was relaxing in the tub reading Khalil Gibran's "My Friend"one of my "friends" contacted me hoping to engage in what I hope was harmless conversation. Oddly enough Gibran's piece is about how these two friends are actually strangers, one who cannot show his true face to the other. A few stanzas stood out including the following:

"Thou lovest Truth and Beauty and Righteousness; and I for thy sake say it is well and seemly to love these things. But in my heart I laugh at thy love. Yet I would not have thee see my laughter. I would laugh alone."

"My friend, thou art good and cautious and wise; nay, thou art perfect--and I, too, speak with thee wisely and cautiously. And yet I am mad. But I mask my madness. I would be mad alone."

"My friend, thou art not my friend, but how shall I make thee understand? My path is not thy path, yet together we walk, hand in hand."

Indeed I have all but come to this realization regarding one of my friends. On my end, how can I claim this person as my friend when it is clear I am not a source of comfort, camaraderie, or wisdom? They cannot be their true selves around me when I find many of their mannerisms in need of re-evaluation. I hear and feel, respect and support for a status quo I find oppressive and demeaning come from someone who claims to be against such things, yet finds such things attractive to the point of forsaking their"people" in favor of   the power they can gain. Speaking truth to this power has silenced them. Awkward masks applied immediately. Yet politics of disposability are inherent in such respect and support of this oppressive status-quo. Respect, dignity, and care are not given unconditionally but awarded for good behavior. Oddly treated as bad things when requested--too high-maintenance is a common refrain.

As a member of the classically downtrodden they see emulation of their oppressor as the way out and it shows in their tastes especially when it comes to partnership--and yes I mean valued choice of mate (and yes I realize I am likely falsely assuming much but cannot help but observe the tendencies unfold when relating with others). Someone, a member of the status quo to be their second in command, to validate their sense of power, their birthright denied them for far too long, especially by those deemed beneath them, oppressor and oppressed alike; something M. Wallace speaks to with a keen sense of familiarity as she remarks on the blame cast on the undesirable black woman by just about everyone for just about anything.

This is not the path I am walking. I am painfully aware that I have outlived my usefulness, yet for some reason wish I could be this person's friend. Yet I cannot claim to understand where they are coming from with their lust for power and thus their quickness to view me as a naive child for being so idealistic in my approach, so negative in my response to any hint of oppression being perpetuated (and is that controlled rage only reserved for one group of people? black women not allowed to speak truth to power without being put in their place yet again?). Still, this person has provided me much in the way of the opportunity to experience and express a side of myself in ways I had not yet imagined could be a reality until the present. So no, I will not partake in such politics of disposability. This person has shown and given me much despite our fundamentally flawed relationship. I owe them my unending gratitude.

All I can hope to do is understand this person. See beyond their talk of enemies (while ignoring opportunities to earnestly understand them in their own right), beyond their showering of benevolence and respect on those who serve their egos well (while bypassing the lessons of those who call them out in hopes of improved relations), beyond the scorn for imperfect expressions of self that render others disposable to them (rather than learning whole heartedly from them thus discovering the beauty in their being). Even if that means continuing to treat them with decency, dignity, and respect while walking my own path, if that is all I can do when being in relation with them, I will learn to live with that. My heart is broken at the prospect that a whole hearted friendship will likely not be an outcome. Still, I have gratitude for having crossed paths with this person even though they are more stranger than friend.

I am sure this predicament I find myself in is all my fault. But hey, if they did nothing wrong, then neither did I, right? Unlike them, my level of sensitivity and self awareness leads me to knowing better than that.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Comparisons: the good and the bad

As a society we cannot help but compare ourselves to others. We look at a reference person or group as a means of judging, teaching, and learning about ourselves and each other. 

Recently I have come to compare myself accordingly. I see how two friends interact, how they buoy one another with their love and support. I pray to learn from this model and integrate it into my own.

This practice of comparison is often handled problematically when used as a means of measuring one's self-worth. 

I view this same situation and see what I am not to some of my  friends as well as what I do not have. I know I cannot be all things to all people, but it hurts to think I can only be one thing to most people when I prefer to be perceived multi-dimensionally. 

Decision making time: what do I learn from this? I need to figure this out along with the feelings that come with it. I am struggling. Tearing myself down and building myself up with responses to the practice of comparison. Wisdom is not yet mastered in this sense. I wish I could hibernate while I contemplate this area of potential growth and understanding. Instead I must push on.  

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Lessons presented when being a dreamer

As i continue to contemplate and move forward with my life's work, I receive reminders through dreams. I know they are messages because of how vivid they are. Recently I had two dreams within days of each other. I will only note the images of importance in each dream...

Dream 1: I am outdoors in an almost mystically bright and beautiful park or woods like space. The sun brightens everything with a golden hue, especially the grass and trees. I am directed to look at a young black girl with dark skin. On her shoulder is a beautiful black bird with a crest and yellow eyes with black pupils, a black jaybird with feathers that color like a magpie or starling when the light hits it. I approach her. The bird is in the palms of both hands. In my desire to know more about the bird, I turn it over to find the tag that is on its ankle but I cannot read it. I think the tag was blue. After attempting to examine it, I return the bird into its upright position and find it is bald, nothing but pale flesh remaining on this now wrinkly vulnerable old looking bird. I am sad that it may have been over examined causing its feathers to have been rubbed off.

Dream 2: I am at a gathering at my house. It is evening. I am close to a vampire with gray skin, dark hair, and thin but longish vampire fangs. The live-version male Marcelene one could say. I am attracted to him and am trying to make-out with him. I notice he is not as into me as I am him, but I insist on showing my interest by kissing him though he does not return the affection. I am having a good time at the gathering regardless and go sit down on the couch with some other friends. My pet dog comes up wanting love. She half-climbs on my lap and I pet her. She insists on being as close as possible and thrusts her paw in my face, making contact with my left eye. It is damaged to the point of blindness. The impact and results were surreal. I really had gone blind in one eye. I panic trying to make sure, hoping I recover, but I don't. I feel my left eye bulging as I try to will it into functionality but nothing helps. Luckily an alarm wakes me .

With each dream I came up with a rough sketch of meanings based on my understandings of things as symbols.

With Dream 1, a possible interpretation that makes sense to me is the black jaybird representing higher knowledge and wisdom is gifted to me but instead of simply admiring its beauty, being in the moment, I over-examine it wanting to know more about it and subsequently nullifying the wisdom and rendering the bird flightless and earthbound. Perhaps the warning here is to be mindful of the wisdom I come across and be wary of over-examination and thus rendering the wisdom gifted as useless. Appreciate the gift in the moment rather than being possessive of it and therefore limiting its potential to be shared with others.

With Dream 2, a possible interpretation that makes sense has to do with a person or endeavor in my life that requires a lot of energy. Something/one I pursue in spite of lack of reciprocation. It is an alluring presence that could lend to a dark-side oriented path. This is where the eye injury comes in. I have read blindness in the left eye to be a warning of loosing insight/awareness of self, motives, and/or my behaviors. I do not see things clearly or am ignoring my intuition on the matter. On a whole the warning in place has to do with my potential attraction to the darker side of things, be it through a person or endeavor is an attraction to a path I would normally not vibe with and steer clear of. The fact that this darker energy is not attracted to me should have been enough to have me steer clear and normally I would.  If I were to persist in spite of my intuition on the matter, I will loose my inner sight altogether and thus a large part of my ability to guide my steps and receive the wisdom that is part of a better path.

In each case I am being warned. To be mindful of how to be in the presence of wisdom on the one hand and to be wary of ignoring my intuition on the other. In both cases the desire was there to pursue and claim, of which the consequences were damaging in one way or another. As such I should break with such tendencies/approaches or risk absence of such gifts be it though nullification or blindness.