It’s funny. When things are in flow and my mind is at peace, I have a hard time understanding how I can ever be sad/fearful/frustrated. When things have me kerfluffled, I have similar confusion about how I can be at peace. Thank God for mantra, which at least settles me into a more neutral space, where my kerfluffledness is something i can wait out without necessarily believing.
The teacher I mentioned yesterday sent me an extremely passive aggressive response, cloaked in all sorts of nice language and exclamation points. It really clarified that she’s not the teacher for me (as if I had any doubt, which, by the time I wrote my disenrollment letter, i did not). It did make me realize I could have been nicer. Of course I could have been nicer. Couldn’t we all be nicer? But, this lady who sent this email with all the exclamation points was very, very nice in her reply. Very nice saying ‘eff off’ with flowery words and feigned deference. And she’s the peace teacher. sometimes being nice is a lie. as a matter of fact, being nice when the truth is otherwise feels even worse to me than being authentically shitty. So, I’m struggling with how I feel about all of this, especially as it relates to my relationship with my sister.
Add to it that sometimes, when I am pissed off and I let the person or company know, it makes systemic change. Numerous times when something happened and I called it out (while everyone else was being ‘nice’ about it), I’ve been thanked profusely for telling the uncomfortable truth they needed to hear, for breaking something that had been hobbling along and could now be replaced by something better. When we’re witnessing something that is clearly out of resonance with truth, isn’t it our responsibility to at least mention it? Even Jesus said, “I come not to bring peace but a sword.” Sometimes, especially when things are horribly wrong and everyone is being nice about it, being authentic, even when authentic is not quite kind, is the more helpful and productive thing to do.
On MLK day I read the letter from a Birmingham jail. MLK was a master. I am not. But I was touched by his frustration with white moderates…
“…the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice…”
and then a friend sent a MLK quote..
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
It’s not up to me to determine what matters. but I am responsible for understanding what matters to me. My heart springs right out of my chest and is not very silent at all. While people are telling me to be nicer, I think I need to be a whole lot louder about the enormous injustices perpetrated on the innocent in every city of every state every day. I want my apparent proclivity to speak uncomfortable truths to matter, not to simply serve my annoyance with a perfectly fine teacher’s style. I struggle with balancing reactivity and responsibility, and as I learn to accept myself (warts and all), I need to learn to understand and manage this. People (my sister, and my brother, now that i mention it) want me to change. I think what I really need to do is focus and appropriately direct the things that are naturally a part of me.
Also, today, I saw a yelp review about my beloved monastery that was really messed up and called itself a public service announcement. I know this woman. She’s had an extremely tough life. She’s pulled herself up from incredibly difficult circumstances. I’ve personally found her somewhat delusional and not entirely stable, but with her history I could certainly understand it. But her review was such a weird blend of fact and fiction, so convoluted in painting a picture of her as both victim and hero… i think what she said was true to her, even though the facts are obviously wrong. Does she even know her facts were wrong (for example, calling a volunteer a Swami. things that are objectively wrong)…Is perception reality? How do we balance these multitudinous perceptions into this single reality we share? What’s funny? She was extremely “nice” in her wording…