Written on Thursday December 8
Feeling bleak and alone again. My sense of a vast compassion holding the world is gone. O gosh nothing means anything. I’m back to why bother.
Christia wanted to watch a video of Gangaji talking about “Who are you… really.” It doesn’t resonate for me. Sometimes — lots of times — I have no idea who I am. Lately, I’ve been very comfortable with that not knowing. I’ve actually never thought of myself as any particular thing, not a daughter or a wife, not an astronomer, or astronomy teacher or dance teacher. I recognize that I am a teacher, not of any particular subject, I teach all the time. My book was a teaching, my slide show was a teaching, Journey Into Courage was a teaching — I’m teaching all the time even if I don’t realize it. I never felt like I was anything in particular, never tried to create a persona to impress other people. Really, I was always trying to fix myself. I saw myself as defective or broken or wounded. I couldn’t get attached to that as an identity, partly I had no wheelchair so no one could see I was broken — my senior year at Wellesley, after I broke my ankle, I wore orthopedic shoes and walked with crutches and some students got quiet and looked uncomfortable as I walked by, and I wanted to turn around and yell at them that it was temporary — I didn’t want their pity. Now I see that part of what made me angry was that I was crippled invisibly. No one ever saw my pain.
Mother never gave me any direct identity — since I could never please her, I never became a “people-pleaser.” I was a good student, because I was intelligent and eager to learn.
I have no idea who I am right now. It’s not important to me. What is important to me? Peace, Truth, Justice, Mercy, Compassion. I want to embody these things and help create more of them on the planet. O yes, the planet is important to me. I work to heal myself, hoping to be more effective at making a difference in how humans treat each other and their planet.
I’m thinking about that Jenny with her crutches, angry at the ones who are uncomfortable, wanting to say “It’s temporary,” and at the same time angry on behalf of really disabled people who get treated with the same pity. I feel such love for her.
I think I must be badly depressed, or maybe even in total despair. I’ve been reading Jalaja’s book “Evolving Toward Peace.” She says some wonderful things, tells some heart-warming stories, but the problem as she defines it — that our control-addicted Western Civilization is destroying the planet — looks to me too huge to change. I suppose if I could even change myself from “head-centered” thinking to “heart-centered” thinking at least I’d be much happier. I’ve been working on it, working on my strong judgement of Trump and his cronies, but it’s hard. I’ve been able to forgive most of the people who voted for him, because they thought he would help them have better lives. I have such an odd split reaction: one part of me wants to run away from them — as I strengthened the wall between me & someone who voted for Trump, and the other part of me is intensely curious to know what they needed/wanted so that they voted that way. What I want is that feeling of my heart softening and opening that happens when someone shares their pain and vulnerability.
When I read down the list of characteristics of control-centered people, I have a lot of them. For me it’s come from having capricious, malicious, and willful parents, and learning that I can’t trust any bigger being to take care of me. I’m guessing that’s the main reason my heart is closed down so much because there’s nothing I can trust. I’m wondering if I’m closed to myself but still open to others. I think of Jan always commenting on my big open heart when she hugs me.
Afterthought: I think about how my parents marriage was one long battle for control. Also the time when I lived in the Zen house, and my job was taking care of the kitchen. Looking at it now, I see that no one ever assigned me to the kitchen, I just thought I should do it because the others were all working. They told me at one point that they were afraid of helping because I was possessive about the kitchen. I was shocked, I wasn’t possessive, I felt that I had to do it all because I couldn’t expect help.