Tuesday, April 30, 2019

When politeness will do until forgiveness kicks in

I think politeness could serve a purpose. It might be a placeholder until forgiveness is ready to take its place. There's no hypocrisy in reacting with gracious calm, even when inside we're appalled.

And after that, distance could be useful, too. It could shield us from being provoked more while we process the ugliness that's been shown us thus far. The freeing thing is this: there isn't a deadline for forgiveness. It comes when it comes. If you watch for its approach you'll only end up brooding over the slights and offenses that need forgiving. You can't really keep taking its temperature, checking for the exact moment the fever breaks and you're free of resentment.

You just go about living life and delighting in what's good and eventually something triggers the memory of when you were betrayed or some crappy thing that came out of this person's mouth, but now you can think about it without gritting your teeth or calling the person some choice invective or picturing him or her in various forms of purgatorial suffering.

No, no, when you can recall it all with detachment, like a deathbed review of your own life, that's when you know. And won't you be glad then? You'll be relieved that you carried yourself with dignity, never stooping, never taking the bait. You reined in your expectations, allowing the other person to operate within their current, somewhat limited awareness of humanity, divinity, and magnanimity of spirit. You gave them no deadline to reach your level of consciousness.

You resisted the very tempting impulse to solicit sympathy via the posting of meme after meme of pseudo-wisdom or sarcastic wit that does nothing to veil the vat of stewed bitterness that used to take up space in your heart. Yay you!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Middle age and body love are not mutually exclusive

I can TBT without regret. I didn't even realize back then that I was skinny! But I love my body more now. Having a body has become so much more than fussing over surface and visual appeal.

I have trained this body to endure grueling drills, to be resilient and pliable, to win against viruses and stress. I am a warrior. I have learned when to coddle and when to talk tough to it. I am as wise as the ancients when I mother my own body.

This body moves with assuredness when I teach a room of distracted dance students. This body melts into embrace when touch and wordless comfort are needed. This body holds still on the mat, observing in silence, awakening in wonderment, unfolding in surrender.

This body suspends the gag reflex to clean out the litter box. This body unequivocally rejects an excess of sugar -- by breaking out in hives! No mistaking that message.

This body permits, nay, compels me to experience and process my emotions. It will not stay defeated. It will lie spent for a season while my spirit licks its wounds, but it is the body that will arise and move first, to exhale in ever lengthening, growly sighs, with increasing urgency until my spirit comes alongside.

This body catalogs in sensory memory the pheromones of my beloved, the perfume of my hybrid Jackson & Perkins roses, the precious pronunciation of toddler talk, the density of my Mom's flan.

It is a single body among so many, but the only one assigned to me. It is both vitally important to preserve in good health but immediately disposable once my energy departs it. Images of it will stand in for me in recall when I myself am gone.