Saturday, March 5, 2016

"we are each other…"

"we are the daughter,
we are the sisters
who carry the water.
we are the mothers
we are the other,
we are each other..."

I don't know where this post is headed -- really. I just know that when one of my daughters sent me this video of Lissie's, "Daughters," I had to show up in front of the keyboard -- and let it rip.

So, here goes. For me, this is all about having each other's back. Not just as sisters, daughters, best friends, and neighbors, but as fellow citizens on a very small planet. And yes, you are right. There is nothing new about this message. Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Friedan - most great women - have encouraged this one thing in all the women they hope with forward their legacies: Be kind to one another. You will not achieve anything on your own.

And yet, I see this terrible pattern repeating itself throughout history. Women hurting women. It breaks me. More than most, this is the one thing can make me feel like crawling under the covers for a few days, and never come out. To hear that a woman has thrown another woman under the bus. To hear women encouraging each other to unload a pile of hurt on another woman - behind her back. To hear the drone of gossip -- and trust me, there is no other sound like it -- from another table at the local coffeehouse.

Do men do this? I can't tell you -- I am not a man in a relationship with other men. I don't know what they do or don't do. This is about us. Girls, women, sisters, mothers, friends. We must stop it.

We are each other. That's not just hyperbole. Think about it. To criticize another woman is to fill your own heart and mind with a lesser sense of  womanhood.  This lowered consciousness of any woman, effects the way you feel about all women -- yourself included.

What you hold in thought is projected upon the screen of your own body, face, family, interaction with the world. If I feel disdain for someone -- even when I think it is perfectly justified and reasonable -- everything I look at through that lens is going to be colored by speculation and doubt.

So, today I am holding myself accountable. And yes, I am taking it one day at a time. I can easily attain this better version of me, in a calm, clear hour of prayer -- but can I sustain it for weeks, months, years? I hope so.  I have written a symbol on my hand - with a Sharpie - to remind me that, "Love never loses sight of loveliness," as Mary Baker Eddy promises. Even if I have to rewrite it daily, it will remind me to stop and take stock. To examine my own heart through the lens of a simple axiom:

"When you point a finger at someone,
three more are pointing back at you."

Whenever I think I am thinking something about someone else, it's not really about them. I am the only one actually harboring those thoughts. I am the one populating my inner landscape with those thoughts. It has nothing to do with the other person. They are just the screen I am projecting my own thinking on. The same with the words I speak, or the negative reactions I allow myself to indulge in -- based on what I think is someone else's behavior.

I love that Mary Baker Eddy gives us this great filter in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures:

"In a world of sin and sensuality
hastening to a greater development of power,
it is wise earnestly consider
whether it is the human mind
or the divine Mind
which is influencing one."

The human mind loves to reason. It loves to find reasons. It loves to compare, criticize, and contrast. It loves to sort and compartmentalize -- to file people, places, and things into hierarchies. The human mind wants -- desperately -- to feel important. It's opinions are its greatest currency. 

 The divine Mind on the other hand simply knows. It just knows what is true. It doesn't need to convince, debate, discuss, and pat itself on the back. What is true, is true about everyone. What is a lie, is a lie about no one.

This morning, I read this passage from, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts by Gabor Maté, and it awakened a new place of compassion in me:

People will jeopardize their lives,
for the sake of making the moment livable.
Nothing sways them from the habit -- not illness,
not the sacrifice of love and relationship,
not the loss of all earthly goods,
not the crushing of their dignity,
not the fear of dying.

The drive is that relentless."
I am standing up to this drive. I am going to do everything - in my own life - to not be driven by a need to just "make a moment livable." I will not say something that is not kind, just because it might make me look or feel better -- in that moment. I will not capitulate to pressure, just to make an awkward moment end more quickly. I will try to never -- ever again -- let a harsh word slip, or sarcasm spill, just because it will break the tension. 

 And I will be more patient with you, because I now have a clearer sense of how demanding, and insidious the need to just "make the moment livable" can be.

We are each other. And what I want for my daughters, I want for your daughters. What I want for myself, I want for you. If I want my daughters to have clean water, I must do as much to achieve clean water for a young girl in Burkino Faso, as I would for my own sweet girls. If I want my sister to be treated with respect and dignity by her colleagues, I must treat every woman I interact with, with that same respect and dignity. If I want my dearest friend to be heard when she speaks, I must listen more deeply to my neighbor when she speaks.

There is no you and me, us and them. We are one. We are each other.

offered with Love,


1 comment:

  1. Lindsey Biggs9:43 PM

    Such a beautiful post, Kate. Thanks for sharing. I'll be sharing this with friends. Many thanks :)