Thursday, August 2, 2012

Gentleness and Reason

Catherine the Great wrote that "All my life I have had this inclination to yield only to gentleness and reason--and to resist all pressure."

Amen, sister.

In the resisting, though, you can get caught up in the binary, the right/wrong and win/lose that makes each decision and action vitally critical. Within that framework one lives in a "fight, flight or freeze" world...anxious, vigilant, often angry or upset. For me, such a life was unbearable.

 Having pushed myself to the peak of fitness, professional accomplishment, etc., I found myself unsatisfied. I had proven all I needed to prove: I was respected, fit, had acquired a beautiful home and was without debt. But I needed to make a change.

Well that change came in the form of a life lesson about what you can and cannot resist, fight, change or control. So I let go.

For several months I just tumbled.  I performed poorly at work for the first time in my life. I ceased working out, and gained 25 lbs. I neglected my appearance and I, ultimately, divested myself of all the trappings of success. And as I saw myself, stripped naked of all I had worked to achieve and all that I believed defined my goodness, I saw the essential me. I saw the woman who is so capable of loving that she literally, physically, feels the pain of her friends. I saw the person who is so full of joy that laughter is the predominant sound in her home. I saw the woman who is so gentle that even wild animals approach her, knowing that she is safe: a protector and not a hunter. I heard, from friends, over and over again how peaceful it is to be in my home.

Once I surrendered the need to prove anything, to be "right", life sent me what I needed. For me, it was a series of gifts: my Spinsters, the SWMU, Ms. Bubbly, a new career, the resolution of a painful misunderstanding with a family member, validation, a new friend who cried for my pain.

And so while I agree with Catherine that my inclination is to resist all pressure, I have learned that resisting hurts me, it's contrary to my loving nature. So I will not resist, but simply step aside, and let it pass. Warfare creates death, not only of the warring parties but also of bystanders. I will not contribute to that. My beautiful life is worth too much. But the gentleness and reason? It's here to stay.

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