30 March, 2016

this or that

one of the most important lessons i learned from my journey with my bananologist is that far more in life is a choice than i used to think. attitudes and reactions to the things that happen are well within my own control, as difficult as it may be to see based on the initial involuntary response. i saw her today and told her about how hard i found the early drives around texas, seeing gorgeous forests torn up for ugly parking lots and grocery stores to service the ever-spreading subdivisions of identical beige houses. my reaction was deeply visceral and extreme - i simply wanted to cease being*. when i sit down and talk to mr. monkey and tb about this, it's easy for me to lose myself in the river of resentment and that most dangerous (and useless) of drugs - righteous anger.  i've written before about righteous anger, and what a danger it poses because it is addictive, destructive more often than not, and feeds beautifully on itself. well, self-immolation isn't something i'm planning on quite yet; continued survival is.

listening to tb defend our species recently made me realise that there are two sides to this, like any other story, and that once again, i do have a choice in how i react. yes, this part of human "progress and development" will always bother me, but i can choose to reframe my response in a way that will protect me from lasting emotional damage. my bananologist also suggested that the deep visceral response to what i see is a good way to get a glimpse into my soul, and to learn what matters to me and how much. she also likened it to an allergy - you don't expose yourself to the allergen unless you have to, you limit your exposure while taking steps to protect yourself during the time when exposure is unavoidable. well then, it seems i'm allergic to the human race.

so, choices - i think the idea of having the power of choice in reacting to external stimuli was an incredibly empowering discovery (and i shamefully hesitate to use the term discovery because it seems so obvious, i'm sure, to so many people) and i need to remind myself that like any skill, this one needs to be practised and practised and practised. so here's to the power of choice.

*nothing suicidal here, believe me, more of a deep dark wish to unexist myself in some final way so that i would no longer have to count myself among the human race. 


Tom said...

A thoughtful post, and how true.

Geneviève Goggin said...

This post sure hits home. I've made choices that often feel like sacrifice (relative to my cohort, not to most people in the world). I alternate between righteous anger and envy. I want the nice things...but I dint want to want them. How the hell do you protect yourself from these conflicting nasty emotions while still caring what happens to the planet. Let me know if your bananologist figures that one out. Glad you've found someone wise to help you.

the auntologist said...

It's troubling but true that the earth would be much better off without humans.

the auntologist said...

In a million ways it's like we live two blocks from a concentration camp and don't know what to do about it or how to do anything about it at all. Very very troubling just to exist in the world today, I grant you! I knit hats for displaced children in Afghanistan. I don't know, it helps.

Zhoen said...

Really is about practice and experience, as much as insight and choice. Not that life gets easier, but we get better at dealing with it, and seeing patterns because we've seen them before.

Oh, not that again.