Q+A: A Conversation with the Scales

Where am I?  I whisper into the night. Why am I here, in this place, at this time?

I wring my hands and crack my neck and stay worried all the same. Nothing feels grounded, nothing feels right about this place, this ephemera – this ME.

The constant swirl of dogma. The constant berating threads from social media and how EVERY fucking person needs to express to the world their feelings, and have them legitimized in some fashion.

And, of course, every single fucking person is RIGHT about what they feel because, well, it’s what THEY feel. WE don’t feel it, so how in the world are we supposed to tell them how NOT to feel it. Insensitive, right?

“Ugh.” Inner critic chimes in and scoffs at this thought. “These people are just expressing themselves. The problem is that every expression gets amplified and routed around like nothing we’ve ever experienced before. People will have opinions – this is fucking normal! – what is NOT normal is how we are bombarded with every single one at one time and then expected to nod our heads and tell everyone ‘I respect your viewpoint.’ Because we don’t, really. Not our inner selves. Not our heart.”

{ Inner critic has a point. }  Yes. I see it. So what about these other people’s opinions that we don’t respect? What’s going on there?

“If their opinions differ from yours, it will be a challenge – difficult even – to hear their side of things. You will have to exercise good listening skills and empathy –things that do not exist in great numbers! And are not supported or encouraged by social media and sound bite data streams. People these days listen to speak and react – not listen to learn. Listen to observe.

“But back to topic: you are certainly not going to agree with everyone – it will NEVER be Kumbaya and hugs all the time because there are billions of people with all shades and shadows of disagreement to what you think and what you believe. You will never find solace really.

“But somehow we convince ourselves that it is possible. That maybe – just maybe! – if we create a nice safe box to live in, where everyone looks and acts the same way, then we can finally be at peace. We can finally feel safe in our own skin and our own comfortable canon. But that’s just because people these days don’t know how to have disagreements with others and not feel existentially threatened. A shame really.”

Whoa, Inner critic. On a roll there!

“Yeah, well – needed to get that off my chest. Whew! Felt good. You’re not going to broadcast this on social media now, are you?”

What! And let this gem sit in a Word doc forever?

{ I am causing my Inner critic to deal with hypocrisy, and it makes me snicker so what the hell. }

*

{ But….. I linger on the conversation a bit. I can’t leave it alone. Picking the scab open further, I keep at it. }

So what was that part about not respecting people and that coming from the heart – what in the world does that mean? Because what I have been led to believe by my own heart-searching is that all people are of unfathomable worth and equal in the eyes of God. Why in the world would my heart not respect some of these people, brothers and sisters that share this planet?

“Oh I never said the heart does not respect the PEOPLE, I just said viewpoint.” Inner critic jumps back in with zealous rigor. “People don’t equal their viewpoint. Viewpoints change.

“But yet, to find a viewpoint that the heart truly and deeply disagrees with is a difficult one. I imagine the figure of Lady Justice inside of the heart, mother of the Fates, blindfolded and holding the scales and sword. That is her true home. If you weigh something against your heart and the scales don’t measure right, that is the sign that the heart will find it difficult to respect, because it will weigh against the heart of humanity. The wrongness will ring, and make it difficult to ignore.”

But….what? How do I know if this is the case? I am troubled by this train of thought, it sounds a little religious-right to me. Like, “I feel this is morally wrong because my heart/religion/God told me so, and so I cannot respect you.” A little bullshitty and hive-mind and not intellectually sound.

Inner critic pipes back, “Ah – but that is the hard part to discern. Was it truly the heart we are weighing against – or the words of man interpreted though another mouthpiece and mistaken as heart?

“If it is truly the heart, then you will know it as truth. If they are words you have heard or been reflected to from another source, then it’s not truly the heart. It might be something that aligns with your heart-logic, but it might also be something that aligns with your “safe little box” guidelines, and so they FEEL right. Heart-logic informed solely from mind-logic, which is easily influenced by “safe little box” logic. An erroneous place to start from. Remember that these visceral feelings are fleeting, and should not define a person.

“Also, you inferred that you cannot respect a person if their opinions offend your heart-logic; that is incorrect. They are still fallible human beings that are capable and deserving of love. Sometimes they know not of what they are doing. They just want to be safe in their boxes. And just because you don’t really respect their opinions doesn’t mean you can’t love them and hope they will find unconditional love for all beings.”

Yeah… sorry Inner critic, but I’m having trouble getting on board with radiating love to all people if they are spouting horrible hate-rhetoric, even if they “know not of what they do.” That sounds like it would feel weird and horrible.

“But it is not a silent love – it is a noisy love, a love in disagreement. Because you care. And it will feel weird and horrible maybe. But it will also weigh right against your heart and against humanity. “

OK, shit.

That is true. It feels true.

Thanks Inner critic for this dialogue. Didn’t know you were into love and stuff on top of questioning everything I do.

“Yes, I am 100% dialed in. And remember: if things are done in the name of good, but are detrimental or demeaning to others, then they are not wholly good. 100% goodness is a rarity. Just be comfortable with loving on your fellow people and doing it more noisily. Because you care. That is a wonderful goodness. Just be sure to self-examine once in a while to ensure you are not getting swallowed up in “safe little box” logic.”

Ok – but I’m an introvert sooooo…… can I love noisily on a blog?

“Oh absolutely.”

Wait – are you really my Inner critic, or are you a brand of heart logic that I wasn’t recognizing?

“You’ll have to weigh me against those scales and see where I fall.”
😉

 

Um seriously? A winky-face?

“I’m funny sometimes. Just you wait.”

Downed with Despair

1

He strung through the vines. Lost in time and thought. Not really connected to the moment anymore. One step on top of the other, but not in reality.

He was beyond.

A heartache with grief for the life he might have known, for the brother and world that might have opened up to him if they hadn’t given him away.

Or lost him? Or abandoned him? Or…?

His thoughts swirled.

No, they were my parents. There had to be a legitimate reason to give their child away.

He wondered if he was older than him, or younger. He never mentioned his age.

Then a sinister thought struck him.

What if I was stolen?

He stopped moving and stood still. A bird faraway called out to its kin – and he lifted his eyes to find sunlight trickling down through the canopy above. Glittering, but filtered.

Kidnapping could be plausible, but his mother was kind, generous and thoughtful. He felt a nagging conviction that she would never be capable of such a thing. To strip a new mother from her newborn babe for her own selfish gain. Never.

But she lied to you. The dark thoughts crept in again.

She did admit that he was not kin by blood – she never hid that fact. If he was indeed stolen, then she would have covered that bit up. Swept it under the rug to excuse any prying questions.

So why did she tell you your parents were dead when they are surely alive??

Perhaps she wanted to suggest he was not kin – trying hard to be truthful – but still intending to obscure. It seems she wanted to hide any thought or hope that he would go looking for them.

Or, that perhaps they did not want to be found?

Zerian was finding more questions than answers. He suddenly lost ambition to keep going, and instead sat down beneath the nearest tree. He felt anger, rage, sadness and frustration wrapped up and intertwined together. A giant knot. But also… a tiny tinge of love? A small thread of connection to them, his lost parents. The people he thought he would never know, but who now were suddenly …there.

But they went on without you! They have another child, a wonderful life! It is obvious they didn’t want you. They gave you up for a reason!

He suppressed a sob, and doubled over in anger. He gave in and screamed so loud the forest hushed.

A worthless castaway? Is that all he was?

A small voice whispered: No! Of course not!

But it was small, and easily subdued by the rage and sadness. There is no room for hope or love in the face of such fiery revelations. Zerian tensed.

Confrontation is the only way to know. 

But another thought seized him – the most powerful one of all: A hopeless despair.

As quickly as he was angry, all he wanted now was to wallow away. He wanted to forget them all, everyone and everything. He relaxed his head into his knees, and rolled onto his side. The uneven undergrowth cushioning him and cradling his broken-ness. He closed his eyes and started to drift. He had been walking for hours, no food, no water. His limbs were weary, worn down by the adrenaline. His thoughts became less definitive, more soft and diminutive.

He dreamed of them. He called to them. But there was no answer.

Only blackness.

*

It was a horrible dream. A tangle of indecipherable things. It felt sharp and disingenuous. He was alone and exhausted and the floor was pulled out from under him. He was fighting something that wasn’t there. He was arguing with someone who wasn’t there.

He felt a kick to the kidneys and was flung out into a ditch. He waited and waited, but the ditch never came. He was falling into it, but endlessly – forever expecting the thud of the ground. Endless expanse and endless stars engulfing him. He couldn’t move, and his panic grew ever so slowly, like a beloved rose, rising to the morning sun.

Suddenly he started – he had found the ground and awoke with a jolt. He exhaled, out of breath. Then he saw her.

Anava was kneeling beside him.

She was staring at him, eyes strong but glassy, concerned and still. Her lips tightened when he locked eyes with her. First he was baffled that she would be able to find him way out here. Then he felt immense and deeper than imaginable gratitude. Honored that she would even consider chasing after him.

“H- How did you find me out here?” His throat was hoarse. He remembered screaming and turned red.

“Oh, it wasn’t any trouble. I just found you a moment ago.”

“Oh.” Zerian cleared his throat. At least she wasn’t watching him sleep while twisted up in a nightmare. Then he remembered his current real life nightmare and grimaced. He wondered how much she knew. Then he felt a pang of anger at her. Jealousy for living a life oblivious – a life he was not a part of but should have been.

“Z, I’m worried about you. Why did you run off?”

Then Anava tilted her head slightly to one side just like Dusti used to do. Zerian nearly lost it, but kept his mouth shut. He knew if he spoke it would all come crashing in.

Her eyes searched him as he sat upright. He stretched his stiff neck and felt a drop of sweat fall from his forehead. Time seemed to slow down. He cracked a few knuckles. “I’m fine,“ he mumbled. “I’m – It’s just – I’m not – You didn’t have to. Really, I’m just – “

Zerian rubbed his eyes, which were probably bloodshot, and looked at her again. His thoughts disorganized, like he was spread all over the place. Spread across everything.

“This is not how the story begins,” she said abruptly, “and it is not how it ends, either.”

Zerian blinked, and then ever so slightly she leaned forward and placed her hand on his heart.

Keep going to Part 2