Thursday, December 13th 2012
The long awaited film adaptation of The Hobbit, opens this weekend. I have been excited about this film coming into being since I first heard it may happen. I love The Lord of The Rings trilogy and I have watched the extended cuts multiple times. So, I have been revisiting these films, some of the text from the books, and my emotional connection to these, this past week. What do I love about these stories about an old wizard and a little guy with fury feet?
Despite all odds, incredible darkness and tremendous burden, one person because of another, sees reason to hope. One person sees in another an innocence, a pureness of heart, and an openness to life. Imagine if it were different. Imagine if Gandalf were cynical instead of hopeful. There would be no unexpected journey…because we would expect the journey to end in doom, darkness and destruction.
Doom, Darkness and Destruction.
This could be the mantra of a cynic. I mean it will never work out. He always acts that way. Nothing is ever going to change. I’m not surprised. She’ll never understand. Nothing can be done, the banks have all the power. The poor will always be with us. What does it matter? The world is going to end anyway….apparently on 12/21/12.
We love drama.
12/21/12 is a great example. Do people want the world to end? Do they want catastrophe to strike? One might think so with all the energy we have put into focusing on what horrible thing may happen on this date and how there is nothing we can do about it. Meanwhile, quietly in another room that very few are paying attention to there are others discussing ideas of transition and transformation, the ending of one era and the beginning of another. Why isn’t this as compelling or exciting – the idea of an opportunity to grow, to evolve, to mature, to transform? Then again, perhaps we will all wake up that day (of course at different times in different time zones) and nothing extraordinary will happen…I mean, besides waking up, still having a heartbeat, and breath going in and out of our lungs. Perhaps we will just be grateful to be alive, with life, in that moment. But why wait until then?
Cynicism is death.
I mean it. Cynicism is death.
It is death to hope. It is death to growth. It is death to love. It is death to living. Close all the doors, board up the windows and lock the gate, because I am not leaving any room for possibility. I am going to bury myself and keep myself company with the words “never” and “always”.
Cynicism is a lie.
If you live life long enough, if you look at life honestly, if you practice keeping your heart open…you begin to see that in an existence so full of change, so filled with impermanence, that there is no truth to “never” and “always”. Life is full of “it could be” and “not always so”. Life by its very nature of being impermanent and changing, IS possibility.
Cynicism is a signpost (Cynicism – the lie that points to a truth…)
The heart of the matter is this: cynicism is what happens when we leave our hurt unattended, when we do not take care to heal, when we allow our wounds to fester. Like an infection – our hurt, our woundedness – doesn’t just sit there, it isn’t sedentary. Like an infection, it moves, spreading and growing. Our pain, left unattended, evolves into bitterness. Soon, if left too long, this bitterness graduates into an overall negativity. We become jaded and our language is marked with “nevers” and “always”, we leave little to no room for possibility and life is slowly strangled. Sometimes, this is disguised as humor or indifference, but no matter how you change the costume…the actor underneath is the same. Cynicism is a wake up call that we have turned off the lights and are closed for business…that we have given up and don’t care…cynicism is a wake up call that we are not fully Living.
It can be sneaky too. Something happens to us and all of the sudden we have connected it to a past hurt that we haven’t visited for a while.
Here’s an example from my own life. We had our holiday party for work, earlier this week. I am single and have basically been so in all the years I have worked there. So…the holiday party can be a reminder of this. I step up to the table, “Just one?” I say, “Yes.” *Reminder #1. I walk around searching for friends and run into couples – couples mingling with couples. Couples taking pictures of other couples in front of the Christmas Tree. Couples lined up behind couples to take pictures in front of the Christmas Tree. *Reminder #2. I sit at a table with friends, who for the most part, are coupled. *Reminder #3. In general, I am used to these reminders and the love I have for my friends and the love they have for me is more than enough to fill my heart with happiness on such an evening. So, I blend myself into The Group and all is good. This year, however, I got separated from The Group. Miscommunication on seat-saving, left me out of the group. I was fortunate to sit next to another friend and his significant other. But as lovely and gracious as they were, I felt like a third wheel. It was somewhat downhill from there, mainly due to my attitude I have to admit. As I stepped out of the room and into my own pity party, I heard myself saying, “I’m not going to attend next year, because nothing is ever going to change. Nothing has changed in the years past. I’m 37 years old and if I haven’t found someone, if they haven’t found me, it isn’t going to happen.”
Wow. Hold the phone…or better yet, call for help.
Someone (me) hasn’t been dealing with what is quite obviously a hurt, a disappointment, that has been living just deep enough for me to conveniently avoid. It isn’t that my hurt is unjustified. It hurts to want to connect in such a way, to desire sharing your life with someone, and not have it happen. The problem, as I see it, is that it had grown to a point that I was saying things like, “Nothing is ever going to change…it isn’t going to happen.” I had allowed myself to get to a place where possibility is buried six feet under and hope is a candle extinguished.
Cynicism as gift.
Insofar that cynicism calls attention to our hurt, and connecting with our hurt – opening us to connecting to others who are hurting, it can be a gift. Insofar that cynicism wakes our attention and calls us to action, it can – as like all of what Life offers – be a gift. Like a siren calling, it showed me that I have some work to do, on a heart-level. To unravel some hurt and salve some wounds. To connect with what is the opposite of cynicism – with Hope.
Why hope? Because I have seen the Sun rise and Winter give birth to Spring…
So I meditate for myself and for all who are wounded (all of us), all who have hurt and disappointment (all of us), and all who have danced with cynicism (all of us)…
May we be happy
May we be peaceful
May we be free from hurt and anger
May we be free from negativity and despair
May we be free from all forms of suffering
May we be open to life
May we be open to love
May we be free to let go…
For more reading on this Solidarity Thursday topic, please check out these wonderful blogs: Ben at The Horizontalist, Esther at Church in the Canyon, and with a unique perspective, Triskaidekapod