Identify what is most important )0( Eliminate everything else
The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world. Dr. Paul Farmer
The suffering of others is not alleviated when no one knows about it.
There is no one right way to live. Daniel Quinn Ishmael
The only thing that you need to start an asylum is an empty room and the right sort of people.
We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. Kurt Vonnegut

Tuesday, January 28, 2014


I just finished Dean Koontz's Innocence.

It has raised an entire encyclopedic examination of who I believe myself to be.   Of what am I capable of doing.  Or, not doing.  What I am made of and if it is worth a rat's ass.

Even though I know how it turns out, I will be reading it again to discover all the more finely nuanced questions that this book poses.  If someone has not yet read this book, skipping to the end will not help the teeniest in beginning to understand what this book means.

It has earned the right to be experienced from the beginning.

And, so I begin.  This is the most thoughtful I have ever been here.  Interesting.

Could I?

Sacrifice for my family. 
Do.  With love.
I make no exceptions, even for those who have not been my biggest fans or who have not done things for me.  Or, have betrayed me.

Sacrifice for my friends. 
Do.  With love, because they are my family, too. 
There are conditions, although they are not particularly stringent.

Sacrifice for my work. 
Do.  Because I care about them and it is part of my calling to do this work.
Few conditions, but more than I have for my friends.
I am willing to have boundaries for my clients in a way that I cannot for my friends.
I think that doing the whole boundaries thing is important for my work to be effective.  And, meaningful.  Strange, huh?  That I would extend kind of support to strangers more easily than I do for people I love/like.

Sacrifice for my community. 
Sort of, through outreach work, volunteering and donations, and whilst it is part of my belief process, it has the potential to be lessened or stopped if more pressing needs present themselves.
Conditional, once in a while, based mostly as concerns my resources.
Very strong commitment to not disappoint.  Not sure what the disappoint means; it just slipped through my fingertips.

Sacrifice for my political beliefs and the welfare of my city/state/country.  
I cherish and respect my vote. 
I will be publicly present when it means something to me.
I may protest when there is reason to do so.  Or, I will protest is someone tries to make me do something I do not want to do.

Sacrifice for my planet.
Do.  With love for this fragile living thing that makes it possible for me to have life.
I struggle with simplifying my life enough to make the smallest possible effect on her.
I fail at this often enough to distress me.  I keep trying to do better.

Would I?

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping family.
No.  Probably not. 
I might balk for some people, for some specific issue, although I would try to keep that to myself.
But, I would still help.
A continuing problem, especially when what someone wants is not in anyone's best interest, would (hopefully) be discussed and a solution found that benefits most everyone's interest.
Bottom line, helping is different from sacrificing. 
There is a nearly invisible line between helping and rescuing, and more than a rescue or more...does not really help anyone, not the recipient and most especially not the helper.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping friends.
I am including acquaintances.
I know them so well, mostly, that it is easy to help just about anyone.  Even my foes, and, yes, I do have people in my life (mostly work) that do not like me and never will.
Perhaps this is tied up with my previous strongly held belief that I truly had nothing to offer anyone and needed to always say yes to whatever anyone asked or demanded of me.  If I was not useful, I was nothing.
I find it interesting that I have less conflict about helping friends (keeping in mind that I consider them to be true family) than I do my birth, adoption and marriage family.
I wonder if it could be the more flexible links between us.
It often seems as though there is never any reservation to help friends.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my clients or anyone else I see through outreach or volunteer work.
The only qualifications I have for helping clients and the peers I counsel is that they do their part of the work (not always possible at the beginning, but it develops), and attend to it when they are able (not always possible at the beginning or because of other disabling conditions and circumstances).
What I ask them to do is often stunningly difficult.
I am patient.
I give lots of second chances.
I make every accommodation, for most of them are suffering and struggling in ways that I can only imagine.
I use my own experiences to better understand what someone else might be struggling with.
I offer extra resources.
I do not take rejection or lack of ability to do the work personally.
The three days I do this work are the only days I have no problems leaving the house or engaging with other people.
I wish that I could take this energy and lack of judgement into the rest of my life.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my community.
Sacrifice is fine, helping is more difficult, because I am a basically lazy person.  I am pretty much a slacker when it comes to hard physical work.
I suppose the best I can do is to be the best citizen I can and to keep volunteering. 

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my city/state/country.
Sure.  Political stuff is not my stuff.  I am probably the most apolitical person I know.  Maybe not.
I will always vote.
I will publicly support and help whatever underdogs...people or causes...come my way.
I will recycle.
I will cross the street at designated crosswalks, especially if they have traffic lights to help me make it across without much danger of being run over by other old babes like me.
I will obey all the laws, even the ones I think are stupid.

Have any restrictions or reservations about helping my planet.
I will continue to do whatever I can to live more simply.  Said that already, but it still holds.
I will recycle, except for aluminum cans, which I will sell, even though they bring a pittance.
I will conserve water and all other resources.
I will continue to drive as little as possible, which most weeks is only one day, when I have to to get groceries and do my laundry.  I have constructed my life so that I can walk everywhere else.  I call it exercise by default, same with taking the stairs at work.
I will continue to struggle about eating animals.  In my defense, I have problems with most carbs and feel better when I eat meat.  Now that my resources have improved, I will eat more meat.  Besides, the umami cannot be beat by anything except roasted vegetables, which go so nicely with meat.

Some of this really just flowed out of me.  Most of it took lots of thinking and examination to find and understand how I feel and believe and act in my life.  I could not have done this even a year ago.  I would have been too frightened of the process.  Terrified.  Maybe I have come further in my healing and recovery than I think I have.

I can envision performing this same exercise again and again. None of the other therapeutic practices have appealed or worked for me, but I may have accidentally...or prophetically...stumbled on to the one for which I have bee waiting.

So, my life.

Could I sacrifice everything for my own life?  Not so much benefit, as I believe that I create my own basic support, but more like being able to give up something or someone that/who is essential to living well.
Could I really sacrifice those things and people I hold sacred?
I would sacrifice for them, although I am not certain that I could divest myself of anyone who I love with the entirety of my entire being.
I would be able to do that only if the benefit to the other person was greater than the loss to me.
Yeah, I could do that. 
Not in a heartbeat, but I could do it.

Would I help myself?
I can.
I do.
I try to make most days count for something.
I try to appreciate everything that I have, everything I could have or experience and appreciate even the past, that other life, which I hope, someday, to be able to not have to refer to as that other life.
I help myself by making my own choices, good, bad or indifferent.
I help myself by not being destroyed by failure, by not being discouraged by making mistakes.
I help myself by understanding my past and finding those places in my heart where forgiveness lives and sharing it unconditionally.
I help myself with every single thing I do to change the way I used to respond to, well, just everything and most people.
I help myself by being as honest as possible, whilst holding dear to sensitivity and respect for others.
I try.
I can.
I do.

Boy, do I do.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read the book, J but I am sure the author would be thrilled to know her book had such an impact!