Falling into a Bottomless Well of Compassion

December 2009

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In the last two posts, I’ve illustrated a method for “putting your question to the world,” developed by Robert Moss, that my partner and I took with us on my birthday trip to Eureka Springs. My question was “How can I more effectively deal with those who feel threatened by my words, or my actions, or simply feel some need to oppose me for whatever reason?” I discussed the first half of the response from the world in my last post.

The other half of my message came to me toward the end of my time in Eureka Springs. With all the physical work that I had been doing lately – with my chain saw and various other chores around my ten-acre homestead, preparing for winter – my body was wracked by aches and pains, and I was looking forward to a weekend of indulgence in our little Jacuzzi suite. We both had a soak the night before, and massages late in the day on my birthday, and I was starting to feel more relaxed. Then suddenly, on the morning of the day after my birthday, I got up before dawn to pee, as I usually do, and then somehow managed to trip over my suitcase, and hit my ribs on a wooden bench that just happened to be there. After writhing in agony for about ten minutes, I spent the rest of my day clutching my chest and wincing every time I took a deep breath. As I write this, nearly a week later, I am still feeling sore and tender.

Again, as with my encounter with the friend who had no teeth, this seemed like something out of a dream that demanded symbolic consideration. Sitting with it for a few days, I started thinking about how fragile we are in these temporary bodies – held up by quite breakable bones; wrapped by skin that is easily cut and bruised; housing tender organs that can fail without warning; subject to invasion by strange viruses, rapidly moving objects, and environmental toxins. It is really a wonder that we make it as far through this world as we do, when the simple act of crossing a street at the wrong time, breathing the wrong air, drinking the wrong water, or falling down in the wrong set of circumstances can end the adventure.

The next post in this series is Questing for Common Ground.

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