Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Stubborn, Entitled Self

Erik, my grandson, at 21 months
A few years ago I wrote a blog post called "Renouncements." You can read it here if you're in the mood for a laugh.

I claimed then to be giving up some troublesome habits. I'm still struggling with most of them.

Red wine is a smaller problem than it used to be but still on my radar. I have to be careful.

I continue to eat red meat although the guilt is crushing. (See Cowspiracy.)  

I returned to the Vermont Studio Center during the Polar Vortex of 2014 for a writing retreat. I didn't stay long.

In 2016, I traveled on an airplane to Sligo, Ireland, partly to visit Yeats's grave. As it turned out, he's probably not even buried there.

I'm still coloring my hair, and I've begun to watch the occasional violent film, particularly since Trump was elected, and particularly if Denzel Washington is starring.

I have a grandson now. I'd lay down my life for him without a moment's hesitation.

I'm trying the Unitarian Church.

BUT . . .  I still haven't read Lolita.

* * *

I've been back to therapy, too, and it's still about adjusting to life as we find it. Here's the big difference between 2013 and today. There is no longer any other choice than to adjust. We've waited too long to make any significant changes in our collective habits and policies. Now we know that the storms are coming no matter what. The droughts are coming. The heat and the breathing problems are coming. Like many in the Pacific Northwest, I spent part of August struggling to breathe as the smoke from the British Columbia forest fires and unusually hot weather coincided. (How much longer will I use the word unusually?) We must try to survive these new conditions, these enforced changes to our personal habits, without turning into monsters.

Man wading down a post-Irma street in Naples, Florida
(photo by The Atlantic).
What I mean by the title of this new blog is that it's time to evolve. It's time for me to evolve. Setting my stubborn, entitled self on a more evolved path won't prevent any of the disasters coming at us, but it might make me face them with more scruples, more generosity. It might lead me to be more effective in caring for the people I love. It might allow me to reimagine what's truly comforting. Would that be revolutionary? It depends on how you define revolution.





In the past, changing the self and changing the world were often regarded as separate endeavors and viewed in either-or terms. But in the story of the Great Turning, they are recognized as mutually reinforcing and essential to one another. --Joanna Macy

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