Every day, I encounter a new challenge to the idea that things can and should be open and real.

Be it social, political, or personal, serious or trivial -- every time, I ponder the implications.

I hope you'll join me in the conversation!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

What Could Have Been

The Return of the Jedi.....ahhh. How I love the Star Wars saga, and I know I'm not alone. It
resonates for a reason, that simple reason being it rests on the greatest themes of all time.

Lately this image from the end of ROTJ literally keeps appearing in my mind. Trying to figure it out I've realized that I have many friends who are grappling with the permanent scars life is lashing on them. Myself, I have angled to try to convince myself and others that these dramatic and painful events aren't permanent, that we can overcome, that by lending our thoughts and our efforts towards good -- towards The Force, if you'll forgive me -- is the way out.

I've always identified with Luke Skywalker from the "could go either way"perspective. I'm not an Obi Wan, always clear and focused, without doubts and never truly in peril. I recognize and look up to those people, but I could never claim to be them. (Maybe in about 30 years....)

But I'm not an Anakin all the way, either. I battle darkness, and anger, and the occasional conviction that I can overcome what hurts me with more hurt. But I don't really believe that. And I don't want the people I love to ever believe that either.

So I look at my friends in pain, and I see their turning point. And I think about my own. There are clear moments to me when the woman I could have been, the woman I wanted to be, was lost to this life. My personal spiritual beliefs tell me that even if we go the wrong way, we will be restored to who we could have been through love. But you know.....I want to see that person, those people, NOW.

My heart is hurting for the turning point of losing ourselves in this life.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sisyphus-Cat Tries Again

Every culture has mythology to explain the human condition. There's always a creation myth, a big flood story, and the classic how-much-trouble-can-you-get-in-for-messing-with-the-gods stories. No one does it like the Greeks. In fact, I'd say every time I hear "mythology" I whisper "Greek."

When my sister and I were children, our parents invested in an entire library of Childcraft encyclopedias, and one arrived every month until the set was complete at around 24 volumes. I can only recall with any clarity one of all those books, and that book was Greek Mythology. I absolutely loved those stories, and as sacreligious as it may be to some, I learned more about the perils of being human and the deep warnings of hubris there than from anything I ever read in church.

The two stories that I have carried most closely in a conscious way are Pandora's Box and Icarus. I probably conjure up those lessons on a weekly basis to manage my life. But lately I've been thinking about dear old Sisyphus.

There is a lot more to it than this (and like many ancient stories, more than one version and more than one interpretation), but in short Sisyphus was punished by the gods for having the audacity to think he could play by their rules. His punishment manifested itself as having to push a huge boulder up a hill every day, only to have it roll down to the bottom again before he reached the top and could rest and have satisfaction.

He did this for eternity.

I always thought the old guy got off pretty good when it came to divine punishments. At least he didn't get his liver pecked out by a vulture every day, only to have it grow back again like Prometheus, right? When I was kid I thought, "Well, he knows what he has to get up and do again tomorrow. He knows what's in front of him, and he's going to try again."

Most days, I still feel that way. Sure, there are some days I wake up frustrated that the same struggles I had the day/week/month/year before continue to be in front of me. Those are hard days. But most days, I wake up grateful for another chance to keep trying.

And when you keep trying in the face of overwhelming odds, you kind of stick it to the gods, and that feels pretty good sometimes. I love that about Greek mythology too, that there is a much thinner line presented between all gods and all humans than in Biblical stories. The playing field isn't even, but it's always interesting.

Today I'm feeling very "game on." Which probably means I'm not really paying attention. Oh well.