Brahmachariya~abuse of power and how to grow ones power
domination of the mind and body was my first imprint entering the world. there is a soft and penetrating memory from my father’s presence…”you are unwanted. you were supposed to be a male child.”
doing my best to compensate for this ‘problem’ over which I had no power, the struggle to appear strong, smart, physically powerful, yet demur, sabotaged any hopes of clear thinking or a free and great mind. sadly this has been witnessed in so many others .
my mother had bought into being ‘invisible’ as her place… the silenced offspring of a great military personality, her life had value in her identity as a beauty, as she awaited the husband that would be chosen for her. she inhabited her life and motherhood, drugged, silenced and after 12 years of violence, she left unannounced for a ‘mental breakdown’….my ‘female’ role model.
after decades of sitting atop this boiling pot, it is still unimaginably terrifying to begin to consider how to off gas some of the rage and undecipherable mental, physical and energetic codes that continue to be triggered and unraveled each day. this contemporary world is so infused with such irreverence and violence. my ingrained personality has become stilled with the determination to stop tracking the environment for aggression. long moments or rest and quietude are needed to soothe my nervous system that is constantly aware of violence near and far. bars, loud music concerts and violent movies throw me over the edge, so my social life is…well…all about staying sane.
the acute sensitivity that develops in such beings is to be respected by the Self and friends. it is exhausting to be standing watch for the world, but in some poetic grace, it seems that we all are doing this as Divine creations. such keeps us connected to our deep empathic bonds of wisdom.this one thing offers me a small clear view from which to look into myself accompanied by these others who have been to hell and are back. its really all i have, this ability to know and feel the presence of my brothers and sisters who can know and understand the terror that has exhausted me my whole life.
the habit of silence represses so much Truth and so i witness myself and others… nervous with too much talk, shopping, gossip abusive sex and an inability to stop and feel, themselves or others. i may have gotten better at appearing to not be terrified. it is tempered with personal admonitions of ‘being afraid of everything’ as a starting truth, then wrestling with all thats there to define inner strength and focus, so that i can love myself because i can touch my compassion.
staying alive for so long is not what was planned. at 3 years old i remember trying to run away for my dark family on my tricycle. on a military base. i bargained with God to stay until i was 12 at which time i would be granted a great wish..and i was…a ballet scholarship to the NC School of the Arts. Unimaginable. Difficult. Full of hardship, but there was a roof, food and community of sorts (and a whole other brand of shaming and sexual adult acting out). selling day old baked goods, clothes were bought at Goodwill and almost made it until the end of high school. then, it was off to NYC to navigate being in ‘shows’ as my grandmother would say. there was homelessness, considered prostitution, pulling up and off of my clothes to pay the rent. my abuse had encoded a layer of frozenness that couldn't thaw, and those auditions just didn't ‘read’ as sexy enough to put me onstage. the dark closets, alleys and hallways from childhood were places already visited and too familiar to revisit.
this goes on and on and on…into kidnapping, almost prison, assault…all of which trained me to keep moving in some particular and horrible direction of futility and deep depression. seeing, hearing and sharing mutual tales of all of these aspects of the glamorous 'industry' of the arts created the depression that never seemed to lift from my heart and being, no matter how successful numbing medication was. no one else seemed to mind, but my friends were dropping like flies with hiv, reeling on prescriptions, carving and injecting their bodies to get on stage just for the paycheck of 'youth'. no one seemed to be complaining...so....i left.
today the lesson is to love my body, my being, my family, my friends, my unique sexuality, no matter how that wants to be expressed and practice and propagate no harm for all beings. within all of this vibrant complex life force tapestry, comfortable and not, my livingness continues to blossom and thrive. the healthier this ‘me’ gets the more integrated within the whole living matrix is ‘home’… a concept i never experienced until now.
now is here, writing about teasing out the ‘me’ in all of these conditioned imprints, due to the deep unconditioned love of my daughters. it is for the love and survival as a legacy for all children that this breath is mine.
perhaps ‘home’ is a place? for now it is a condition of sensed ‘interbeing’ as presence in this moment..as thich that hanh would invite.
from this source of connectedness, is deep nourishment and courage to be interested in all that has been silenced in order to liberate us all from the distress of being ‘separate’ so that we may love and care for all with the intelligence of tenderness and compassion.