Monday, July 25, 2011


* one who reflects

Hello!  My name is Linda and I'm a Reflectionary.  I reflect on things and I reflect things.  Right now, I'm reflecting on the fact that I yearn to be a Revolutionary.  A full-time, full-blown Revolutionary. I'm not there yet.  Before I can move from my Reflectionary place as one who inspects and reflects and dissects, I must identify my intended revolutionary path.  It can't be a violent path.  It can't be loud and rude.  Violence and rudeness don't suit me.  At this reflectionary moment in my time---that time being a Monday in late July---I am reflecting on empathy.  Yes, EMPATHY.  That is my path, I tell myself as I sit here in my study, with my dog Ruby sleeping nearby and some Wonder Woman ephemera staring down at me from high on a shelf, over a collection of books about mountain climbing disasters, Patagonian travels, Haitian voodoo and Myanmar art...Empathy.  

The word PATH is right there, resting in the comforting arms of Empathy.

A few seconds ago, with my fingers poised over the keyboard, I was about to write to encourage the few readers, who might find their way to this wonder blog, to "be more empathetic" to take time to empathize with those in our world who are living in war zones or who are starving in drought plagued regions or who have grave illnesses or fears...But it's too soon for me to ask anyone to do that---too soon to tell anyone my views on the importance of empathizing with others who share the world with us.  Too soon---because I must first do more and feel more (empathize more) than I have in the past.  I must first understand more deeply what that means...and I must acknowledge that my personal empathy switch turns on and off---depending upon my own state of mind, of understanding.  

To be empathetic can be dangerous. 

For example: one can forget to look up and down while crossing the street if one has just looked at images in a magazine of skeletal children crying in hunger.  Or one can damage one's credit by writing checks to humanitarian aid organizations or peace and justice organizations instead of writing checks for one's utilities or car payment.  One can miss a dentist appointment while demonstrating for the end of war on a street corner somewhere.  Or, one can get one's name on a government watch list by declaring, on certain social networks, that one is in stark disagreement with certain international governmental policies...Even if these are ways of acting on righteous empathetic impulses (and I am personally familiar with these examples) they can be dangerous.  Dangerous!  These small acts of empathy can impact one's life in a BIG and challenging way. 

However:  eventually, if we are lucky, we reach a certain age (an age like mine, for instance) and, at that point, if one has resigned or retired from one's so-called career (like I have recently done) and if one cries at the sadness of helpless children and at the struggles of mothers and fathers in ravaged lands and if one abhors the carnage of war and the costs of such carnage (as I absolutely do)...then perhaps one is ready---or preparing to be ready (having duly "reflected") to let go of the art and the books and comforts of a relatively safe life and to go gently into a life of graceful, non-violent, thoughtful, loving, generous, effective REVOLUTIONARY CONSCIOUSNESS and ACTION.

The transformation (for me) is beginning!  

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