Thursday, October 17, 2013

"Help Ever. Hurt Never." - A Parking Encounter Stirs Thoughts on Fear, Threat and Power

I'm accustomed to backing into parking spaces when I parallel park, yet recently on a busy street at my local farmer's market, I saw a space and pulled in front end first.  My car was now at an angle to which I was unaccustomed and I felt awkward trying to park in what seemed like reverse.

The couple in front of me stood at the rear of their car.  Their moving would open two spaces and increase my chances of parking correctly or at least with more peace.  I waited.  I smiled at her as she made eye contact and semi-smiled in return. 

The man arranged and rearranged things in the trunk.  I wasn't in a hurry though I was concerned the rear of my car would eventually block traffic.  I inched forward toward him then stopped.  I didn't feel comfortable.  Unbeknownst to me, I wasn't the only one feeling discomfort.

The man appeared to be putting away produce bags so I assumed they were departing rather than arriving.   I finally called out, "Are you leaving?" as he continued to rearrange things in the trunk. My intent was to gather information so I could assess my next move or non-move.   The young woman appeared to tell the  the man what I said then she gave me a semi-smile (again) that I thought suggested yes.

Being someone of mostly great patience, I wasn't prepared for what followed.  As the man continued to rummage through the trunk, he held a sign up specifically for me to see, a sign that read:  "District Attorney."  The second line as best as I recall read: "on official business." (My) Truth be told I was stunned or as I told my friend at the market moments later I felt slime-ed and violated. 

As quickly as he had taken the sign from the trunk, he put it away, got in the car and drove away.  I parked and sat there thinking, 'What just happened?'  This stranger, whoever he was, assumed I was up to something negative and he needed to remind me of who he was or for whom he worked.

An hour later as I sat with an Angel Radiance candle (purchased at the market) glowing by my side and a sliver of moon growing overhead, I got it.  This man flashing his sign, using what he perceived as power, felt threatened by me.  By me?  I feel so nonthreatening yet in that moment as I pondered what occurred I realized he didn't know me and thus he must have truly feared I was about to hit him physically as he stood at his car's trunk. 

This stranger held up a sign whereas someone else could have spoken a few choice words, given me a middle finger (Is it still called the 'bird' and why do we pin that on birds?) or held up a gun (like the young woman in the car on West End as I held a sign reading "Stop Violence" last V-day. I don't think I ever wrote about that it was so perplexing to me.) 

Sign, finger, gun or words - they're really all the same.  When threatened, it seems the first response of many folks is to attack whether by sign, word, gesture or weapon.  When some soul's feel threatened they need to remind the other, in this case me the perceived threatener, of who they are and to back off.

(I sense this feeling threatened or fear of having one's way of life threatened underlies many if not all of the larger  political, religious, societal brawls of yesterday and today.  When a dominate group/paradigm/ model/way of living is threatened by a growing group or just a different way, attacks are launched and the spin begins.  This seems of late to be a 24/7 phenomenon.)

I told myself this man's response really wasn't about me - and yet it was about me - what my being in that space at that moment provoked in him.  While waiting to park, I was an unintentional provoker, who for this person connected to power stirred fear.

Intellectually I know things such as this aren't about me.  I've read this in books.  I tell this to clients when they're in similar predicaments.  If it's not really about me, what is it about?  In what seemed like an instant under the moon with "Divine Illumination" (the candle I chose at the market) at my side I got it not just in my head, but in my body, soul and heart in a way I need.

Until I got deep down inside this last piece that it really wasn't about me, I harbored angry energy toward this stranger because I felt my integrity was attacked.  Yes, I too felt threatened.  This little, big epiphany suddenly allowed me to hold compassion for this man who truly feared me.  I was filled with peace.
Moments later, I temporarily left my corner of our deck and walked inside.  I don't recall why I did, yet as I got to the sink, my right knee had a pain.  I grimaced then looked down.

My gaze fell on a yogurt container specifically on the lid where I read the phrase:  Hurt never.

In my sink was a message for me and it was not in reference to my knee.  We have used this container daily for a year to collect coffee grounds yet not once have I, a noticer, noticed the words on the lid.

Then I saw the words on the left of the container.
I read:  Help ever. 

I knew immediately the message meant for me.  I am here to always help and in turn to never hurt another, not just through my actions, but with my thoughts and energy.    

This slogan a reference to how Seven Stars Farm treats their cows was the very message of which I needed to be reminded.

"Help ever.  Hurt never."

Just as I had been sitting in a position not good for my knee, I had been holding a position that isn't good for me. Holding compassion and understanding for the man whose fear I stirred felt like help as opposed to harboring anger which hurt each of us.  

This simple directive wasn't just the answer to how to be in relation to the stranger.  It is the answer to my earthly dilemma.  There are periods when I wonder how I will continue to live on beautiful Earth amidst so many things that bring sorrow to my sensitive soul.  I wrestle with how to live awake and engaged and not consumed with fury when animals are mistreated, tortured and killed, when dogs are used for fighting, when the land, women, men, and children are raped, and those who make obscene (my opinion) amounts of money seem to have no care as to what's enough or how their money's made.

Yet when I am aligned internally with who I really am I can joyfully hold with deep compassion and a desire to understand those who harm, hurt and kill the things I love.  Sourced in joy, I feel what a gift it is to get to show up and live on beautiful Mother Earth.  I can mindfully ask what helps in a particular situation and listen for whether there something I need to say or do that can help bring about understanding or bridge building rather than perpetuate hurt and fear.   

"Help ever. Hurt never" helps me live in my place of power.  It reminds me of who I am and from this place, all is well.  There is no need for fear.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse  17 October 2013


Leisa Hammett said...

Wow. This is such a beautiful post, Dawn. I will tweet and share on FB this weekend. Thank you for sharing your journey. And I could not agree more. My favorite part is the yogurt container--the words, that you'd missed them, that you saw them right when you needed, etc.

Jamie Miles said...

This is beautiful. You are right, it only hurts us more if we don't release the anger and hurt.

Unknown said...

Thank you SouthMainMuse and yes, Lesia, isn't it perfect those words were right there before me just when needed. And thank you for passing this along to others along the way.