It’s Dangerous To Go Alone. Take This!

h6d93d0c.pngCompassion – it is a double edged sword. If a person’s capacity for feeling compassion is not equaled by our capacity for acting with compassion, the results can be devastating. Feeling compassion for others is one of the greatest gifts one can have, however if our ability for feeling compassion outpaces our emotional serenity, and our effective communication skills are not well trained enough, our compassion can be nearly as damaging to all involved as would be hatred.

If we care so much that it hurts – which is at the heart of what the feeling of compassion is – that hurt can take its toll if we have not yet learned appropriately healthy coping mechanisms. The result can lead to poor choices – in both word, and deed – often leading to further frustrations and stress, and more often than should be, a complete falling out in relations. If only we can match our boundless capacity for feeling compassion with the proper tools necessary for doing compassion – calm serenity, and robust communication skills – we just might have a shot at living up to the mantle of “Jedi”.

“Compassion, Calm, Communication” – the three C’s, if you will – Zelda fans can liken it to the “Holy Triforce” of human societal interaction; they are the very pillars of effective human relations. And just as any tall table or stool will require at the very least, three legs in order to maintain stability, so too does the delicate balance of relationships require these three pillars – compassion, calm, and communication – in equal measure. Only in striking this balance are we able to transform the once daunting, and potentially destructive state of merely feeling compassion (and reacting to it’s pain in a haphazard and dangerous manner) into the effective, and truly desirable state of being one whose actions inherently express the very being of compassion .

May the Triforce be with you.;)

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Of Straws & Shards

I get it now – the Kobayashi Maru; I’ve always been the one to take the stance that if the rules of the game don’t allow for a winning move, then you change the rules. Such Captain Kirk idealism might be nice in theory, but it’s not realistic. Like the Doctor told Clara Oswald, “sometimes the only choices you have are bad ones, but you still have to choose”. My challenge for today is in learning to keep my balance, even knowing that I have played a part in something that has done a vast deal of harm to someone I care about – to accept the concept that my having a role in this person’s pain does not automatically make it my fault. It’s not something that is easy to come to grips with.

I reached out to someone in pain, and did my best to hold their hand through difficult times, but the depth of it all was so much more than I expected. I became overwhelmed. Had I the chance to redo the events from the beginning, would it have been better if I had not got involved? Absolutely not – we both brought joy to each other as well as pain. Would I take a more cautious approach? Definitely. It is noble and compassionate to go running to the aid of someone in need, but I was unaware at the time of the nature of this person’s need – that their broken heart was actually more akin to shattered glass, and I ran across it barefoot, blissfully unaware.

I understand now that a core part of true compassion needs to be a certain degree of realism – knowing that one actually has the capacity to sustain the aid to another that one wishes to provide until the crisis has passed. If one is unable to see a helpful action through to full fruition, it may end up doing more harm than good. That may or may not have been the case in this situation – it’s difficult to judge. All I can do right now is reflect, and try to remind myself that whether or not my part in these events was the “final straw”, it was but a single straw in a massive load, the weight of which I could never truly have fathomed was weighing this individual down.

It will take time to accept the concept of having culpability without punishing myself with absolute blame, but I refuse to let my back be broken.

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A Meditation on Recklessness

Alongside aggression and attachments, recklessness is listed in the book “The Jedi Compass” as one of several qualities to be overcome by all Jedi in the section on “Core Ethics”:

“A Jedi does not take unnecessary risks, knowing that their life is important to the Jedi Mission of bettering the world around them. In overcoming recklessness, a Jedi acknowledges and is mindful of how small the impact is perceived to have on themselves or others.”

The wording of the second sentence is a bit confusing to parse, but I believe I get the gist of it: we act recklessly because we do not consider that an action’s full ramifications – on ourselves, and others – are much greater than we perceive them to be. In overcoming recklessness, we recognize the vast ocean between our momentary perception of the potential consequences for all – which may seem minimal – and the actual magnitude that the risk being taken has within the bigger picture.

In considering how this applies to my personal situation, I can see that I have been quite reckless in my approach to diabetes management. My avoidance of medical treatments for controlling blood glucose levels – such as metformin – has been largely born out of fear, however I have a responsibility, both to my body and to those whose lives I wish to better, to protect my health. The most difficult part for me has been in assessing what one should consider a “necessary” vs. an “unnecessary” risk, so let me frame the idea in a slightly different way.

Yes, there is risk involved with any medication one takes, especially ones that purposely tamper with the body’s metabolic processes – some potential consequences can even be fatal. However it is a calculated risk, and the probability of such an end result is comparatively much lower than the 100% chance of morbidity that comes with a lifetime of recklessly unmanaged blood glucose numbers. Granted, it is true that life itself comes with a built-in 100% fatality rate, but in my estimation, any way one can sensibly avoid unnecessarily shortening one’s lifespan through reckless endangerment can only add to the sum total of potential benefit that one can help to manifest in the lives of others.

And there’s nothing scary about that.

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Let Go Of The Saber, And Find The Light?

I am finding myself re-examining my priorities yet again – I’ve been so ill the last few days that my studies have taken a back seat to the need to get through my day without falling into despair, but these practices are a key part of what helps me to stay centered. I have made some dear friends at the Temple, and after a few good hard knocks, I’m coming to understand the concept that true friendship requires hard work – as does any truly worthwhile endeavor. As such, I feel I’d be much better off using my time and energy to cultivate relationships with others, and with the Force, rather than expending it on expensive toys with little practical application in my life, such as lightsaber collecting and/or building.

A real lightsaber is not the lightsaber of fantasy – mistaking it as such is to give an exalted status to a glorified “Glo-Stick”. Furthermore, even within the realms of fictional myth, any “holy blade” is only truly useful insofar as its ability to represent an idea. To many – myself included – the lightsaber has served as a helpful visual cue to represent the Jedi ideal, and the Jedi way. But it ought not be taken as a surrogate for actual Jedi living – while I am certain that sufficiently advanced Jedi may be able to easily separate the two, I myself am finding that clinging to this metaphor for the Jedi life distracts from my ability to actually work toward living those ideals which it has come to represent. Could you imagine everyday Christians walking around with their own personal “Excalibur” and “Holy Grail” strapped to their belts?

And then we come to the questions of attire – “traditional” Jedi dress, or costumes – I do believe that it has a place within Jedi Realism. Perhaps it may be something best associated with clergy? Perhaps not – one could argue either way. Within the fiction such attire was considered humble, but in our real-life Western world, it would most likely be seen as outlandish and attention-grabbing. Perhaps in the modern Western context, the humble “everyman” quality of the plain t-shirt and blue jeans (or skirt) are closest to what could be considered as true Jedi traditional attire. I suppose it depends on one’s culture and point of view. Should we avoid shirts that make a “statement”, or with logos or other things that express our personal individual interests and tastes?

I don’t believe that it need be taken to such an extreme, however it certainly can’t hurt to ponder the question.

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Learning To Crawl

Okeday, here’s the deal. I have gastroparesis, which is actually most likely linked to uncontrolled diabetes – high glucose numbers can do damage to the vagus nerve and cause all sorts of headaches, or in this case stomachaches. Why has my diabetes gone untreated for so long? A number of reasons, primarily fear – while I have been in denial for a long time because of the sheer trauma of watching my grandfather die of diabetic complications, in those moments of clarity when I sought out help controlling my numbers, doctors prescribed a medication with scary potential side effects.

If the potential side effects weren’t scary enough, I was also being influenced by my mothers’ fears about the medication, that it would drop my glucose TOO low, also being dangerous. This happened with my grandfather often, however he was also on insulin, and this is only an issue with those who take insulin – getting my mother to accept this has been a major hurdle.

Now however, I’m learning to let go of my fear, and the time to act is now. Completely independent of what is done for my gastroparesis, my diabetes needs to be managed to avoid further havoc on my body, and that means treating it – accepting the good with the bad, which is the only mature thing, as they are inseparable.

Walking The Long Road

So, I thought it was high time that I posted something that wasn’t just an embed of one of my YouTube videos, but right now I’m just going to talk about what I’ve been dealing with day-to-day. I’ve been feeling pretty sick for a while – it seems every year or two I end up going through a long period of digestive misery. No one seems to know what causes it, but I end up with horrible acid reflux and stomach pain for weeks or even months – I’ve already lost seven pounds in the last two weeks because the only thing I’ve been able to handle is egg whites.

At any rate, I saw a GI doc today and he prescribed me some Carafate to coat and protect the lining of my stomach and esophagus. He’s pretty sure I’ve got idiopathic gastroparesis – diagnosis I’m familiar with – as well as gastritis. It’s a particularly special flavor of misery that I suggest one avoid if at all possible. However, even with these things ailing me, I still feel very much at peace right now. I want to wish congratulations to everyone out there who can now marry legally across the U.S.A. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s good to see people in power do what is right every now and then.

Sometimes I find myself wondering if I’ll ever find someone who I can feel that way about – other times I find myself wondering if that’s even something I want. I thought that I was in love a couple of times. The first relationship lasted ten years before I realized I was being used – the second, well it barely even got off the ground. In a way, being asexual gives me the luxury of not have to worry so much about being in a relationship, however I’m asexual, not aromantic, and I do on occasion find myself longing to snuggle up with someone on the sofa and watch anime into the wee hours of the night with.

Is there love out there for a nearly forty year-old transgender romantic asexual Jedi with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses? Who can say? I suppose I haven’t thought about in quite a while, but the Supreme Court decision has got me thinking about it, and I admit it – I’m terribly lonely. But if my road is to remain a solitary one, at least I shall walk it knowing that none of us are ever truly alone, when we understand that our separateness and distance is illusion. Even still, it sure feels lonely.

May the Force be with you, always.

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