Kicking against the pricks


Posted by in November's Magazine

I hit the wall the other day. I don’t mean figuratively. In a world that over-uses the word literally to a figuratively criminal degree, I literally hit the wall. Punched the wood panelling in my rather nice office in the presbytery. Didn’t do any damage to it, just completely knackered my hand. Which says it all really doesn’t it. Woman tried to smash patriarchy: hurts fist.

It surprised me I have to say. I have spent thousands of pounds in therapy being told I need to get in touch with my anger and have never really succeeded much, but there it was. And in one of those rare moments we have where we get to listen to ourselves I heard myself say this is real. But I still don’t know quite where it came from.

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I have been reading these books by someone called Eckhart Tolle. You should check them out if you haven’t. It’s all about being in the moment. So I have been taking lots of walks and listening to lots of birds and even been shat on occasionally by them, which is a bit *too* much connecting with the moment for my taste. But he also talks about the Pain Body. We all have pain bodies, all the stuff we store inside us that fights to keep us miserable. And we also have collective pain bodies, and well I just really think that is what’s happening at the moment. Our collective Pain Body is going nuts. Women I mean. After all, we’ve had centuries of persecution, rape and violence. And now, well, we’ve got persecution, rape and violence.

I think that it why so many of us are angry right now. Everywhere in the news there are things that make us angry, not because they are surprising but because they seem to be surprising other people. What, did you not know the world was like this? Were you not listening? We ask, as we find ourselves running through our own inventories. The times we said no, the times we just didn’t want to. The times we can’t remember, the times we can’t forget. The things we know we could have reported, and the many, many more that we couldn’t because people who are really practised at messing with our heads are too clever to actually resort to anything physical or violent, and its never going to be illegal to be a bastard now is it?

But anger won’t help and punching walls certainly won’t. I know I need to feel my anger but I need to wrap a bit of space around it too, which I can do if I listen to/get shat on by enough birds. I need to tell stories without becoming them, need to remember that it’s #MyExperienceToo rather than #MeToo.  And that the power and the fighting and the arguments and the punching is all part of the same bullshit, the way that the people with the big penis substitute bombs and skyscrapers operate, and it doesn’t have to be like that, we can do things differently.

We can be vigilant. After all, there are only two types of people in the world; those who make people do things they don’t want to, and those who don’t. It’s our duty as the latter to call the former out wherever we see them in action. And we demonstrate a different way of being, because every single bit of treating people decently and respectively is a ripple that will create a wave, a flutter that will cause a thunderstorm, and one day it will be enough to change the hearts of even the nastiest bastards, the ones with the bombs and the skyscrapers. It will have to be.

And maybe we can even forgive. We can forgive if we remember that the powerlessness that we are being made to hold is only the trickle-down, it’s only the leftover bits that they can’t bear to hold themselves. That the collective Pain Body of millennia of violence and oppression is perhaps not more painful than the collective Pain Body of millennia of carrying out violence and doing the oppressing. Not deep down. Not where it matters. Because we are not our Pain Bodies, we are the lovely, soft, yielding bits underneath them, the bits that our unhappiness and anger tries to squash. And those bits are all the same.

So the panelling in the presbytery walls is safe for now. I take advantage of the good acoustics they create instead, and find myself singing we shall overcome, and one of the other versions of it which says we are not to blame, we are not to blame, we are not to blame today or any day. And I realise, perhaps for the first time, that I really do mean it when I sing…deep in my heart, I do believe, that we shall overcome some day. ν

Info: Living the Liberated Life and Dealing with the Pain-Body by Eckhart Tolle (Sounds True Publishing)

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