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Help and Be Helped.

November 3, 2010

Another long, exhausting day at work.  What I am learning more and more about this work — about the helping profession — is how true the cliché: ‘you can’t help without being helped’ really is.  There is so much to learn from people.  From all people.  I feel especially blessed to be in the position I am where I get to interact with people most over look as worthless.  My day started early (yet not as early as when I was commuting….ten minutes to work!!) at Miriam’s where I sat in on their writing workshop.  I missed the poetry reading, but heard the comments.  Such wealth of insight.  So beautifully expressed.  I felt honored that I am allowed to sit in on these circles and that I have been able to form relationships with these individuals.

As I was sitting there, exhausted due to my lack of sleep resulting from an incredibly emotional and confusing day, I honed in on one of the men in the group.  The first time I was invited to sit in on the group this man, dressed in a suit, showed up late and I thought he was one of the leaders.  As the morning progressed, I realized he was one of Miriam’s consumers.  There was a subconscious and immediate change in my perception.  I hated it.  I have been thinking about this — on some level — all day.  The perception, bias, stigma we attach to others.  To ourselves.

I had a rather long (and fabulous) conversation with Mick today about homelessness — and the more voluntary homelessness due to a lack of desire to exist under the norms and pressures of society (whenever I say or write the word society, Emile Hirsch’s, as Chris McCandless in Into the Wild, voice sounds in my head).  There are those of us who have a different perspective than most.  Our minds are very much outside the box.  Mick — who is on a similar level as myself which probably is the reason I so enjoy his company — spoke in amazement of my mind.  My way of viewing and seeing and the things I think about and care to share.  I am very much different.  Most have classified me as weird or psycho — when I was young this was a very, very difficult and painful stigma to carry, but it is easier now because I see the way ‘normal’ lives turn out.  Not the life I desire.  I desire so much more.

I wish I had that pen recorder that I will soon be getting.  The conversations around or with me today were so good.  The intellectual conversations that exist on the spiritual plane that I have so been missing.  Academia and academics exist on a different level and I do not care for that level.  I like to spend my time philosophizing — but on a down-to-earth level.  Not so high and lofty and abstract.  For an outrageous personality I certainly hold practicality in high regard.

This AM I was engaged in conversation about politics and life.  I spoke of the inability for world peace.  How naive and idealistic — and not possible — such a goal is.  It’s missing the point.  Ignoring the other side.  Know your enemy.  We are the enemy.  And we are the saviors of ourselves.  Within every single human being exists love and compassion and hate, greed, ego, jealousy…You can not deny the more negative attributes of the human condition and work for a world and society in which those attributes do not exist.  They exist!  So you work for a more just world.  You work toward bettering yourself.  Toward acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses and working on them. Sometimes simply becoming aware of your thoughts and/or behaviors in the moment goes a long way.  And being kind to yourself.  It is a life long, shaping process.  There is no end.  Life is fluid.  Continuous.  We are ever changing.  Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

There is so much knowledge out there.  We must decide what we want to know.  I have decided — consciously and un — that it is people I desire to gain knowledge and awareness of.  I want to understand and one can only understand that which one has experienced.  So I am looking for experience.  For those at-arms-length, low emotional risk, secure brief yet powerful interactions with people.  The thing is — they don’t exist.  At least not for my world.  To engage with another in the way I desire to engage…to truly get into another’s skin and understand…that is where pure love exists, in the understanding.

So I guess the only job I want and the only job I have ever wanted is to learn people and in doing so to learn love.

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