"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Friday, July 6, 2007

Ebbets Field is Dead; or, That's the Krump

In yesterday's post, I spoke with you about a simple joy that is available to all of us: laughter. That the laughter was considered to be part of bodywork by the kundalini kriya that I referenced was quite a pleasing idea for me, one that I find most welcome.

It is my wish for you, dear reader, to laugh, and laugh really well, mind you, at least once a day. (Did you follow the embedded Darth Vader link from that post? It's a secret vice, looking at those images. But most definitely good for a laugh.)
Dear reader, since I made a resolution here to you and to myself to practice the craft of writing, I feel compelled to write further on the subject of violence that I began earlier; for it is specifically because of the violence that I have received in the past that I have difficulty with words in the present.
The life that was mine in the past of violence was one wherein one of the most oft-cited reasons for the beginning of violence was the extinction of Ebbets Field.
How can one not develop a sense of humor, an appreciation of the finer points of What Is Funny, when such a thing as the loss of that field is the gravity that holds you to that place, that one place, without seeming recourse?
And in that place I was kept in solitary confinement, a party of one; with a maitre d', of course: one who was very taken with all manner of ideas, and the loss of elegaic beauty that was Ebbets Field one of the most consuming of many that consumed. Needless to say, dear reader, I did not have great opportunity to engage with other people; to have conversation about stimulating things, much less the mundane things.

Use it or lose it as the saying goes. So I lost it.
I managed to escape once. I made small talk with the driver of the taxi. I cannot begin to describe to you to this very day, dear reader, the thrill, the joy, the absolute wonder in being able to speak to someone about the weather. The weather.
But as in most of these situations, these engagements between opposing forces (cat and mouse), I made a strategic error, and had to return, in order to win the war; in this case, the safety and custody of my son. Needless to say my return necessitated further isolation, and more strenous treatment to permanently affix my position.

One of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism is that suffering, dukkha, is caused by our attachment to things. We don't always get what we want when we want it, and perhaps we never do get it. It causes us to suffer, and our suffering plays out in inordinate ways: we might seek comfort from our suffering by using alcohol, by becoming a workaholic, by taking what we want by force. Perhaps we might take out our suffering on others without meaning to do so.

Yet again, we might mean exactly that.

And in the receiving end of that situation, words have no currency for your survival. You would be surprised how quickly verbal intelligences fade when they have no validity.
Visualization (backyard tree, running free) and laughter (say what?!?) are, again, a most welcome pair, in most every situation one may imagine.
And so, dear reader, from upstream I can practice non-attachment.
I am no longer attached to Ebbets Field with the same old ropes, with the black, the blue, and the stench of confinement. No, I believe that my dukkha was my silence; my particular brand of samsara was to deny that the range of voice available to each and every one of us as humans was also available for me.
By virtue of my experience, of being cut off from what is considered the average day-to-day, I am practicing non-attachment. In the classroom, I do my best to always see a child as a child, and not as a diagnosis. I am more reminded to meet these students where they are at, and to do so every day: the range of voice available to each and every one of us is no less available to them, and happily so!
I am reminded of the value of other intelligences outside of the linguistic realm, and it is in these places that I can most often look to meet these special students.
Where we go from there is up to them.
Non-attachment seems difficult to practice.
I believe that it is most often a case of seeming more difficult than it truly is. And if it becomes difficult, well, then, I am reminded of a skit from the television show, MadTV. The sketch features a male and female pair of dancers, who perform in a style that is known as krumping. In each of the skits, someone is always put at a disadvantage, to which the rejoinder is: "that's the krump."

So, dear reader, Ebbets Field is gone. People dress up their dog as el luchador. Darfur burns. Kids with autism are kids, first and foremost.
You and I, dear reader, are free.
We can talk about the weather, or not.
We can laugh all day long at whatever we please.
And that's the krump.


The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

1960 was a long time ago now - it is good to remove the festering splinters, but also then to let the wound heal. You are doing a good thing to release all these negatives. Laughing is a great medication.

neroli said...

Dear Artist,
I so very much advocate for acceptance in regards to how we approach our students in the classroom---putting myself squarely, I suppose, in the "let's not fix you, you're not broken," arena. For that is where the real growth can truly begin, where a child is who she is.
So just as I wish some would stop wishing away the autism or the "disabililty" out of the child, of fighting against where the child is at, so I need to practice that measure of acceptance, of equanimity with myself.
It only makes right living, and helps me serve more skillfully the needs of those in my day-to-day.
I'm liking where I'm at.
I want others to feel that for themselves---it's a happy thing!