What do we want badly enough?

August 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I ended my last post with the question: What do we want badly enough to pursue it? Barbara Kingsolver gives us some ideas in Animal Dreams.

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what to hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”

All the wisdom and spiritual traditions give us beautiful things to hope for—completion, salvation, an end to suffering, a world of beauty and peace.

“What I want is so simple I can’t almost say it: elementary kindness.”

What kind of community could we build around that notion? What kind of politics? What would it mean to truly treat each person as if their interests were at least as important as our own?

“Enough to eat, enough to go around.”

It’s a pretty counter cultural thing in the U.S. just to aspire to “enough to go around,” and no more. I’m reminded of many of my colleague Curtis Ogden’s posts about the imperative to live sustainable. It would be revolutionary for us to want just enough to go around. What kind of economy and community could we build around that notion?

“The possibility that kids might one day grow up to be neither the destroyers nor the destroyed.

Seeing generation after generation of young men of color not growing up because they became either the destroyer or the destroyed, I wonder what it will take for this simply stated dream to become a reality.

That’s about it. Right now I’m living in that hope, running down its hallways and  touching the walls on both sides.”

What do you see before you as you run down the hallways that are your life? What do you feel as you touch the sides? What do you want badly enough to pursue it?

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  • Gibrán says:

    Beautifully inspiring Cynthia, I feel like the birth of our son has put me in touch with a whole new level of love and vulnerability – and it is amazing how closely together these go. I’m slowly working my way through “The Empathic Civilization” by Jeremy Rifkin, and it seems this world of basic kindness can grow from our nurturing empathy.

    What do I want? I want life at the intersection of love and freedom, I want the sort of inter-subjective enlightenment that manifests as a more evolve “we,” a collective awakening that maximizes our autonomy while bringing us closer together. Yes – this basic kindess is at the very heart of it.


  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    “Life at the intersection of love and freedom.” Who could ask for anything more?!

  • Curtis says:

    Such great questions, Cynthia! Thank you. I really like Gibran’s phrase, “Life at the intersection of love and freedom,” and extend it by adding “a profound sense of belonging and becoming,” of being deeply rooted in my animal body and sensory experiences of the world, my kinship with others, human and other, and to have tasted the deepest of what I have to bring to the others and our shared and inter-dependent reality through the creative expression of my gifts.

  • Cynthia Silva Parker says:

    Love the additions, Curtis.

    Love. Freedom. Belonging. Becoming. Embodiedness. Interdependence. A great list!

    As for our work together at IISC, I would add a sense of common-unity with folks who together are catlyzing meaningful change in the world.

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