Privilege has been entangled with entitlement.
Entitlement is when you have accepted the circumstances of your life and expect those circumstances to continue. Trouble arises when expected circumstances change. Trouble arises when resources are totally dedicated to maintaining the status quo. But change is fundamental. Difficulty comes when the status quo slams into inevitable change. Think tectonic plates—earthquake—tsunami.
Because something has been does not mean that it can/will/should continue. Privilege inserted into this process compounds the difficulty. Feeling entitled to the continuation of the status quo, coupled with financial means for reinforcement, lengthens the arc but change is inevitable and will always win out.
Privilege interpreted as entitlement strengthens the expectations of the status quo but privilege can also be related to enlightenment: “I am privileged to now see and know what I once did not understand.” This aspect of privilege can manifest out of a tectonic break from the status quo.
#11 Ebb and Flow.
Nature provides metaphors for understanding including the awareness that we are Nature. Tides are a profound yet simple way of examining our lives. What is safe when the tide is out is not safe when the tide comes in. What is covered up when the tide is in is uncovered when the tide goes out.
What has been is not what is, is not what will be. Each life has its individual arc. We habituate to our circumstances, allowing ourselves to expect the known even though change is as inevitable as tides. Our times of greatest struggle are during change and enduring change.
One of the most interesting aspects of being on the ocean’s edge is watching the tides as outflowing energy morphs into inflowing energy and vise versa. Tide markers, both high and low, are evident. What remains elusive is the moment of transition as one moves into the other.
#12. Blessings. Curses.
For as long as I can remember I felt like my frame of reference was a feeling of not belonging in this world, of never measuring up, or being able to prove worthy of being here. Using this framework I reproduced situation after situation where these elements were present. I strived for being good while feeling I was never good enough.
An inevitable component in such a life is pain. The purpose of pain, as I now understand it, is to get us to pay attention. To make the pain go away we must examine the condition/s which allowed it to come into being. A long ago roommate gave a succinct description which was sorely needed: “Pay attention to the little twinges so that they don’t have to get bigger.” I retained the words but ignored the lesson.
Instead of sitting down with the pain and hearing what its voice had to offer, I worked on methods of distraction, honing them to ridiculous levels. Compartmentalization was an excellent tool for this so I honed compartmentalization into a graduate degree, literally, finding my way to libraries where such skills were useful and needed.
There was an “after” to my life in libraries. I came out on the other side, into retirement, to continue elding and to continue organizing my life into compartments. But I had moved to the edge of the ocean where movement is on a vast scale in every moment of every day. No compartmentalization out there. In between my waves of distraction, awareness begins to grow. Flow arises out of, and because of, consciousness enabled by silence, sky, and endless water. Compartments break down allowing parallels of disparate observations to come together in a seamless whole. It seems to be a slow process but maybe I will get better at it, maybe even to where pain’s attention role is no longer needed.