Privilege, Protection and a Dog’s Life!
Updated: August 24, 2015
Dearest sparkle being,
It occurred to me last week that I have somewhat fulfilled a dream of my parents- that I live in a place where I’m protected by privilege, although our definitions are not at all the same.
For my parents, it’s why they came here after WW2- to build a life that would be untouched by war, to recreate their lives and their stories anew. They were willing to work hard to make a safe place for them and their children.
I know their ambition was also to climb the ladder into the safe haven of the wealthy and privileged. The illusion, while superficially accurate of course was that being in that 1% would prevent all bad things from happening.
Of course that’s not how it turned out at all even though our family spent a number of years in that sector of society, once the money was gone, and it was obvious my parents would not recover from the loss, the shunning of them was quick and brutal, and their deaths a short time later heavy with the burdens of lost hope, betrayal and truths too late to be told.
I am not in that 1% today and could care less if I am ever there. The kind of wealth I crave and am ambitious for is driven by an insatiable need to learn about the world. Yes I believe I can manifest my desires but with meaning not just happiness and material prosperity–very different things altogether. And, because I have known suffering, I am ambitious to know how suffering can be alleviated.
I have more than I need always and because of that I can empower others to do the same – not to hoard but to share and encourage that sharing by example.
Yet I find myself struggling with the concept of privilege and protection because I am so conscious of what that means having been raised by parents who never spoke of horrors of any kind and would do anything in their power to place blinders on my eyes so nothing like that would ever be seen through them.
But it’s not possible with the advent of the internet and the global access we all share now.
I wonder if you feel this way too? When you see images on the internet of animals that have been abused, trophy hunters with their smug faces, or the sad photos of refugees from the wars going on far away from us, the women violated and enslaved etc. Do these make you want to scream in rage and cry and curl into a ball because it makes you feel the powerlessness of the truth that you can do nothing to help?
My mother got tough- maybe picking up so many body pieces in the streets of Berlin burned away her sensitivity. I saw her cry once only my entire childhood and then again only when the money was gone and the terror of poverty became her constant companion.
None of those people or animals in those photos had or will ever have a choice to look or not look -to experience what they are going through.
And yet, here we are, most of us in this tribe anyway I assume have at least the ability to turn away and choose to not look and claim empathy overload.
It’s too much for some of us.
It is for me most of the time. I have to say I can play the privilege card more often than I’m due.
I wonder that if we keep choosing the distance and remain far away what price we will have to pay down the road when those of us with the ability to act have done nothing? Or is there another way?
So I’d like to have a discussion with you about your feelings on this subject and ask a really hard question. If you turn away, do you know why you do? Is there any time you allow yourself to look and then to act? If so what are the conditions?
I know not everyone wants to be an activist but how do you manage to bridge the gap between the choice not to look and the compelling call to help?
I’m not suggesting you do the same but last week I knew I had to “get out of myself” and help someone less fortunate- with no expectation of return of any kind. The spiritual amnesia of self centered fear, or self-centeredness of any kind has a wonderful antidote in selfless giving. It brings a kind of meaning that no other act can do.
So I took my sensitive self to open a page sent to my inbox that normally I would not allow myself to look at. I know it sounds crazy but I can handle people being abused and am stronger there but I just go insane with rage and sorrow when animals are involved.
There was an article with photos of a severely tortured dog with half a face and back legs that no longer work named Khaleesi in a hospital in Florida. I decided to open it and force myself to read the whole article.
I am so glad I did. She is a strangely beautiful dog that doesn’t look like one anymore with the most loving eyes. Yes I cried, yes I recoiled in horror and yes- even writing about it still tweaks my chest and throat with sorrow.
I sent a donation and called the clinic and had a long conversation with them and heard the whole story and the beauty of how many people from around the world have been sending donations and emails of good wishes for this one dog who is facing many surgeries ahead.
I can’t help them all but I could choose one dog’s life to make a difference and give meaning to the moment that forces you to get out of yourself and do one small thing for someone who can’t help themselves.
Funny how that works for me.
One choice to look- one life to impact- one moment of meaning brought me into alignment with Spirit one more time.
The world is a messy place and it will never ever be like a shiny penny. For me it’s all things and it’s ok that I can’t look at all of them nor help the many. That said the privilege to look or not look, help or not help – is a precious grace – an unmerited gift of circumstance.
Maybe that’s why Dog is God spelled backward.
Something to think about.
Love to hear your thoughts.
UNIVERSAL ENERGIES VLOG