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What the Hell!

2 Apr

“To not know is bad, but to wish to not know is worse.” ~African Proverb

I usually have many trains that spontaneously leave the station of my mind. They head out on different tracks to process their load through the twisted turns and straight paths laid before them. They leave at once and send back their respective data to my centralized brain. I calibrate the input and inform my next steps. Meanwhile, I spew out the thoughts, some processed and some not, to the listening partner without contextualizing the “Grand Central” starting point. And here we go.

Whistle blow…all abooooooaaard!

Rivka Bent

My husband and I often remind each other of the fact that “we cannot unknow that which we know.” The notion nods to the African proverb I stated at the top of this post, one which I learned through the teaching of the gifted Professor Starla Lewis “…to wish to not know is worse.” I have been engaging directly with the learning and teaching world of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). The process really began in the fringes as I was in the early stages of my current employment. My boss began talking about equity. Hmmm, equity. I’d heard of equal, but it is truly she who introduced me to the notion of equity. Then one starts talking equity and next justice pops onto the scene. Hmmm, justice. That’s a hard concept, or was a hard concept for me at the time because my world had been turned upside down by the unjust death of my son. Unjust because…well that’s a train I’ll save for later.

Anyway I got wind of this equal is not equity thought and the choo-choo’s scattered. Did I mention my Grand Central Station is a slow processing machine? Yep, I ruminate on information for a long while, usually trying to figure out how I feel or fit with the intel. Not too long after being introduced to the big “E” I was further immersed in the study of DEI through my major, Organizational Leadership. And then continued to chug along by working, conversing and processing my collected data through many learning forums, books and one most particular guide the very gifted DEI practitioner, Dr. Steven Jones of San Diego. So this time last year when the Black Lives Matter cry broke through the white sound barrier and compelled this US nation and our world, I was at least a bit more ready (to listen and learn) than I had been years prior.

This is the story of learning. Learning anew. And actually learning how to ask questions with an invested interest. Wishing to know dispatches the trains. And now I cannot unknow that which returns to the station. This process is profoundly interconnected–imagine a field of same species flowers, they begin to sprout at the same time but at slightly different rates. They bud individually and yet together, thereby their bloom process erupts showing only flecks of color dotting the field in the beginning stages. Then with a sprinkling of hours it seems the entire field is awash in color, hundreds (or thousands) of flowers emanating their oneness–even though each flower took its own time to present its bloom. The same goes for the learner. I actually began this post to talk about a book I was gifted just this week, All Stirred Up by Laura Kumin. But to get there I had to start here. Trains leaving the station, flower dots in a field and the hope I will get to my chosen title.

End – part 1 “What the Hell!”

Help, I’ve Lost My Big Girl Pants

21 Aug

There are many a thing I’d like to be more consistent about in my life. For instance, exercise–I would love to up my personal discipline to include a daily walk, on incline terrain, or a bike ride. Right now I’m maybe hitting that goal 3x’s per week, which means my waistline is nearing extinction. Another area of nagging thought, is to write my blog posts (this forum) more consistently, even if just to state something small of value (subjective I know). Both of these inconsistencies in my life are part of my personal goals. They matter to me, therefore they matter. I don’t have a following that requires I write, but I would like my creative writing skills to get more of a work out. And on that note, I honestly just feel better in the land of the living when my physicality is ready to support my shenanigans. So exercise to keep muscles strong gets “goal real estate.” And though tonight my walk and/or bike ride fell off the table of options, I still have just enough juice in my brain to attempt a post–sans my reading glasses (they are in the other room and I dare not loose steam in writing by getting up from this captured moment), so please forgive any blindness errors in typing.

This past week my siblings and I were affected by the sudden death of the husband of a childhood friend. Her husband was only 51 years young and leaves, in addition to his wife, two young girls. Just like that, life as it has been known, shifts. I understand this foundational movement, it’s like the tectonic plates of our lives slip and the tidal wave of change hits at every level. It is stifling! Now not everything I do or think is underpinned with loss, but truly loss lives within me and the effects of it are an underlying reality. So when news hits, such that came last week, those of us carrying the heavy burden already can empathize with those new to the experience. And in empathy there is pain. And in pain, there is exhaustion. And in exhaustion is where I loose my big girl pants.

Big girl pants, or the expression rather, is the notion of higher ground. For the most part it is where I live mentally–a place where I filter my thoughts through the lens of what matters here on earth to our loving creator. I like higher ground, it is a kinder place to be. There is less judgment of others there. There is less time for offense there. Higher ground has the scope of view that understands multiple perspectives, compassion for those unable to see at that same level, and honestly a bit more “brain peace” (quotations used to relay my own creation of term(s)). Aaahhh–brain peace, that is the stuff I enjoy most. Brain peace is when I can hit the pillow and rejoice in a guilt free, regret free environment. And yet, brain peace is not devoid improved planning, constructive corrections, nor even introspective considerations. It’s not ignorant to local, national and global issues. Brain peace knows pain, but not shame. Brain peace helps soothe the aching soul. I like brain peace!

However, last week upon learning the news of loss, the higher ground of which I seek took a dive and I got caught bare-side blank. Yep, my big girl pants were lost and my ass laid bare! What ensued was a mess; seeing the petty faults in others, feeling irritated by being slighted, complaining about circumstances around me and feeling sorry for all the tales of woe I could conjure up. I did catch on to the fact that I was my own problem, not the everything else to which I had ascribed the blame. Even so, I had to suffer through some rough nights devoid brain peace as I wrestled with my angst. Now please know, I didn’t mention the death earlier on so as to have justifiable cause to deviate into low-level thinking. I share the news because of its relevance. Loss is an ongoing antagonist. I carry on in life but still with the weight of loss upon me. Yes, soul muscles get strengthened in time, but the burden is still being carried. It is a very real thing and when a tragedy hits close to home, or close to those we love, our own grief is right there ready to claim its rightful ownership of mind, soul, heart and body. In plain English, we get worn down–I get worn down. And in that place of mental and physical tiredness, I get bugged.

Now the good news is I did find my big girl pants. Of course I knew I would, it was just a matter of time. And even though I played a game of mental ping-pong with reluctancy while searching for them, not only did I find them, I opted to put them back on. Whew! Moving into this mid-week mindset my recovery report still shows quasi progress. I’m not at full altitude but the ascent is in motion. The higher ground beckons, the panties secure.

I will say, in all of this mumbo jumbo of a blog post, I do wish one thing…to have all people wear grown up pants and consider kindness before other options. But for now I will satisfy myself in trying to keep mine on, which makes enduring the naked a truly attainable goal.

Vintage Floral Pants

BentRivka Big Girl Pants



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