Going to see Black Star tonight, so I figured I would riff off of Thieves in the Night (which they drew from a Toni Morrison novel).
Not strong, only aggressive/Not free, we only licensed/Not compassionate, only polite (now who the nicest?)/Not good but well-behaved/Chasin’ after death so we could call ourselves brave, still livin’ like mental slaves/Hiding like thieves in the night from life/Illusions of oasis making you look twice.
What is the difference between strength and aggression? Between compassion and being polite? Sometimes the truly strong move might look weak. Or compassion will require not giving someone something that they think they need. When we act from our minds, we force situations to fit expectations. When we act from our center, we give up appearances to find a larger, deeper truth.
One of the most compassionate things I have done lately–for both myself and the other person involved–was leave someone I loved (yes, there will be more posts on this…) It would have been safer and maybe more comfortable to cling to the life I thought we were building together. But it wasn’t real. There was a part of me saying, Wow Nicole, that was cold that you could just leave like that. Maybe you do not know how to love. But the truth was that the most caring move I could make was to be strong for both of us and speak the truth. My decision didn’t come from a cold place at all…it did not come from anger…it did not come from fear. It came from a place of deep sorrow and tenderness. True compassion blows your mind’s idea of compassion out of the water. And to get there, you have to stop hiding from life and own up to some uncomfortable truths.
P.S. Shout out to people who have obvious integrity but embody it in a way that challenges expectations about what it means to be good. Good does not always mean well-behaved or polite. 🙂