Friday, November 18, 2011

If a person is habitually contemptuous of others; of their lifestyles, their spiritual beliefs, their political views, their economic status, of course others will pick up on it & figure they're targets when they aren't around.

I knew someone who put down her friend's new age spirituality, refused  to try & understand it. The friend was really into it, attended weekend meditation retreats, a variety of books on spirituality on her shelves. In a way, her whole life was spiritually-centered.  I'd see her a couple of times each year, ask her what she was doing, she knew I didn't mean her job, I'd get a little lesson in feng shui or the healing properties of herbal teas.* Then this person who dismissed the spiritual journey was shocked  when  she was passed over as Maid-of-Honor for the friend's wedding in favor of a neighbor who had taken care of the bride's pets during retreat weekends. Ranted & raved about it.  Could not comprehend it.  I did, immediately. But I wasn't going to stick my nose in it & say, "All this time, she's been tolerating your intolerance, & she's tolerating it right now by including you in her wedding plans at all.  She's certainly not choosing you to play a key role in a ceremony that will be a deep expression of the very beliefs you won't accept as authentic for her. Doesn't matter that you've never put those beliefs down to her face.  You think she can't tell? She knows you better than you thought. & she's still your friend."

*The nice thing about being known as a poet around people who have read & liked poetry, even if only in college,  is that they assume poets are little bit interested in just about everything, which is generally true.

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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