Monday 22nd March, 2004

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Learning prop behaviour

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”

— Marie Curie, scientist,

(The Radium Woman)

Most people have a stalwart weak streak — a whining, wincing, “why me?” weak streak rallying them to wallow around in self-pity, always looking for walls.

This is not the way we are born, mind you. This weak streak is learned.

Every infant is valorous, profound, wilful, ready for the world, even the shy ones, the quiet ones, the ones who duck under the table every time somebody draws nigh.

But then we take them to school, take them to task, and teach them they must be like everybody else. It just so happens almost everybody else is equally taught, and has equally learned the deemed proper behaviour of looking for, leaning for, lunging for props to get them through the day, the decade, the life.

Proper behaviour in our world the way it is translates into “prop” behaviour. We look. We lean. We lunge. And the walls don’t come tumbling down. No. They go up, up, and seldom away.

Walls, now, are weird things. They protect us, but can also trap us. When you have to war, it’s good to have a wall at your back; though, the same wall can block off your line of retreat.

Walls can be the armadillo armour shielding our sacred spaces from harm. Or they can be the pillows with which we slowly suffocate our potency.

The biggest paradox is that while these walls seem so strong and impenetrable when we try to get beyond them to save our lives via needed change, they’re actually too frail — being too unreal — to serve us for long. Their evanescence means we’re always having to build new walls and new walls and new walls.

A lot of time and effort goes into this soul-stealing work — time and effort that would have better served us had it been directed towards freeing our minds, trawling our depths, touching our fellow humans’ hearts and living our lives out loud and in love with everything.

“But it’s good to have something to lean on now and then,” you protest.

Too true. Too true. However, leaning on something for legitimate support in time of need is quite different from what I refer to as “the kept prop.”

It’s as much a difference as being in a wonderfully flawed, human relationship with someone you love and could lose, rather than having a sure-thing “kept” woman or man. One is real. The other is some kind of make-believe. Simple.

Props are inventions, often unnecessary, most times ego-built, always cowardly-constructed.

Props may be drugs, alcohol, driving fast for no reason, playing music at ridiculously loud volumes, putting down other people, hitting your child in his face, raping women with your words, eyes, intent.

Props give you something to lean on, fine, but they also give you something to hide behind at the times when you should most be facing your fear and letting it pass through you.

Props are what we turn to when we will not turn to Self. Props are what we cling to when we don’t want to love ourselves or somebody else.

Props always come with excess baggage. It’s important to acknowledge and appreciate the dimension-creating baggage we all have as human beings with scarred psyches, sut there is that issue of “excess” baggage.

The very props we think of as protecting us are the self same things responsible for creating the excess baggage monsters in our closet. These monsters have names. Hatred. Bigotry. Violence. Insults. Cowardice. Selfishness. Apathy. Avarice. Dishonesty. Oh...ever so many names.

Props have the ability to shape-shift. What looked like liberation yesterday can turn into a prop today, because we failed to be diligent and allow what worked at one time to pass on when it stopped working to advance, enriche, integrate us.

It’s like some fundamentalist Christians who, upon realising their theist beliefs have failed them, swing to the extreme other end of the pendulum into atheism.

Once the belief was the prop. Then the disbelief became equally a prop.

As the saying goes, “Hate is an iron chain. Love is a golden chain. Both are chains, and both may bind.”

So props may be bright or props may be dread; but if all they do is keep you from submitting to the forces that will make you deal with the real of your self and your situation, then they are slaying things.

Having kept you from doing the work that will make you potent, when the props go — and they will — there’ll be nothing left to lean on, not even yourself.

Cultivate “unprop-er” behaviour.

Come good.

Tomorrow’s BREW:

The Christ on an island

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