Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Personal Sacrifice: Cannibalism Optional

Line right up folks, we're talking sacrifice ... the human kind. All you have to do is tear out your heart, offer it to the gods, and throw yourself down hundreds of stairs for good measure ... Hmmm ... Do I at least get knee-pads?

Aztec rituals aside, we make tons of sacrifices on a daily basis (most of them tiny). Some have to ability to change our lives for better or worse (and aren't voluntary). The question is: Are these kinds of sacrifices always worth it?Sacrifices are made in the name of responsibility, normalcy, and success - but at what cost? Have you ever seen the light leave someone's eyes when they talk about lost dreams? That, my friends, is what I'm terrified of.

Most people are afraid of getting old or being alone; I'm afraid of settling. With every big sacrifice, I feel like I lose important pieces of myself. More than this, I hate that most sacrifices are governed by societal rules - rules that are outdated, unrealistic, and prejudice. Who here really believes that a refusal to sacrifice certain, really important things is selfish or irresponsible? 

When it comes to the Peace Corps, I have gotten a range of reactions and, the closer I get, the more irratic they become. The most common is that I am selfish and cruel to leave Matt behind. Though I understand the sentiment, it's frustrating that I'm expected to give up my dreams so that he can achieve his. He would never be asked to stop making music because I wanted to attend an Ivy League school ... hell, most people don't even expect him to be faithful while I'm gone. Who are they to decide that neither of us will ever change ... or that life won't in the way ... or that I won't regret giving up something like Africa in ten years? How utterly ridiculous.

The Zen part of me believes that success is a result of letting go of control. I'm a big believer in trusting life. Most sacrifices are driven by attachment: the attempt to own, manipulate, or change something for personal benefit. The most difficult concept to learn is that conflict is created when we try to control everything. It causes vulnerability, to let go of contrl. It means we have to trust people and the path we're on. So I guess it all comes down to you.

As long as you want to leave your heart at the alter - throwing yourself down the temple stairs might land you exactly where you need to be. The amount of bruises you recieve along the way will depend on your resistance to the fall ... and, trust me, we're all gonna need a few stitches.

oh, and I almost forgot:
"modified fashionista Zen pose"