I admire strength, but what exactly do I mean when I say "strength?" Well, it doesn't have anything to do with lifting bar bells... I think true strength is a mental muscle involving character and resilience. It is the spark that keeps us going, keeps us accomplishing things, keeps us coming back even when we are exhausted. True strength is that desire to continue living despite the cruelty and meanness that would have us surrender to despair.
Do you love lists as much as I do? If so, feel free to add your own in the comment section. Here's a quick list of what I think of as true strength:
1. Battered women who eventually leave their husbands and start their lives over.
2. Children who grow up in dysfunctional families and, despite physical, emotional and sexual abuse, grow up to become good people who raise good children.
3. Men who are kind and good in a freakazoid culture trying to intimidate them into becoming selfish and violent.
4. Those of us who can admit we have a problem and then seek the help we need.
5. LGBT people who refuse to live a lie
6. The people who love LGBT people, and support them, despite family pressure to do otherwise.
7. Introverts who find a format for speaking out that works for them. (There is more than one way to do the right thing.)
8. Extroverts who use their power for good and don't forget the power of humility. (The second part is equal to the first)
9. The students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida who stood up and shouted to the world #NeverAgain when their classmates were gunned down in cold blood. They are actually at the top of my list right now. I love those kids.
True strength involves thinking and feeling. It requires that we become more human. As you will notice in the tarot card below which is called Strength, the woman is closing the mouth of a wild animal. She is restraining her lower self; taming it. The blue mountain in the lower left represents the great work - human evolution and personal growth. The infinity sign over her head is an occult symbol for the number 8. It is also called Splendor because by the time you get to 8 on the the tree of life, you've accomplished a great deal.
Strength isn't something that comes naturally to us. It must be cultivated, watered, mulched, and fertilized. Let's get to it before we die of thirst.
|Strength: 8th Major Arcana from The Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set||.|
Laura belongs to the Gay Straight Alliance at her school, and I quote: "I love them! They know all the right colors." And, here's to everyone who stands up for good.ReplyDelete
Good for Laura - she's SUCH a great kid. And yes, raising my glass to that toast.Delete
I love your list. I am especially blown away by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They are inspired and inspiring. I loved what Obama wrote of them: We have been waiting for you.ReplyDelete
I would add to your wonderful list:
Learning how to say no, have boundaries, and be true to yourself.
Being willing to defend others who cannot defend themselves.
Wonderful additions! And yes, I almost cried when I saw that Obama had said that. "We have been waiting for you." Sob.Delete
I have two girlfriends that suffered horrendous physical, sexual and mental abuse as children and they are wonderful, warm, loving, kind people. They're strong women.ReplyDelete
I am so happy to hear that!Delete
You have a good list. It may not seem remarkable to most but I like the strength of families who work together and care for each other. It is not easy today. The students are noble creatures. I hope they don't allow ignorant people to break their spirits.ReplyDelete
I think your addition (strength of families who work together and care for each other) is a good one.Delete
It could, of course, be mere stubbornness, but that's OK in the right cause. It may of course be a fear of the alternative. But I know what you mean.ReplyDelete
Lists partially free us from the obligations of syntax. But that's OK too; there'll be times in life when "fine" prose doesn't appeal.
1. Battered wives... Indeed but kids may be the complicating factor.
2. Was my (parental) family dysfunctional? Dunno, but it was split. School (flogging, etc) was hell. Oh, the sunny uplands of joining a group of people whose main concern was language, at the lowest, most practical but most obsessional level (at the newspaper).
5. And those who are able to live quiet, contented, domesticated lives.
7. Speaking out can only be a sometime thing. There are too many good causes; we must pick our moments. Now I can afford to give regularly to charity (the feeblest example of speaking out) I do. For a time I ran a community newspaper (even feebler). The closest I ever got to speaking out was belonging to a trade union; then in late life I discovered my employer was one of the kindest and most enlightened in the world. Go figure.
8. Is humility all that important? Patton wasn't humble but got good things done (ie, won battles). These days, as a result, we enjoy the luxury of being able to believe that killing people is wrong. Gee, isn't morality complicated?
9. The students may already be having an effect. Large companies who have supported the NRA are pulling out. Money may not look like morality, but its absence may be a short-cut to getting a good result.
Thanks, Roderick. You are correct about the lists. I'm almost always looking for a way to take a break from syntax.Delete
Let me add kids, young people, who face their bullies.ReplyDelete
Yes. That one breaks my heart.Delete
Wow! Thank you, Colette. True strengths. The Pamela Colman Smith card for Strength is quite beautiful. When did you first use that deck?ReplyDelete
In the tarot deck (New Tarot for the Aquarian Age) given to me by my boyfriend before he went to Vietnam in January 1970, the Strength card becomes The Deliverer card. During the time he was in Vietnam, I learned to read the deck he had given me. He asked me to do a reading in the first few days after he returned from Vietnam. His center card was The Actor (The Emperor). After I had spoken a few words regarding what I knew about that card, he became extremely agitated. In what appeared to be anger and fear, he yelled and swept the cards aside with his hand. I put the cards away and didn't look at them again for years.
I just did some googling regarding that particular tarot deck and found that the man who created the book did a reading in 1976, just before he died. His question regarded the future. The center card was The Reactor (The Moon):
"The Reacter is the awakened Self. He is as a new-born babe. He performs nothing. Reacting, he simply is. He follows his new-born feelings spontaneously. He is one with the flow of the Moon, whose light streams down the path behind him, and with the sun in front of him toward which he walks."
I am thinking again of the true strength we all have witnessed in the reactions of the students in Florida and throughout the U.S., who are young enough to be our grandchildren and will be the parents for the next generation.
When I think of true strength, what also comes to mind for me is the title of the book of sermons by Martin Luther King, Jr, compiled by Coretta Scott King: Strength to Love.
I learned Tarot from a book called The Tarot by Paul Foster Case (published 1947) many, many years ago. He used a Builders of the Adytum deck, which closely parallels the version Arthur Edward Waite put out (and Pamela Coleman Smith illustrated). I have not done any readings since I retired and moved down to Florida.Delete
Strength to Love...will need to check that out.
the Pamela Coleman Smith "deck" is really just a version of the Rider-Waite deck published in recent years in the more subtle colors she originally used for that older deck.Delete
The Reactor sounds like The Fool in my deck.Delete
In the deck my boyfriend gave me, The Fool becomes The Nameless One.ReplyDelete
Interesting to learn that the deck that so disturbed my boyfriend has been out of print for years. A Jungian therapist I received help from in the early 2000s knew of that deck and was astounded when I mentioned that I owned one. It is based on Jungian thought.
I like your list and all the other commenters suggestions. It is sad that our congressional representatives can't show even a fraction of the courage that is represented on your list.ReplyDelete
Indulgent ramblings of Old Hippie Chicks is something I can definitely connect to. Good Post.ReplyDelete
As always, thank you!Delete
Nodding in agreement all the way through.ReplyDelete