The shadow side series is an examination of things in context. For example, the difference between a glorious deed and a good deed is a terrible circumstance. The difference between doing something nice and doing something heroic is how much fear has to be overcome to get the job done.
The point I'm trying to make is that much of what we admire comes out of dark places. That said, it behooves us to acknowledge them.
Watching the news after Boston I was struck by the carnage. My illusion that IEDs wouldn't come to America was shattered. Here I was seeing blood form the same patterns on concrete as I saw in Iraq.
Every day this week I saw more and more images of the carnage. Almost as though we were taunting fear and death. We aren't afraid.....see.
Let me reflect a moment to further my point. I had a beer with a South African Commando some years back. Real bad ass dude. We exchanged some war stories and after I told him about how the bad guys couldn't kill me he looked me square in the eye and said " don't try to bad ass death".
I've thought about what he meant for years but it wasn't until this week after watching the news that I got what he meant.
You may have noticed all the rally around the flag, we are not afraid, we will come back stronger talk on the news. This is great but I think what we are doing is trying to bad ass death. Look it in the face and scream that we aren't scared even though our illusion of safety has been shattered, again
Trying to bad ass death is not acknowledging the shadow side. Acting like its not there, ironically, diminishes the heroism displayed by regular guys and gals in Boston and prevents us from really sitting with fear.
Sitting with fear, letting it in and talking about it with loved ones is not only a good thing to do, it's called grieving.
Grieving is a spiritual necessity. It's our way of letting the fear, all wrapped up in our bodies, out.
This too takes courage, only not the kind that will get you on the cover of the Times. Instead, I encourage you to find the courage and the time to grieve. Really feel the loss of that little boy. Feel the fear of something like this happening to your family, don't run from it or try to bad ass it, work with it.
Have the courage to be scared.
This post was guided by the 58th stanza of the Art of Peace, a book written by Morihei Ueshiba
Armor Down has a website. Check it out.
If you like the AD Facebook page and I'll email you the PDF of a book called "Mindfulness in Plain English".
Lisa Wimberger's meditations:
Grounding Your Armor
Riding the Sun
Thrive as a civilian.