Thursday, June 10, 2010

Batter My Heart...and then WHAT?!!

I've been watching some thought-provoking films lately:

The Cove
Food Inc.
Dark Days
The Gleaners and I
The Road

I recommend these if you do, indeed, want your heart battered. When I say 'battered,' I'm referring to violent blows dealt to your vulnerable spots ...not 'battered and deep-fried'.

It's enough to lose faith in humanity.
Hard to be hopeful when there is so much grim and grime and cold-heartedness, ignorance and greed.
From my film list, you might think that I don't know how to have any fun. But don't worry about me. I have enough selfish pleasure in my life- time and laughter with Michael and Noah, delicious food and drink, zumba and salsa dancing, watching birds and flowers, music and art, and the sweet nectar of poetry.
But life, for me, isn't just about how to enjoy. Even though we are constantly given the imperative from all directions to ENJOY, ENJOY, ENJOY!

What do I do with this bombardment of sorrow, this frustration, the feeling that I'm one little person without power to change anything unjust?
I vote. I donate. I make educated choices about what I purchase and consume. I sign petitions. I am kind to people around me. I listen.
But I continue to feel a restlessness, a call to action, a strong desire to do more. I've always been uncomfortable on the sidelines. Do I just put my hands in my pockets? Do I just stare at the players and their passions? I abhor feeling useless.  

Do you ever feel this way? What do you DO when the gray sea's waves crash and thunder and beat you down? And I really mean what ACTIONS do you take when you are moved to act? Not prayer, not optimism, ACTION....
How do you channel that restless, frustrated energy?

Just now, John Donne's Batter My Heart came to mind:

 Batter my heart, three-person'd God, for you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town to'another due,
Labor to'admit you, but oh, to no end;
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv'd, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly'I love you, and would be lov'd fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
Divorce me,'untie or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you'enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

So my question persists...once your heart has been battered, ravished, burned (by a God, or by whatever Unspeakable Truth speaks to you through great Literature, Film, Art)...
How do you live a life broken open? What do you DO?
Teach me. I'm learning as I go.


Catherine @ The Vegan Good Life said...

I do the same as you: fill my life with loved ones, food that nourishes the body and soul, music that gets my feet tapping and body moving. I escape – through film, books, and such. I do what Michael Stipe did in R.E.M.'s "You are the Everything"- "I think about this world a lot and I cry." Lead by example. I soldier on and try and make a small dent (continue to stock my office kitchen with reusable dishes so coworkers can avoid disposables; co-host a clothing swap so people have somewhere to bring clothes; pick up a few bottles on the roadside and recycle them). Small actions - imagine if we all did them? They matter. We don't always see it, but they do.

Shelayna said...

I loved The Gleaners and I, as well as Food Inc., I have The Cove and have been avoiding watching it because I know I will be upset. I don't have any real answers for you, but I think living in the present helps. We don't know the future and we can't change the past. So, maybe doing things you know you can feel good about.

My friend and I were talking about how idealistic we used to be... I don't know, tough question. Lovely post!

Anonymous said...

Hey Madona, unfortunately for my waistline, a lot of the times when I'm upset or frustrated, I eat. I use food for comfort. Ugh. Working out is also a way I can relieve some stress, but I know you dance, so you already know that works. Singing the right songs always helps brighten my mood as well. Cindee

Dweller said...

This is so interesting. I just wrote a very similar (though far less literate/eloquent) post...there is a line in me between a hedonistic carelessness (it's all going to end anyway so why not just enjoy it while it lasts) and an almost furious, joyless activism...I see now that this is not a unique condition. And I would agree with Shelayna, when that burgeoning grey hopelessness takes over the best remedy I've found is just to be as fully aware of the world around me as possible. It takes me out of my miserable little brain and wakes me to patterns far larger. And also, from time to time, gives me clues how to help.

MaddyG said...

Catherine~ Thanks for the thoughtful comment!I agree with you that small actions do's just difficult to see the impact sometimes.
Shelayna~ Yay- someone else in this world has seen Gleaners and I! ; ) I loved it, loved her (the filmaker) and the clock she gleaned with no hands...reminding us to live in the PRESENT.
Cindee~ You are so right- Zumba, Salsa Dancing, or just having a dance party around the living room with Noah improves my spirit...but only temporarily...there still remains a restlessness...a desire to DO MORE in the world. Thanks so much for reading and commenting!
Dweller~ I really appreciate your kind words! Thanks! If you have any insights, any clues into how to take that leap from wrestling with ideas, to putting those thoughts to work...please share. I look forward to checking out your blog. ; )

Gray Sea

Gray Sea