the pride of humiliation

I hit my wall of tired a few hours ago and have struggled with basic spelling to complete my deadlines today. I have one lingering overdue job but managed to catch up with the bigger one and stay more current with others. Part of the reason I am just so tired is how bad this allergy season is, I normally don’t have any but this is getting even to me. I cannot even imagine how people with constant seasonal allergies survive. The second issue is I have just been pushing myself through several barriers and not accepting the “usual excuses” I allow myself to get out of doing things. Some of the things are simple, some are more complex. But it has become exceedingly important to me to raise my self-discipline above the level it has been at for years.

I am very self-disciplined. I am highly self-motivated. I am a doer. I tend to be all three of those things but mostly when there is something I want to do


But it is easy for me to lose all of that if there is something about what is to be done that either does not captivate me, I have moved past or in some way touches on something that makes me uncomfortable. I am working my way through Pema Chodron’s book, “The Places that Scare You,” and it is downright illuminating. The thing is, if you just read the book and come to realizations it will not make one whit of difference in your life except to create a more complicated delusion about who you really are. You have to actively practice it. And I don’t mean (and neither does Pema) actively practice what she is talking about by deciding how you are comfortable doing it (a common failing when trying to use any kind of self-growth text – we decide what is the action) but by practicing sitting meditation. The kind without chants or music or anything else. Just to sit and learn to be compassionate towards yourself and to accept all the aspects of yourself without judgment and without designating them as “things I am working on.” And you have to be able to sit for longer than you would like to. I use a timer with two gongs, one at the beginning and one at the end. It is an mp3. Therefore I have no clock to look at, no deciding that “I am done,” the length of time I am sitting is what someone else told me to do. And it has been hard. And now it is getting easier.


But there is hard sense of humiliation and shame when we set out to do something and either fail to succeed or relapse in our efforts. The first few weeks I tried to sit for at least a half an hour I eventually wound up with a million excuses as to why I wouldn’t sit at all, then suffered all the next day from humiliation and shame.


And then, when I finally just sat and did it – I did it. Suddenly…the next day, whenever one of my small excuses would pop into my head I was like – “dude, I can sit for half an hour with my entire body screaming in pain and not blink an eye – I can write for ten more minutes no problem.”


My humiliation turned into a kind of right pride because I have shown myself what I can do if I do not give up or give in to myself.


Like being in Baduk (GO/Weiqi) school. For six weeks now I have been absolutely tortured and humiliated and wiped across the board and lost every game in spectacular ways but I refused to allow myself to give up and give in. Finally, during the last lecture of the beginner’s section, Master Lee said ”Now we go to Inter and for the first time you will begin to learn how to play. All of what you have been doing has not been playing, it has been about basic moves.”

Today, I did the first 5 lectures and then won 3 games in a row. Having won them I realized two things –

  1. I had right pride for not having given up or given in and to have stayed until I knew enough to begin to be taught.
  2. That until today, I have never played a single game of GO before.

Today I played for the first time and it is awe-inspiring to me. It also resulted in my being called a nerd in Italian on Pinterest for a picture of a board I posted but do you know what? That made me happy.


There was a quote I came across the other day but I cannot remember the exact words or who said it but it went something like this –


“If you believe that any part of you is something to be overcome or changed then you will never know love or be able to love or be able to be loved; only those who have learned to balance all the parts of themselves without rejecting any will be capable of that.”  


c.2012 Cassandra Tribe All Rights Reserved


About cassandratribe

"There are few artists that can do what Cassandra Tribe does. Whether with her poetry, her videos or her blog, Cassandra examines the truths that most of us can never come close to realizing and shows it for what it is, both beautiful and frightening at the same time. She exposes our inner-most workings like the cross-section of a powerful but flawed machine, our gears and springs, nuts and bolts removed and laid out before us. She is a true artist. Her new video, Requiem for a God, is the latest example of Cassandra's willingness to tear open and examine the very things that make us human. Shooting the film entirely by herself, she also eliminates all the little excuses we come up with to keep us from ourselves and our truth. You see, even when she's not trying to be, Cassandra Tribe is a beacon of truth and humanity in this darkest of worlds." (Michael E. Quigg, The Culture Network, June 2009)
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