Desmond Tutu: I know the space is very small between “I am doing it in response to love” and “I am doing it to be loved”. But in that space resides the difference between joy-filled peace and anxious despair. In short, we don’t have to “act” like a holy man or holy woman. We need to simply live out of the joy and generosity of our goodness.
Should I give blood? Well, I have to reproduce it, it is about 10% of my blood volume. I have the time, I have done it before without ill effects. Last two times I went to give, I was refused because I was going to see a Consultant, even though it was about my transition and did not refer to any physical illness. I took that as meaning they did not trust me.
The question as I walk in the sunshine from the river home (Thursday 29th) from whence the community centre where the blood service is operating is about a hundred yards, is, am I doing it to be loved, or in response to love?
Not even, “to be loved”, because my rights against the NHS remain the same, but to imagine myself a good person, worthy of love: if that is an illusion it is worse than giving a gift to a friend, because that might possibly favourably dispose that friend to me. Though the staff are friendly, joshing about spilling the alcohol-based hand cleanser on one’s tunic. They know the motivations we have.
Facebook birthdays: two German friends today (Friday 30th). I know a few words of German- musical, like “lustige” or “klavier”, philosophical like zeitgeist, and, from our unfortunate War obsession, “Achtung!” and “Schnell!”. I got from Google translate “Alles Gute zum Geburtstag”. I want to use that. So, is it a desire to please my friend and to communicate to her in her own language, or a disgusting, worthless, cowardly desire to ingratiate myself? Mmm. I really am that hard on myself. And for any act, it is possible to imagine vile motives or generous motives, and create a rationalisation for why either is the true motive.
Do I want to see myself as a good person? Not sure. I have told myself for long enough that it is not a good motive. I did, before, want to be good.
Friday evening, kneeling for the first time after an inactive day, I think it possible that I was indeed giving blood to imagine myself Good. According to this theory- for how could I ever know?- after being so distraught about that last paid job yesterday, I revert to earlier, less healthy ways of dealing with my emotion, to preserve my fragile sense of self.
Then I read this. Don’t try to meet people where they are. This is a common trait especially for healers– we often automatically tune in and meet people’s needs. Don’t meet people where you think they are. Let go and let the situation flow organically. After 24 hours for it to percolate I felt amazed joy, I felt liberated: it is just the way I am. That I could be being kind or generous from a position of weakness, rather than cowardly, overwhelms me. I wept hysterically at the realisation of how heavy the burden had been, and joy at its release.
So, a question for you. If I now get sad and angry about events around two years ago, am I wallowing in the negative emotions to my harm, or letting off my suppression and at last dealing with the stale, toxic emotion, to my benefit?