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- Sunday Ballet Blogging
- Saturday Solace and Solitude Blogging
- You Should Be
- Gratitude in Dark Times Blogging
- When Abortions Are Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Perform Abortions
- Monday at the Movies
- Sunday Ballet Blogging
- This Looks Like Fun
- The Magical Battle for Britain Required a Relationship with Britain’s Landbase
- A Mabon Blessing
SOLACE is the art of asking the beautiful question, of our selves, of our world or of one another, often in fiercely difficult and un-beautiful moments. Solace is what we must look for when the mind cannot bear the pain, the loss or the suffering that eventually touches every life and every endeavor; when longing does not come to fruition in a form we can recognize, when people we know and love disappear, when hope must take a different form than the one we have shaped for it.
Solace is the spacious, imaginative home we make where disappointment is welcomed and rehabilitated. When life does not in any way add up, we must turn to the part of us that has never wanted a life of simple calculation. Solace is found in allowing the body’s innate wisdom to come to the fore, a part of us that already knows it is mortal and must take its leave like everything else, and leading us, when the mind cannot bear what it is seeing or hearing, to the birdsong in the tree above our heads, even as we are being told of a death, even as we receive the news, each note an essence of morning and of mourning; of the current of a life moving on, but somehow, also, and most beautifully, carrying, bearing, and even celebrating the life we have just lost. – A life we could not see or appreciate until it was taken from us –
To be consoled is to be invited onto the terrible ground of beauty upon which our inevitable disappearance stands, to a voice that does not soothe falsely, but touches the epicenter of our pain or articulates the essence of our loss, and then emancipates us into the privilege of both life and death as an equal birthright.
Solace is not an evasion, nor a cure for our suffering, nor a made up state of mind. Solace is a direct seeing and participation; a celebration of the beautiful coming and going, appearance and disappearance of which we have always been a part. Solace is not meant to be an answer, but an invitation, through the door of pain and difficulty, to the depth of suffering and simultaneous beauty in the world that the strategic mind by itself cannot grasp nor make sense of.
To look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions, questions that reshape our identities and our bodies and our relation to others. Standing in loss but not overwhelmed by it, we become useful and generous and compassionate and even more amusing companions for others. But solace also asks us very direct and forceful questions. Firstly, how will you bear the inevitable loss that will accompany you? And how will you endure it through the years? And above all, how will you shape a life equal to and as beautiful and as astonishing as a world that can birth you, bring you into the light and then just as you were beginning to understand it, take you away?
Excerpted from ‘SOLACE’
From CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment[,] and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© David Whyte & Many Rivers Press
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
standing by the windows looking out
in our directions
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
taking our feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
thank you we are saying and waving
dark though it is.
I have more to say about the Magical Battle for Britain as a template for our times, but, although I am likely preaching to the choir, I am going to say this.
And I’ll keep saying it until either I die or this bullshit stops. (Moi, je prefere le second.)
When abortions are outlawed, only outlaws will perform abortion. (It’s what the Second Amendment advocates say about guns. It’s true about other things, as well. Odd, how the logic is so seldom extended.) And outlaws perform their abortions in back alleys and cheap hotel rooms. They don’t use anesthesia and they don’t wash their hands. They use coat hangers instead of surgical implements and, when things go south, they don’t call an ambulance, they scram so that they aren’t caught. If the woman (and fetus!) bleeds out and dies, well, too bad.
It’s not as if this is speculation or conjecture. We have actual, experiential data. Abortion WAS outlawed in many places in America until Roe v. Wade in the 1970s. And women STILL got abortions. They just got them from outlaws. Claiming that criminalizing abortion will stop abortion is, at this point, exactly like claiming that Prohibition will stop people from drinking. We KNOW that it won’t. We KNOW that it will have negative, undesirable consequences.
So if you’re still advocating for Prohibition today, you’re really not interested in preventing alcoholism. You’re interested in killing drinkers who imbibe unlicensed bath tub gin. You’re interested in the growth of the mafia and all the violence that they bring with them. You’re interested in teaching people not to respect the law. You’re interested in the rich still being able to drink safely while the middle class and the poor die, get jailed, get ripped off.
Ditto if you’re still advocating for criminalizing abortion today. You’re clearly not interested in preventing abortion. You’re interested in maiming and killing women who get abortions. You’re interested in the growth of the mafia and all the violence that they bring with them. You’re interested in teaching people not to respect the law. You’re interested in the rich still being able to get safe abortions (in Canada or via a “D&C” that their doctor, well compensated, certifies was necessary) while the middle class and the poor die.
We also have real, actual information about what things actually decrease abortion, in case anyone were actually interested in that. Education for girls. Real (not “abstinence”) sex education. Fact-based parenting education. Free, safe, effective birth control. Maternal and child medical care. Good day care. Good jobs for women. Societies that empower women so that they feel able to refuse to have sex with men who won’t wear condoms. Scandinavian countries, which do these things and generally have rather lax abortion laws, have low rates of abortion. Catholic countries in Central and South America, which don’t do these things and have very stringent abortion laws, have higher rates of abortion.
So, those of you advocating for criminalization of abortion, don’t tell me how much you love the “babies” and want to prevent abortions. You’re a lying sack of shit.
And, let’s be honest. If anyone really wanted to decrease abortion, they’d put real teeth (laws, cops, social workers, judges, etc.) behind the statutes that purport to make men pay child support. At least some of the one-in-three American women who have abortions today wouldn’t have an abortion if they knew that they’d get real, financial support for that child. But, today, in America, those laws are jokes.
We can use genetic testing to assure that we’ve found the actual father and then we can make him pay complete, adequate child support, through college, including supporting the mother if she wants to quit working outside the home and stay home to be a full-time mother. After all, it will ensure the greater-good of reducing abortions. If he doesn’t have a job that pays enough, we can give him the enforced “opportunity” to earn extra money evenings and weekends building bridges, repairing water mains, painting school rooms. If he has too many children, we can “assist” him by providing “enforced” sterilization, which will decrease unplanned pregnancies and, as a result, abortion. Funny how enforced pregnancy and childbirth is OK, but it would be a huge violation of civil rights to forcibly sterilize a man who simply won’t wear a condom.
If some of the men standing up in Congress today bitching about abortion had to make those payments, I guaran-damn-tee you we’d hear them singing a different song. Because, of course, as Florence Kennedy said, if men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.
Patriarchy, we’re soaking in it.
Picture found here.