Eve’s Wisdom and Why We’re on Earth

by Belinda Munoz on November 9, 2009

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I’m a big baby.  I cry all the time.  I’ve been moved to tears by just about everything.  Music.  Nature.  Births.  Deaths.  Adam Sandler movies.  Yup.  You name it.

I admit, I’ve had to lie about it.  On more than one occasion, people have come up to me with concern and that dreaded question, “Are you okay?”  Not my favorite query in the middle of a blubber.

For a long time I wasn’t proud of this fact about myself.  I’ve come to learn to shrug off stereotypes that persist about being a petite Asian-American woman.  I’ve laughed myself silly inappropriately and apologized for it.  But to have to address my tears, I’m rarely ready to do so coherently.  It’s easier to say, “I’m fine, thanks” and move on.

SCONES, TEA AND TEARS

Until I had a revelatory time with Eve.  Eve whom every time I see makes me weep.  Eve whose amazing body of work leaves me raw, exposed and vulnerable yet also cleansed, empowered and inspired.  Eve who instantly unites me with the foreign, the familiar, the sacred and the desecrated.

I’m of course referring to the one and only Eve Ensler.  Eve, myself and a few other fabulous women and two men (who were just as fabulous!) had a bona fide bawl fest a couple of weeks ago.  Over breakfast.  And it was refreshingly real.

All it took was a little hot beverage, a little comfort food, and some very powerful words.  And the floodgates swung wide open.

WHAT HER WORDS DID TO ME

Eve told us about her recent experiences in the Congo and the amazing project she is building there with the locals.  It will be very powerful.  I’m sure everyone will hear about it when the time comes.

As we cried and talked and laughed and cried some more, Eve reminded me in a way only she can that we need to own our emotions.

That we should cry when we feel like crying.  Laugh when we feel like laughing.  Be sad when we’re sad.  I mean, c’mon, people!  What’s more basic than that?

IF ONLY IT WERE AS EASY AS SPOKEN WORDS

Yet, as complex beings, we complicate the simple things.  We’re fascinating that way.  Instead, we retreat when we feel like crying.  We put up a front when we’re sad.  We stand strong when all we want is to fall in a heap.

As if human emotions were foreign to other humans.

So, we pretend that all is right with the world when we know without question that there is much in disarray.  That the comforts of home is an illusion and has a short reach.  That denial can only take us so far.  That a feeling of emptiness will chase us if we don’t do something.  Anything.

WHAT IS THIS TIRADE ON A “CHOOSING POSITIVITY” BLOG?

Great question.  What I learned from Eve a long time ago is we can’t simply be bystanders and onlookers of world news and suffering.  We can’t will ourselves to believe that there is no evil once we turn off the TV sets or close the door behind us.  We can’t turn our back on our sisters and brothers while we chase after the meaning of life.

It just doesn’t work that way.

Because if we let something bad happen to one of us, we let it happen to all of us.

We’re not here only for ourselves and most certainly not only to be entertained or become famous or make a lot of money or stroke our egos with anything within reach.

We’re here for each other.  We’re here to show compassion for one another.  We’re here to love one another.  We’re here to live lives as richly as possible, together, without leaving anyone behind.

But until we know this truth in our hearts, we will leave some of us behind.  We will let others be hurt and harmed.  We will neglect our most basic bond.

The human race bond.

And this brings me back to what Eve reminded me of recently.  When we allow ourselves to feel our emotions, to cry when we’re moved, to sympathize when we feel the pain and suffering of others, there is hope.

HOPE IS MORE THAN JUST A FOUR-LETTER WORD

There is hope that one day, we’ll be moved to take action so that someone is suffering a little bit less.  So that the meaning we seek becomes the fulfillment we find.  So that the need to take action overpowers inaction.  So that the special bond we have with each other becomes just a little bit stronger.

There are numerous ways we can move beyond hope.  Here are some:

  1. Love yourself then love others.
  2. Let your voice be heard.
  3. Know that we are enough and that now is a good time to start taking action.
  4. Vote (it’s a flawed system but until a better one is in place, not voting isn’t part of the solution).
  5. If you don’t like the candidates, consider running for office yourself.  If you don’t like the ballot measures, consider writing your own petition.
  6. Learn about organizations that help even the playing field.
  7. Join an organization as a volunteer or activist or start an organization that isn’t already in place.
  8. Use the power of your checkbook strategically by making a contribution to a good cause rather than blowing your paycheck on a new wardrobe.
  9. Pay it forward 50 ways.
  10. Pack your life with meaning 101 ways.


SO I CLOSE THIS POST WITH A POEM OF SORTS

As I often do,
I humbly ask of you,
To think, to feel, to be in the moment.

Though you may as I do,
Choose to sit and to be,
Or to work for atonement.

What we do,
In our space and our time,
Be it lofty or something low-rent,

As we wish,
We may do as we please,
It is always our judgment.

If I’ve managed to make you sigh,
Or roll your eyes or wince or cry,
Please know, as ever, I’d love your comment.

It seems to me that we spend an inordinate amount of time and attention on fixing ourselves when we could really be directing that out to serving others. ~Eve Ensler

Image by aussiegall

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An Affair to Forget — the halfway point
June 16, 2010 at 12:05 am

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Patty - Why Not Start Now? November 9, 2009 at 1:15 am

Hi Belinda – Beautiful. You’re right, feeling our feelings does lead to hope. But there are so many unspoken rules about emotions. Thanks for knocking a few of them down. That’s real positivity in my book.

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2 Ideas With A Kick November 9, 2009 at 1:25 am

“We can’t turn our back on our sisters and brothers while we chase after the meaning of life.” O yes we can. But it’s not much of a way to go for most of us 🙂

Eduard

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3 Fr. Michael November 9, 2009 at 8:10 am

I think emotions allow us to experience the richness of life. However, there are some emotions that can really drag us down if we’re not careful. I think it’s good to feel sorrow, for example. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. However, to live one’s life in sorrow is not good.

A good rule of thumb that I try to live by is never to make big decisions based on my emotions. So, I think there’s a balance. Yes, feel the richness of emotion; but don’t let emotion govern our lives.

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4 LPC November 9, 2009 at 8:36 am

Tears and positivity are not antithetical. I can feel a great, sure, conviction that life is wonderful at the same time as I cry because I am sad or hurt.

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5 Tristan Lee November 9, 2009 at 9:50 am

Hi Belinda. Thanks for these words of wisdom. I have learned something about Eve Ensler. The list you provided us showed us how we can take matters into our own hands if we want to change the world, and use wealth as a way to contribute back to the world we want to change.

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6 Amy Rao November 9, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Belinda– you are so right on! Who gave any of us permission to step aside? Even if we are able to make the suffering just a little less…. we are all capable of doing more; capable of being more; of making more of a difference. Thank you for sharing this….it makes me be more.
XO

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7 Miche | Serenity Hacker November 9, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Hi Belinda, I’m so glad to have discovered your blog through the comment you left on mine! You’ve got some great content here.

What you’ve written in this post is so powerful, eloquent, and important, and you’ve touched me in a lot of ways. I’m a “cryer” too, music, movies, random things, sometimes I’ve been moved during a 30 second commercial! I don’t try to hide it, but these kinds of tears are almost beside the question “Are you okay?” because I am okay… I’m crying for someone else’s pain, suffering, sorrow, sometimes precisely because I am okay and they are not…

You make an excellent point that not all is okay when we turn off the tv, that human suffering still exists, and that those of us who aren’t exposed to it everyday, those of us who are free to choose positivity need to remember that we are not here alone, that we are all connected, all united. We do have an obligation to help ease the suffering of others, and that is what can truly lift and heal humanity, both individually, and collectively. Bravo to you for including that message here.

Cheers,
Miche 🙂

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8 Kelly November 9, 2009 at 6:08 pm

The Ensler quote is amazing. And true. I think our nature makes us tend to turn inward. We aspire to this unattainable perfection, and so much energy is lost. And I really appreciate the fact that we can change the world in small ways every day. Just being kind. Paying it forward. Those things can and do matter.

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9 Madeleine November 9, 2009 at 6:52 pm

Belinda, I am glad I read this post. I’ve been feeling down about the vicious and ugly things I’ve been reading on the internet about the shooting at Fort Hood and the health care legislation. There are many comments which are filled with hate and disdain for other human beings. I think that much of this comes from fear, but it’s still hard to see such complete disregard for the humanity of others.

Your point 8 is so important. One of my favorite charities repairs facial deformaities (cleft lips and cleft palates) in children all over the world. The before-and after-pictures are heart-wrenching. How little money it takes to change a child’s life. thank you!

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10 Ben Leon Guerrero November 9, 2009 at 7:33 pm

Belinda, Belinda,

Eve Ensler, I have heard of her, though I have not seen her perform, let alone havea breakfast with her. You travel in such elegant spaces with such powerful people! I am unfamiliar with the content of her work, other than the very famous title of one of them, but she sounds very inspiring. In my culture, it is OK for men to cry and show emotion—pacific islander cultures, as you know, though loaded with plenty of machismo, have room for emotion, perhaps because of our strong family ties… and I am grateful that I was raised knowing that there is nothing wrong for a man to cry. I am also grateful that you pass along the inspiration you felt at this breakfast to us, your readers. It is an energetic fireball that keeps rolling, inspiring one here, one there, then the next. So thank you Eve Ensler and thank you Belinda Munoz.

Ben

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11 Nadia - Happy Lotus November 10, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Hi Belinda,

Beautiful post. I also have a tendency to cry and laugh with ease. It is kind of comical at times since most people tend to be so much more reserved.. So I am happy that I am not alone in this trait.

Actually, I think when we become more aware of how universal the human experience is and how we are all struggling on some level, it just makes us so much more compassionate. Compassion is what will heal the world and I have no doubt that more and more people are waking up to that truth. As you can see, I am a hopeful person too.!

It is also great that you are able to spend time with Eve Ensler. She is a very interesting woman.

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12 Bob Bessette November 10, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Hi Belinda,
My wife saw Vagina Monologues so I ended up reading her your post and she was as impressed as I always am with your posts. I have no problems wearing my emotions on my sleeve. This is especially true now that my children are older and it takes one memory to set me off. I just wish I had more time to serve others but I do the best I can with the time I have.

Best,
Bob

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13 Malo November 11, 2009 at 9:07 am

Great post again, but I’m no longer surprised. I already know you’re excellent at this so I expect no less (no pressure 😉 )

What struck me the most is “Know that we are enough and that now is a good time to start taking action. ” I often think that I’m not ready and I have to learn more of something before I can start. So you see, this is a very powerful message to me. Thank you for continually inspiring me.

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14 Laura November 12, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Hi Belinda, DWS shared your link with me– and not only did I relish this blog post, I’m moved to continue browsing your blog. Thanks for choosing to chart the progress rather than side with those who believe it’s better to belabor pessimism. Warmth and cheer to you.

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15 Liberty November 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Belinda, I love the way you close your blog with a poem. You truly have been blessed with the gift of writing. Thanks for sharing your gift.

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16 forex robot November 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.

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17 Florin - Infinite Journey November 26, 2009 at 10:36 am

this is so cool:)

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