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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rituals

I realized the other day that I always wash my body in the shower in the exact same order. I realized this when, for some reason, I mindlessly started to wash my right thigh instead of my left arm first. This threw my ENTIRE shower into a downward spiral of catastrophe; it very quickly disintegrated into an almost comical farce of what a shower should be. I am lucky I got clean that day. (And I wish that I was being facetious here...)

My husband has a quirk like this as well. That man has to have all of his day to day essentials (his wallet, his leatherman, his chapstick, his keys, and his pistol...hey, I did say that he was my polar opposite in a lot of ways. I was not joking...maybe it is our similarity in our idiosyncrasies that keeps us together...) in exactly the same spot. He gets up in the morning and does the exact same thing every.single.day. To deviate just the slightest bit from his morning ritual is akin to starting one of those nuclear war drills that they used to do in the 60's, then realizing that OMFG, IT'S NOT A DRILL!!! There would seriously be THAT much chaos, weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. I could also see him trying to get some sexual favors from me out of the deal similar to guys back then, but that is for a different post...

It makes me wonder how much of our beliefs are part of a ritual of thought. We get so used to believing that, for instance, abortion is wrong, or that people who are on unemployment are not looking hard enough for a job and should just get a job at Walmart for Chrissakes, that it is almost earth shattering when those beliefs that are ritualistic for us are challenged. Do you try to get back to the status quo when challenged? Do you look for things to support your original belief with a desperation that makes Sarah Palin's attempts to remain relevant appear like they should be taken seriously? Or do you allow yourself to grow, to maybe entertain the possibility that yes, you CAN wash your left thigh first and the whole shower will not end in a disaster that rivals anything sung by Ke$ha? I am not saying here that you need to change your mind. God knows that my family has tried to cure me of my liberal leanings the way that most fundamentalists try to cure someone of homosexuality. Both propositions are an exercise in futility, by the way...but do you ever try to entertain an understanding of the other viewpoint? I know I am guilty of automatically dismissing views that are different from mine. However, is there something to be said from trying to learn from the other side, even if you don't agree? I struggle with this sometimes, because I firmly believe that the other side in my case is a side steeped in unearned privilege, racism, ethnocentrism, and hate, all finely gilded with a thin layer of promise of a better time like before even though it never existed (similar to a lead charm coated with a thin layer to platinum). In my case, I don't know that I would seek to understand the viewpoint to simply understand it as much as I would seek to understand it to know how to OVERCOME it. Would the other side be saying the same thing as well? And really, how does that make me different or better?

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