Posted by: innerpilgrimage | December 21, 2011

Gentle Souls: How Do Some People Not Only Survive but Thrive?

Holiday Eating Season Countdown: 12 Days

      I have had the fortune of being connected up with both an incredible metropolitan library system and the streaming Netflix service. I’ve seen one of the films I’m going to talk about yet have not seen the other yet. However, it is queued up. Both films deal with individuals breaking the chain and becoming gentle souls: People who live authentically, who have somehow released the anger, shame, and pain which many of us embraced and made into a life which brought us to the rooms as a solution.

      The first documentary (both are documentaries) is Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Box, which came out in 2007. The soap bottles, which has a very busy-looking label, are absolutely covered in his vigilant spiritual beliefs. The business is a business for people by people. It’s one of those businesses which really is a recession-buster. They respect the earth by using natural ingredients and the 99% by taking care of their American employees and use fair-trade sources.
      Emanuel Bronner, however, lived life differently than his son, Ralph, does now. To both men, humanity has a moral responsibility to care for others. Where Emanuel Bronner spoke vigorously and tried to change things on a macro-level with a dominant and dynamic personality, Ralph is a gentle soul who moves through the world living the message. Emanuel Bronner tried to be the master gardener of the world, trying to change the whole of the landscape at one go. He spent his life thinking of all people instead of moving through the world touching individual lives to manifest change. Ralph Bronner takes care of people one-on-one. He moves soul-to-soul like a butterfly in a garden. While I am not going to deny that Ralph Bronner seems somewhat strange, he is anything but flighty. He just doesn’t conform to what society pressures us into believing: Force through power is the only way to create change. He uses a quiet strength, a power of moving through the world person-by-person and using that power to change lives en masse by changing the individual’s perception of what human beings can achieve. Those people are changed through that interaction, and their interactions with others are changed by it.
      He is authentic in his gentle nature, despite suffering neglect as his own father tried to spread the same message with a completely different take on life. Force versus power; grandiosity and delusion versus humility and truth. Though both are strange individuals to people immersed in modern culture, I found that Emanuel Bronner made me uncomfortable because of the pressure to listen to things which did not ring true–despite his personal thought it was. Ralph Bronner lives a life of truth and love. He exposes the truth in his one-man show about his father, and he markets that by giving away the soap and by talking to (and hugging) individuals. Ralph Bronner is an individual who makes connections with other individuals. It seems strange because we are a culture of distance and power vampirism. If a person gets close, it is threatening. We mistrust it because there is a price for that intimacy. It’s more of an exchange of goods and services. However, a person getting close to give without the desire to receive in return intellectually triggers that sense of danger while the soul longs to make the connection. Ralph Bronner is out in the world making those soul connections, which probably baffles people who expect a “power bill” from him. His humility and sense of deep honesty to make those connections give him a gentle soul–one which thrives through service (as opposed to intellectual subjugation to perceived truth) of humanity.
      Definitely a movie to watch, to see two men spreading the same message of spiritual humility through soap-making–one just approached it as a self-proclaimed prophet, and the other lives it.
      The other movie is about a horse whisperer, Buck. I was intrigued by it when I saw it in my Netflix offerings, but I really had not gotten the intense desire to see it until I saw the trailer at the beginning of Cave of Forgotten Dreams DVD I borrowed from the library (which I am listening to/watching as I write this). As the trailer progressed, I became more and more sure I wanted to see this documentary, which I plan to queue up this morning just after I’m done with Cave of Forgotten Dreams. Buck Brannaman, a man who does not break horses but relates to them through compassion, is a good man who lives humility and truth–just like Ralph Bronner. I think it is probably easier for people to be more comfortable with him because he exposes the truth through his interactions with horses.
      I grew up around horses, though I didn’t personally own or raise one. Horses, however, were part of my youth (riding school which had horse care as part of the education, going to a dude ranch in the Shasta Mountain region when I was young, birthday party horseback trips out of the local university). Horses have intense personalities which reflect how they’re treated. Looking into a horse’s eyes, one can see a reflection of the horse’s personality: skittish and fearful, loving and wanting to be loved, vain and pampered. Horse owners, or the ones I have known, will talk about their horse’s intellect and personality. They can become anthropomorphized pretty easily, I believe, because they have a quality which touches that intense quiet honesty deep within us. We can’t use words to get in the way of the spiritual communication between us.
      Horse Whisperers don’t speak horse as much as listen with their hearts. The magical change works with people, too, but only if we’re ready to have our secrets dropped into our laps. That’s apparently one of Buck’s skills–using the horse as a mirror of its owner to expose the owner’s qualities regarding the horse. In other words, as I said, the horse whispers the truth of its human-horse relationship to him through its behavior and attitude and nature. He listens and translates the unspoken to people who don’t want those secrets revealed. However, he seems to treat people with the same gentility as he does the horses. The potential connection of honesty between horse-and-owner, of abandoning the master-and-beast-of-burden relationship for one of symbiosis, does grow souls. My spouse owned horses in his teens, and the two horses he talked about with affection and love were friends. They were intensely loyal, performing to a level of greatness that was encouraged by his intense loyalty to them. I’m looking forward to seeing the documentary, Buck, because I have a deep feeling that I will gain something ineffable from seeing it. That part about the horses being the mirrors to an individual’s soul is both inspiring and terrifying in that our secrets are exposed to people like him. The greatest kindness is that people who can see beyond the masks to our true faces know the fragility of the individual’s connection to the deepest self. They approach people with intense gentility. The soul wants to thrive; it wants to be part of the whole, it wants to be treated with honesty because it trusts unerringly. The only hope I suppose I can offer is that, in love addiction, people can’t get down to that place. Love does not hurt, period. Obsession, attachment, and avoidance hurt. Just because our culture has decided to call that “love” does not make it so. That’s why I appreciate those people who have gone before and blazed the trails and created opportunities to recover from the lessons we learned as beings of love when we were kids. Those addicted coping mechanisms we in program threw up to armour ourselves from the self-deceptions people told us (especially that we were inferior because we were smaller and were still developing our physical and mental selves–a lie spread generation-to-generation which has never been truth and never will be at a soul-level) served us. Yes, some people passed by it through their own trials and spiritual awakening which brought them to their own truths, but we still can reach past our coping mechanisms to our souls.
      So, now that I’ve started Buck, I’m going to watch it and do some serenity work. The threats I faced and built up coping mechanisms to defend against as a child–because I accepted as truth what was taught me because I, like all of us, began this incarnation as a trusting soul in a vessel. Like a horse, I was broken. I lived in fear and was kept disciplined with a whip of shame. But I always tested my boundaries, kicked up drama and dust, and I put as much between me and the world as possible to keep people at a distance.
      I have an intense sense of relief that it’s a dance between me and others who are like me. While I do wear my toxic love addiction more openly than I’d like to admit to myself, I know it’s a flag to others who are seeking to have an approval transaction–an unwilling exchange of energy akin to mutual power vampirism. We drain each other then part, exhausted. This isn’t love, and I know it isn’t. Food was the padding beneath this armor; I told myself a passel of lies: “Men don’t like fat women, so I’m gonna be fat” (which objectifies everyone involved, making us vessels instead of spiritual beings traveling in those vessels of human form), “Since the ‘truism’ is that brownies stay on my thighs forever and since I experienced that men leave after demolishing my self-esteem, I’m gonna trust the ‘love’ inherent in food–ignoring the health risks.” So many little lies I told myself always left me miserable with “I don’t know why I do this!” I did know. The knowing, however, was resting in the silence I rarely allow myself. I fear knowing myself sometimes, and coming away with nothing or worse–a person I hate.
      The irony is that the inherent hatred of that is my ineffable part telling me who I am. For example, I find a deep sense of inner peace creating and giving away my creations. I want nothing in return. Well, okay, I do want one thing–I want the person to accept the gift given in love. If they don’t, I still retreat to that addicted message that I am not worthy, that I am inferior. Well, I’m not. None of us is. That’s just the other person’s mental messages telling them things which I cannot hear or know because I have not experienced their lives as them. I never will. It’s not personal. It never is personal. To become vulnerable to accept a gift is part of recovery for me. Rejecting the martyrdom–to give and give and give expecting a greater reward for draining myself of the power I am desperate to hold onto–is hard work. It’s the essence of the anorexia, to starve myself even as I am at a banquet of opportunities to make real spiritual connections. If one person rejects what I made, then perhaps what I made isn’t actually for them. It’s an opportunity to wander the world and find the person who will accept that loving gift. It’s a great opportunity to get acceptance practice in.
      Well, I’m going to close this out because I’m rambling. I have a lot to say, though the words are getting in the way and are meandering around without any direction. Well, when they’re ready to roll out, they will.
      My name is Jess, and I am a food binge-arexic and toxic love binger and real love anorexic. I appreciate the awareness that I’m being given without a demand to grow immediately with it. It’s an evolutionary process of discipline and love. I am not the exclusive beneficiary of it nor am I excluded from it. This is for us all–part of the gift of being an integral part of a changing world and Universe.


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