Acknowledging that I’m challenged — by the conditioning of my culture, even by biology — can lead either of two ways. I can feel so overwhelmed I give up.
For example, I think I gave up on my sexuality, somewhere around menopause. Tired of the struggle, just wanting to avoid it, welcoming low libido. But something has made me reconsider. Partly, perhaps, just the process of writing this book — my discipline of writing as practice: wrestling with the words that come out; asking Is this true? Or is it just how I want to think?
But mainly, my avoidance took me so far into masochism that I finally got sick of that. I began to see masochism as an avoidance of asserting my own sexuality. It’s easier to submit, to be overwhelmed, than to enable orgasm to well up freely.
There are positive ways to give up some things, but this masochistic giving up avoids taking responsibility for my karma — for the impact of my choices on my character. It avoids taking responsibility for making better choices, cleaning my karma.
In fact, this giving up to my conditioning adds to my karma the victim’s plaint of self-justification, digging myself deeper into a pattern of rationalizing my motives, blaming others, and hopelessness. I don’t need to encourage this habit, to make it even harder to see through or change; if I nurse this grudge it can end up feeling as ingrained as though set in stone. Feeling as though “that’s just the way things are”; as though “it’s just how I am.”
So I choose to meet the challenge, encounter it with some chutzpah, with rebellious rejection of the authority of cultural norms, with a stubborn determination to be true to myself: this is how I nurture courage.