You are the Dragon, You are the Cave
by Beth Weaver-Kreider
The thing you learn, of course,
before you strap your sword belt on,
is that the princess you pledged to save
is only yourself in another guise,
that the dragon you swore to smite
is simply your own roaring ego
belching flame in the mouth of the cave.
You are the villagers rioting in the streets,
and calling for the dragon’s blood.
You are the bells that pealed from the towers
when the dragon circled above the town.
You are the sword,
the shield, the very cave,
the small frightened mouse
trampled in the fray.
You are the village.
You are the mountain.
You are the day itself,
quiet witness to the story.
Finding a tenuous balance.
I mostly feel that I will never actually find true “balance” in my life. See how I even put it in quotation marks? It’s like a Shangri-la that doesn’t really exist, more mythical even than the faeries who tend the life force in the world of the farm, balance is an unattainable ideal that I strive for, long for, push myself towards, and never quite reach.
But that’s kind of okay. In fact, it’s perfectly okay, really. There are moments when, like the Equinoxes, everything seems to align, to fit, and I can breathe for a moment, but let the tension drain from my muscles, let my gaze drift, and I fall off the tightrope, no matter how balanced I was for a moment.
This has been one of the frustrations of teaching for me, the need to constantly keep those muscles tense, that gaze intense, in order to “succeed” with “balance” at being an effective teacher/person. And when I am “succeeding” most fully at teaching, the other pieces of my life are tumbling off the tightrope around me: parenting, writing, creating, joyful living, kindness. And then teacher tumbles down, too, and I bounce in the net with all the other parts of me that I long to incorporate. I gather myself up, and begin the arduous climb up to the rope again.
Right now, after a hard day of climbing yesterday, I am once again on the tightrope, feeling the muscles tense, the gaze focus, holding all the pieces that I am trying to incorporate.
If my goal is simply to stay balanced, I won’t make it–that’s too much tension for my spirit too maintain over the long haul. But there’s joy in the learning, gratitude in the process, and I have a destination to reach. So here we go. Muscles tense (I know a little better how it should feel this time), eyes focused, one foot stepping out onto the rope. . .
May we walk in Beauty!
“There is a kindness that dwells deep down in things; it presides everywhere, often in the places we least expect. The world can be harsh and negative, but if we remain generous and patient, kindness inevitably reveals itself. Something deep in the human soul seems to depend on the presence of kindness; something instinctive in us expects it, and once we sense it we are able to trust and open ourselves.” —John O’Donohue
“In such ugly times, the only true protest is beauty.” —Phil Ochs
“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” ―Jane Goodall
“Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” ―Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie