Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Generosity, Kindness, Patience, Loyalty, Virtue?

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."

I was brought up to be generous, kind, patient, loyal, honest, selfless, noble, proud... All these things, these values, virtues, "things that are good". And one by one, I discarded each one of these values... And I know that it started, when I left Pakistan and came to the Big Bad West. So it would seem it is the culture here that is at fault. I am very tempted to blame the West, consumer, money driven culture, workaholics, selfish, self righteous with an overblown sense of entitlement, obsessed with who's right or wrong, and not what's good for the community. I could say, this happened to me, because I am in a culture, where being loyal or noble or selfless is considered weak and stupid, work ethic is valued over social ethics, the law is god, and corporations rule our souls... etc etc

But that's all nonsense. The real challenge, or test of your generosity and kindness and patience and loyalty etc etc is being able to continue it when you are not getting the same treatment in return. If everyone, is kind and generous and nice to you, then it's easy to treat others the same way. Real generosity is when you are not doing it under social pressure, but because you want to.. but how can someone who is starving be generous?

That's the key - don't starve.

"Every act of rebellion expresses a nostalgia for innocence and an appeal to the essence of being. " - Albert Camus

"I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain." -James Baldwin

"I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of my entrails. And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space, making a new culture—una cultura mestiza—with my own lumber, my own brick and mortar, and my own feminist architecture." --Gloria AnzaldĂșa

"I am a work in progress dressed in the fabric of a world unfolding, offering me intricate patterns of questions, rhythms that never come clean, and strengths you still haven't seen." -Ani DiFranco "The Slant

With everything you can't do for people, you can always be entirely present.

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs: ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." - Harold Whitman

"This too shall pass!"

nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes. --oscar wilde

could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy. --kahlil gibran

Another thing I have realized now that I am not in the "big bad west" anymore.. is that a lot of the reasons I became so cold and selfish and closed off had to do with this irrational fear of coming back home to family (and not really being able to comprehend over long distance what was happening here). I was terrified of this very eventuality but I got so tired of running, I got to a point where I had no choice but to go back and face that fear and realize how irrational it was. It feels hypocritical to be generous and kind to others and at some point you run out of the capacity to do it when you are so religiously neglecting the people who really need you and you truly love. I was at this point where even if I had had a choice a part of me had made up it's mind that I needed to do this. And I was right.

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