Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some Things That Recently Clicked

I don't know that I have been any more contemplative this week than I normally am but for some reason I have experienced a few of those moments where I've heard something and have experienced an almost audible click, as my puny little brain shifted gears into an entirely new way of thinking:

1. I was listening to CBC's Tapestry and they had a Jewish philosopher on there discussing their belief in soul traits. In short, they attempt to retrain the soul so that whatever it's impulse is, let's say anger, is replaced by something more positive. The example they gave was a mother who would often yell at her daughter over the smallest of things. After retraining her soul, she learned a new way to cope with her feelings and when something bad happened she would visualize the two options (to yell, or to speak calmly and respectfully). Anyway, the guest was saying that when that mother chose to speak nicely to the daughter instead of berating her, she was not only giving a gift to her daughter but to her grandchildren. Her grandchildren would have a better mother because of her actions. This same sentiment can be extrapolated to many of the relationships in our lives - by being a good wife I will teach Paisley what a healthy marriage looks like. By being kind to her and treating her with respect, I will make her a stronger woman, a better mother and a happier person. This is not news to anyone but I had never really thought about it beyond Paisley. I had never considered the grandchildren and great-grandchildren who stand to benefit from my behaviour.

It also made me feel very lucky that I had the parents and family that I did. Now I recognize that I am not the only one to benefit from the things I learned growing up. Paisley will benefit from having a mother that was never treated unfairly, never berated or belittled and never disrespected. It makes every experience and opportunity all the more valuable.

2. Brian gets a daily atheist quote on his iGoogle and read one of them to me last week:
"...even believers are strong atheists – they deny the existence of hundreds of gods. Atheists like me merely deny one more god than everyone else already does – in fact, I deny the existence of the same god already denied by believers in other gods, so I am not doing anything that billions of people don’t do already." Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness Without God

This one resonated more than the others had for some reason. Atheism is often so vilified that I can't help but internalize it just a little. This made so much sense to me - billions of people who believe in Allah do not believe in Vishnu. Billions of people who consider themselves Christians do not believe in Allah. Every religious person is more atheist than they are believer - there are hundreds, even thousands of Gods to choose from and religious people choose to not believe in any of them except one (or I suppose several if you are Hindu). As an atheist I believe in one measly god less than everyone else.

3. I knew that having a baby would change me. I knew it would make me more tired, maybe more emotional, more protective and less able to have an adult conversation. What I didn't count on was becoming fierce. I feel stronger, more confident, more capable, better equipped, less scared and more determined than I ever had. I don't really know why this would happen and to be honest it's a little counter-intuitive since I spend a lot more time at home, alone, sometimes in a bathrobe. Maybe it's nature giving me the qualities I need to protect my hut and the people in it or maybe it's the knowledge that I have a child to take care of. It's just as likely that after 9 months of pregnancy, 24 hours of labour, a 6 inch incision from which a a child emerged, and many sleepless nights I've turned into a raging bitch. :)

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