Monday, August 27, 2012

The Wall of Jealousy

Not Everything Green Grows in the Garden

Blue-green waves lapped the shore.
The sun sparkled, tossing diamonds of light across the sand.
I breathed in the air and welcomed the beauty.
Jealousy then stabbed my consciousness, and I thought:
I sure hope [name] appreciates waking up to this every day.”
In that moment, I realized that in being jealous of what I didn’t have,
I wasted precious moments not being aware of what was
right in front of me, around me, blessing me.

Jealousy--dark, dank, green, parasitic
It leaches joy, companionship, love, and empathy from life.

Jealousy—green like foul algae growing where it’s dark and damp, allowing in only enough sunshine to let it fester, spread, and grow.
Festering, growing, and spreading isn’t all it does. It builds a wall, bricks one in with envy, lust, greed, and an unspoken demand that one have, possess, be, own, look like, act like, have the same talents as those on whom one sets the barb of covetous thoughts, words, deeds.
Unlike inspiration, which propels one toward a higher, nobler, more compassionate, empathetic life, jealousy builds walls in misguided attempts at protection. The walls grow ever-higher, blocking one’s vision, and trapping a hardened heart in the dried and clinging muck that turns to concrete, further separating and walling oneself in.
Jealousy's scourge is something I’ve battled for decades, feeling the dark desires and opening myself to the bitterness of comparison—to demanding that life treat me differently than it has.
Social media in the last week opened my eyes to how I’ve closed my heart when jealousy strikes. I hid—yes hid—status updates from those who had more, did more, experienced more, who are more attractive than I. The last time I did that, I watched someone’s experience fade away. For a short moment, it was less painful. I couldn’t want what I didn’t see.
Soon after, however, I was reminded of what else I could no longer see—people smiling, hugging, laughing, celebrating. By focusing on what I thought I didn’t have, I lost something of value—the opportunity to share joy, to feel that joy, to experience a vicarious moment of happiness and let that joy infuse itself into my being as well.
Instead, I was left with my wall, insulating me, separating me—leaving me in the muck that continued to rise about my feet. I loosened my feet from their shoes of clay and began climbing the wall, until perched at the top, I was able to see out—to see beyond the petty demand that life, love, possessions, experiences, meet some nebulous nirvana that in my conscious awareness, I wasn’t even certain I wanted.
What do I want? I want to—intend to—change the song playing in my psyche that dares to compare—me against you, me against her, me against him, me against them. It’s a bad song, poorly composed and worse performed.
It’s not easy to look my own self in the eye and recognize the negativity I carry around like so many bricks in a bag. It’s even harder to say I’ll continue to look myself in the eye when I feel that wall being reconstructed, because I know the war against the green wall is ongoing. That wall is not even completely dismantled as I write. I do know what to do to keep this construction at a moratorium:
Celebrate the joys of others and hold them close as if they are my own.
Express gratitude because I have much, cherish much, love much, and am loved much in return.
Share what I have with open heart, open arms, and a compassionate, empathetic heart. It’s the only way to keep the green wall from going higher, blocking sun, warmth, light, and love.

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