Monday, May 3, 2010
The Duchess:“If everybody minded their own business,” said The Duchess in a hoarse growl, “the world would go round much faster than it does.”
The Duchess has trounced into your reading with a few possible insights.
When we first meet The Duchess, she is violently nursing a baby whilst being attacked with pots and pans by the Cook. There is much chaos and violence in the kitchen where The Duchess sits shaking and threatening her howling child. She is impervious to the a-salts (forgive the pun), though the pepper seems to have gotten her temper up as she is quite rude with Alice and orders her head chopped off. The Duchess exits hurriedly, throwing the baby to Alice, a complete stranger, to care of while she prepares herself for a game of croquet with The Queen.
Are you finding yourself in the middle of chaos? Dealing with someone or something that is impervious to any sort of confrontation? Completely numb to responsibility and respect for others? Do you identify with any of these descriptions?
The Duchess, like many with a title and all of its privileges therein, may be rough and rude because she has no sense of civility towards anyone “beneath” her. This may be a cause for compassion, a right good ear-boxing, or simply curtsying and moving along. You have several choices here, but which one is the best for this circumstance?
Since there is no use in going to battle (The Duchess is bigger, meaner and uglier and there are no known vulnerable spots with this unshakable aristocrat), your best bet is to do what Alice does. Stay as close to the edges of the situation as possible, taking in any helpful information, and when the time is right, walk out.
This madness is obviously something that was going on long before you came on the scene, and has little to do with you. It is possible that you may be of some assistance to someone else who is needlessly being harmed by the circumstances, but you have no obligation to stick around. You are here for a special purpose, but it isn’t to be caught up in the chaos.
It requires special skills to just be still and present while things around you are whirling and crashing about. This isn’t your mess, and you are not being asked to resolve things. Your steadfast presence in the fray may lead you to a healthy role of helping someone else to escape the madness, but if you are lost inside it as well, you can do no good. As an anchor from the outside you have the advantage of a strong foundation and can safely lend a hand to those seeking refuge, but be careful not to take on too much of the rescuer role. You are here mostly as a bystander.
As a witness, you are playing a special role that may not yet make sense, but by the time the soup is served, it will all be clear.
Meditation #1: After you have made yourself comfortable, allow the breath to become regular, with an even timing between inhale and exhale. Once this feels natural, allow your query to form in your mind. Notice where you are in the mix. Wherever you happen to be (make note of it), now imagine yourself at the sidelines, or better yet, totally outside of the circumstances looking in. What do you see that is helpful? Is it easy for you to be present at the edges of the chaos without letting yourself get caught up in it? How does it feel to see others suffering and just be? If this is difficult, notice what it is that you feel moved to do? As this urge comes to you, take a deep breath in and let it go with the exhale. What need inside of you is met when you step in as a rescuer? See if you can let this identity go, for now, with the exhale. Allow this mantra to come into a rhythm with your breath: I am complete. I allow myself wholeness in just being. Continue with this practice until you are able to, as Alice, stand amidst the chaos without getting lambasted by a saucepan.
A further look at The Duchess reveals more insight. . .
Later on in the adventures, we meet The Duchess after a disruption of the royal croquet game. She has just been fetched from prison (sent there for boxing The Queen’s ears no less!) to help deal with her elusive Cheshire Cat. Whether it was her prison sentence or the lack of pepper that smoothed her out is unknown, but The Duchess seems quite amiable now. Though somewhat annoying, she no longer treats Alice with incivility. In fact, The Duchess now has a hard time being anything short of a clingy child with her sharp chin penetrating Alice’s shoulder and her annoying and constant morals and cliché’s penetrating her peace of mind. She’s like that distant auntie who always has too much advice about every last detail of your life. Uninvited, yet full of the best of intentions. Do you recall what is said about good intentions? The road to hell is paved with them, and Alice and The Duchess are walking steadfastly down it.
Again here is the theme of stepping in when it really isn’t necessary (let alone terribly obnoxious).
It may be time to check boundaries. Are you letting someone move in on your personal space or time? Just because it isn’t assaulting, doesn’t mean it’s not harmful or inappropriate. It’s okay to ask for your personal space and be clear with your boundaries. Even if there is an imbalance of roles (The Duchess vs. Alice, boss vs. employee, parent vs. child . . .), there is no impropriety in taking care of your energetic needs.
She may have once had the fiery temper of a hot-pepper, but now The Duchess is a bit too friendly. There isn’t going to be an ear-boxing or beheading if you speak your truth. Simple honesty without anger will yield you what you need and probably get you a good dose of self-respect to boot.
The Duchess professes that “Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.” You can continue to hang around and look for a moral to all that is around you, because there is much that can be said about and many ways to interpret the situation, however, in this instance, it hardly seems worth keeping company with the problem. The lessons to be gained aren’t worth the annoyance. It’s time to take your flamingo mallet and give whatever it is that’s in your way a good hard whack.
The choice is yours here. Whichever way you decide to respond, things will find themselves in order soon enough. And despite the possibility of everything having a moral, doesn’t mean they are at all helpful.
Meditation #2: Connect with the breath and relax as much as possible, calling in your query. See the players involved, and notice how your body feels when things are in motion. Where is your body feeling the leaky boundaries? Once you have connected with this feeling, imagine the breath as some sort of plumber with the proper replacement pipes. Breathe into the leaky part of your body and imagine those places getting reinforced and becoming stronger. Notice how it feels to have that new boundary. Look at your query and see how the former intruder has no way in. With love in your heart, let this situation or person know that you send your best wishes and are now taking important time for yourself to restore and replenish. Take a deep breath and with the exhale, let the gentle breeze guide this intrusion out of your field of being. Continue to breathe in that reinforcing of boundaries, and letting go of intrusions. Any time you feel that “leaky boundary” sensation in your body, or encounter a usurper of your precious space, energy, or time, do this meditation and notice what happens.