Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dancing with Kali...


Last year around my birthday, I wrote a blog about the Weighing of the Heart. I weighed out my heart last year and felt like I had a good grip on who I was and where I was going. This year, I feel like my life and my world is more about Kali than Ma'at.

This year, situations in my life feel different. At 48, I feel conflicted in a conflicted world. While I treasure my family and my job, I treasure the people in my life and am filled with gratitude that I am loved and that I have this great capacity *to* love, even when situations are complicated, I still find myself more anxious this year. More edgy. More perplexed by a world that is filled with so much hate and xenophobia. At times, I feel more anxiety than I know how to manage. I feel overwhelmed, the illusion that I have some control is dispelled and I feel like a failure on so many levels - as a parent, as a daughter, a friend, even some days as a teacher and partner.

My dad just spent the week with me. We talked a lot about the world and life and mythology. I told him the story of Kali and how, to me, it feels like Kali is dancing in the world. She is the dark goddess. The goddess of destruction:

Kali is the fearful and ferocious form of the mother goddess. She assumed the form of a powerful goddess and became popular with the composition of the Devi Mahatmya, a text of the 5th - 6th century AD. Here she is depicted as having born from the brow of Goddess Durga during one of her battles with the evil forces. As the legend goes, in the battle, Kali was so much involved in the killing spree that she got carried away and began destroying everything in sight. To stop her, Lord Shiva threw himself under her feet. Shocked at this sight, Kali stuck out her tongue in astonishment, and put an end to her homicidal rampage.
Hence the common image of Kali shows her in her mêlée mood, standing with one foot on Shiva's chest, with her enormous tongue stuck out.

When Kali dances in the world, there is great chaos. She is the goddess of time, and she represents the destruction of ignorance. One of the beautiful things about Kali is that when you face Kali as she dances around you, she can remove your fears and bring you peace. Lately, I feel that by facing my fears I will, eventually, find some peace. 

At the same time, I watch Kali dance on a scale bigger than just *my* life. I see American political candidates extol the virtues of xenophobia. I watch other American political candidates surge in the polls spouting their violent rhetoric against planned parenthood and migrants. I watch fear turn so many into the mob in The Crucible. I watch innocent men and women being detained or worse shot, in single shootings or mass shootings, and I forget to breathe. Because Kali dances and she is drunk on blood.

But the beautiful part of the Kali story, is that her consort, the equally powerful god Shiva, knows what he must do to stop her. Shiva throws himself under her feet. Knowing only one thing can stop destruction and chaos, only one thing can end the violence - love. Kali, realizing she is dancing on the one she loves, stops. Now, perhaps, love isn't the best word, she puts out her tongue because she is embarrassed, and she feels remorse for her actions. But in a way, all those ideas come together in my mind. This idea I feel deep in my heart that love is the answer and that we, as a nation and as a world of people who must learn to live together, must have a recognition that destructive anger only brings more destruction. There are some that agree. Some countries that aren't giving in to fear, some political leaders showing kindness, not cruelty and I have hope.

I've found kindred minds reading Humans of New York  (I think you might need a facebook page to follow this link) for the last few months. Recently, the page has been featuring the stories of Syrian refugees struggling to survive. There are over 16million followers of this page. This morning I cried reading the feed. I don't know if the actual story will show up when you click on the link, but it is beautiful so far - the story of Aya. And so very deeply sad. I want so much for the story to have a happy ending. You can pick any of the refugee stories to read, it is not so much the story that is important - it's the comments after each refugee's story. The thousands and thousands of positive comments people leave.

These stories remind me of Kali, that even in her destruction, there is hope. And I have hope. So do most of the people that follow this page. They see that refugees aren't savages, they are humans. Humans running from war and tragedy. And I see how we, as a nation, or at least 16 million of us, also want to believe in hope. In kindness. In love. It doesn't matter if their faith differers from mine or yours... They are human beings who are just trying to live good lives free from war and terror.

And I guess, like my last post, for me it comes back to love. I believe in love. I believe in goodness. I believe in humanity. We are all a little broken. We are all a bit wounded, but deep inside, we were created to live and love. Even as Kali dances around the world, in the end, just like in the mythology, it will be love that saves us.

Peace and love to you all this holiday season,



Tim Nadwodney said...

There is beauty in sacrifice. There is always hope, and the greatest hope inspires one to love another as one wants to be loved. Nice piece

MaryKate M said...

Thank you, Tim. <3. I do believe in loving as you wish to be loved. To be the heart in the world. *hugs*