I drive about 8 hours/week to and from my teaching gigs, which gives me a fair amount of time to, essentially, meditate Not to worry, not the closed-eye, unresponsive, belly button lint gathering kind, but the contemplative kind - by which I mean exploring and chewing on a an idea or two or three.
What got me started last week was a TV show the Doc had on. A crime drama, this episode about a college kid who was helping a local bar promote itself and make money by holding weekly wet T-shirt contests. He got murdered by someone, and, as they say, we're off.
The thing about it was the one young woman who threatened him with a lawsuit for putting a video of her topless on the internet. She protested to anyone who listened that she was forced into participating in the contest, so should not have wound up shirtless on the web. She described being forced to drink then forced to go on stage because she had been picked up bodily, and passed up to the stage. She never said that she felt she would be safer on stage.
To which I responded, "Show me the damned bruises."
There is one, and one thing only that each of us has control over. That is ourselves. I may not like the circumstances I find myself in and I may not like any of the apparently available options that I have, but I do have control (another word for it is "choice) over what I do.
Now, before you go all sputtery and "Butbutbut..." on me consider this parable:
You wake up in a 8x8x8 room. Metal walls, nt apparent door, window or other means of entrance or exit. You feel OK, but have no recollection of why or how you arrived in such a predicament. You are clothed, but have nothing about your person that could be used as a tool for escape - no belt, no shoes, empty pocket, no smartphone. Nada. Zip.
You notice, in your examination of the room, that there is a 3 foot diameter hole in the center of the floor. Upon investigating, you discover that it is full liquid cess to within 18" of the floor. (Cess - as in cesspool. Contents of a septic tank or outhouse pit. You get my drift??)
As you make this discovery, you notice something else - two of the walls have begun to advance toward each other in a way that, if unchecked, will absolutely squish anything (or anyone) between them to a very thin smear. As the walls continue their advance, it increasingly apparent that this is going to happen in the next couple of minutes. To you.
Now, you have two choices. Ponder for a moment, and then tell me what they are. (Hint - one is fatal, the other just really, really unpleasant.) Assuming that you are not generally given to suicidal ideation, and that you brain chemistry fall into the statistically abstract range called "normal", I'm betting that you choose the un-fatal but highly unpleasant option available to you.
As you jump in (feet first, of course), you discover two things. Well, three, actually. One - you can stand up without crouching or bending. Two - the liquid poo it just up to your chin. Three - the walls have slammed shut, so you are now trapped in the mini cesspool.
And, once again, you have two choices - one may easily lead to an unpleasant drowning death, the other again is highly unpleasant, but not immediately fatal. what do you do?? Hint - it you hold your breath long enough, you will pass out. Most likely, you will collapse, and submerge yourself in the liquid poo. Worst case, you will drown, not quite so worst case is you will come to, completely submerged in the liquid poo.
Or, you could continue to breathe and not pass out.
Ponder and/or discuss.