- On May 20th, 2008
- In Ashley Judd
We drove down the mountain with the valley below, traced by a wide meandering river. In the east was a wide rainbow, the magenta and violet were glowing. In the west, the sun was setting behind mountain after mountain after mountain. Everything was blue, even the air. It was so beautiful. I listened to Tibetan bowls, talked to my God, got some things figured out, and, the peace I have lacked for days that came back to me today when I cried and let it all out, deepened.
Earlier this week I had been finding it impossible to wrap my mind around the state of our world. When I closed my eyes and saw skulls and femurs from the genocide memorials. When I tried to see something else, it was Zainib’s basketball court in Bagdad, converted to a gallows were 20 people a day are being murdered. When I attempted to shut that out, my mind went to Northern Ireland, and when I blotted that out, a thousand other armed conflicts with all their wreckage racked my soul. Torn genitals in Congo, brothels in Mumbai, sewage strewn slums everywhere. Why, why, why, why, why, why? I understood for the first time why “The Goddess of Nanking,” after personally saving thousands of terrified Chinese from Japanese torturers, promptly killed herself when she got back home to Kansas.
Driving down the spellbinding mountain and uninhibited once more in feeling my feelings, the answer came to me from a very soft place inside: self will. I have free will, as do all others, and when I am (and they are) in it, look out. I am (and we are) self will run riot. And that, multiplied by billions of people in and out (some more so than others) of self will, equals the state of the world, good and bad.
And so today I took the focus off all others and their heinous acts, and put it back on myself. I turned my will and my life over, once more, to a power greater than myself. So today, just for today, I get a reprieve from the dis-ease that lives in my head, that wants to convince me I am better than (or worse than) someone else. And just for today, I am not a genocidaire. I am not in a militia. I am not a rapist or a human trafficker. I don’t think that I, or anyone else, deserves to be punished, tortured, or murdered, for who they are, what they do, how they dress, whom they love, how they wash, how they worship, how they look, where they live. Because today I have no doubt that with enough self will run riot, I could have become one of these persons, done any of these things. There for the grace of God go I.
Others, I cannot change. Myself, with the help of my Higher Power, I can. I am grateful today I was given the wisdom to know the difference. It is a deep relief. In addition to relieving me of the obsession of wanting to understand the totality of everything (I hadn’t even seen I was being grandiose, so complete was the distortion), I can feel such gratitude that today I know what to do without needing to worry about why everything else was done. All I need to do is the next good, right, honest thing, whatever that might be.
For now, it happens to be to going bed. It really is as simple as that.
Day one — arrival
Day two — genocide memorial
Day three — the countryside
Day three — the PSI.org offices
Day three — malaria nets
Day four — you go, global girl
Day four — water purification
Day five — world malaria day
Day six — Women for Women International
Day six — Democratic Republic of Congo
Day six — heal Africa
Day seven — Sonrise
Day seven — Dushishoze
Day seven — reflections