On April Fools’, three friends shared with me three truths.
Truth A: Accept good intentions. This comes to you at some points during your Tufts experience when you inevitably have an argument about whether human nature is good or bad. From a dear friend:
“Most people don’t intend to hurt others. Even the most wicked characters in history simply wanted good for themselves and the people they care about. Yet deep down we are well aware that ALL of us have the ability and potential to hurt each other, and we inevitably do.”
Alas, the gap between intention and reality is vast. The problem is not that people are bad, it is that good people unknowingly end up doing bad things. We will get hurt, even though no one intends to hurt us. So what do we do? We go about life putting up walls. Which brings me to Truth B: bending the beam of attention back to ourselves.
“If we worry about how much of the budget governments spend on defense, think about how much of our energy many of us spend on defending ourselves. If we worry about the U.S. President putting up walls against Mexico, think about the enormous walls we put around ourselves every day against those around us.”
Where do these walls come from? The bricks of fear. From fear of having nothing to feed ourselves to fear of not being enough, from fear of misunderstanding to fear of hurting others. Given how complaints and cynicism are all-time favorites in college, we should bend the beam of attention back onto ourselves and realize that we are part of the very system we like to criticize. So much critical thinking, not enough critical hoping. Which brings me to Truth C: checking in with the body.
“The academic building at Tufts that has seen most tears is perhaps the Department of Drama and Dance.”
It is not because the classes are so brutal that they bring students to tears. It is because performing arts have an uncanny way of bringing out what our body knows but has not yet been able to articulate. Good performaning art teaches us to not shy away from these feelings but rather to embrace them.
I’ve indeed seen many tears on the dance stage, and it scares me how easily we ignore how much our body has to hold. Joy, pain, excitement, anxiety, intelligence, stupidity … all live there. Despite the walls we put around ourselves, we still accumulate physical and emotional wears and tears just from going through everyday life. Yet we rarely give our body the attention it needs to explore, process and heal. Our emotions either leak out as passive aggression or explode as a tantrum. Who bears the damage? The people around us whom we least intend to hurt. See how it goes back to Truth A? If we could listen more to our bodies, our life and the lives of others we interact with would be much richer.
There you go, the ABC Truths — Accept good intentions, Bend attention back and Check in with your body. Happy April Wise. Please share your truths with me at bit.ly/dearJumbo.