H is for HARBOR
Harbor, a safe place. A haven. A cozy, perhaps comfy place that is tucked away, especially for boats and ships.
Harbor, to hold on to a feeling, often perceived to be negative, as “he harbored feelings of dread when he was faced with rice pudding.” OK, joke. I couldn’t resist.
A boat is safe in its harbor, but that’s not why boats are made. I don’t know who first said that but I agree. Sail on, venture forth, tally ho.
My mother was born in a small town. She lived almost her entire life there, and died a few miles from where she was born. I have traveled and moved so many times that I’m surprised that I don’t have an allergy to cardboard boxes. Some of my moves involved letting go of things (not my strongest or often used ability). When I decided to move from Northern California back to Southern California, I let go of everything except what fit into my very small car and a cart that some friends hooked onto their car to help with the move. The thing that seemed to most distress Mom was the fact that I was letting go of my bed. She said that was part of our security in life, having a bed to sleep in at night. I can understand what she meant, because Mom was a worrier. (One time when I was visiting, we went to her car to go out shopping and “a bite to eat”. Mom said, “I hope we don’t have a flat.” I asked if there was a problem with the tires. “No, I just don’t want us to have a flat.” Well, me either, and I also hoped that a herd of cows wouldn’t chase us (we were in Kansas, after all) or that a tornado would carry us away. (BTW, the skies were clear and there wasn’t a cow in sight.)
Anyway, back to the bed. I told Mom that I considered myself lucky. My security was nestled snug and soundly from my eyebrows up. That’s my harbor. No water, or bed, required.
Life is either always a tightrope or a feather bed. Give me the tightrope. —Edith Wharton
Now for the other kind of harbor. About feelings, and attitudes, and prejudice and emotions. Lots of that going on right now, although I don’t think it ever goes away. Sometimes we cruise along peacefully, sometimes we simmer, sometimes we boil over. There is an especially big flare going on right now. Past flares: Salem witch trials. The unjust internment of Japanese living in the U.S. during WW2. September 11, 2001. Part of the human condition is to have our feelings, emote our emotions and (sometimes) harbor them as though they are precious and dear.
It doesn’t seem to me that we harbor our thoughts. We have thoughts, we express them, on a good day we might examine them to see if they still hold water or if they are looney-tunes stupid, non-productive or shameful.
Have you ever said, “if it’s good enough for ________, it’s good enough for me?” I hope not. I think that is such a limiting statement/belief to have.
I imagine that most of us don’t even know what negative thoughts/beliefs we may be [secretly] harboring until something happens that shakes us up. Life the recent attacks in Paris. And the recent surge of refugees fleeing Syria for what they perceive as a place to harbor, a country where they can find shelter and a degree of safety that has not been the case in their homes for the last five years. Are you suddenly afraid of letting people who don’t look like you/speak your language/worship in a different way leave the hell hole of war in search of harbor? Have you been harboring buried but now emerging prejudicial thoughts?
I am lucky. I have traveled. I know people from other countries. There are people I love who have a tremendously different background, heritage, and culture from mine. That doesn’t mean that I, or others who have been educated by being exposed to other ways of being, have a monopoly on compassion and acceptance. However, I do believe that travel holds a key to greater peace, love and understanding.
Harbor as a safe place is a noun. It is also a verb. Right now, I mentally verbalize (well, “type”) that I am setting my intention to dig deep, examine whatever nasty negatives I am harboring and replace that verb with much HAPPIER, HOMEGENEOUS and HEALTHY positives. May my new verb(age) be HARMONIOUS and HEARTY. HALLELEUJA! Now is not the time to be haphazard, or to take half-measures. If we want to reap the good, let’s start with a heap of healing.
How about we celebrate and embrace the HEALTHY and eliminate and dissolve the hindrance of hate? Let’s all be harbingers of peace and help each other reach higher ground. You can HINT, or you can HOLLER. Either way, make it a holy, happy habit. Namaste.