I have so much on my mind relative to this matter of *will,* this post took on a will of its own and began growing too long too fast! So this will be the first of two, maybe even three, parts. I’ve realized in recent months that so many situations needing healing trace back to this matter of will and how various people tend to use theirs, so discussing it seemed the thing to do.
Will has actually been a theme of ongoing learning for me, my entire life. As a little girl growing up in a male-dominated family of “dramatic big people,” I lived amid strong-willed yang energy blasting regularly at high volume. Willful battles featuring loud, demeaning exchanges between my father and brothers were routine. Verbal abuse was the arsenal, with the target’s self-esteem firmly fixed in the cross-hairs. This was apparently my father’s misguided, old-school idea of how to dominate and control his kids… including me, too, when my teens years came along.
As you can imagine, what this accomplished was interpersonal alienation, hard feelings, and troubled relationships – not only within the family, but beyond it as well. And as much as I really hate to admit it, I also became skilled at verbal evisceration if pushed far enough. I can’t remember the last time I’ve actually let loose like that, but I can think of a couple of likely scenarios! It pains me to even think that there were times I felt so raw that I’d lash out with such acidic intention. When not managing will properly, a typical outcome for me was to let someone push and push with their bullying behavior until I’d finally explode in exactly the wrong way.
The hurtful willful attack on someone is like the terrible practice of “breaking” a horse (or dog, or any animal – or person!) by “breaking” its spirit into submission. The results are similar, regardless the specie: a broken, angry, resentful, distorted, oppressed, love-starved being, uncertain how genuine bonding works, because there’s been no foundation built for trust in life. Ugly, ugly business.
I’ve been portraying a typically dysfunctional family here, but when we zoom our lens out to include the shockingly dysfunctional, violent cultures spanning the globe – we’ve got nothing short of big, deep damage in all directions.
I hope these posts will bring to light how – often unconsciously – we might be exerting inappropriate willfulness over others, or – conversely – allowing others to overly dominate our relationships, be they personal, professional, or whatever the connection. The goal of course is to find the happy balance that is neither bulldozer nor doormat. Will and soul walk the same bridge together; harmony between them is key.
In this free-will system, it’s our privilege and responsibility to engage our individual wills honorably. This takes consciousness. It takes establishing the habit of monitoring how we feel in the present, and determining how to proceed in this awareness, with the intention to create or maintain peace, compassion, open-hearted connection, and the like.
Certain forms of willpower might be admired as necessary for achievement – “She’s such a go-getter!” – while willful demonstrations often are not (“He’s sucking all the oxygen out of the room!”) In part 2 we’ll look at common variations of these themes in everyday circumstances.
If I’ve been feeling the nudge to write about it here, perhaps it will serve you in some of your communications with others… and yourself!
Love to you… Whitehawk