I've only recently become a huge Leonard Cohen fan - he seems to have lived through a couple of winters, but I don't know the detail. I've started to read bits and pieces, and he doesn't seem anywhere near as dark as what I had heard. In fact he seems to me like a crusader for hope and love!
"I finally broke into the prison
I found my place in the chain
Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows"
Having said the above, we must do risk assessment and risk management. It would be foolish to not take into account historical words and behaviour from those that may intend to harm us. You can't help someone by allowing them to abuse you. You do have to prepare mentally and physically for potential attacks.
What I'm doing here is admitting to the fact that I spend way too much time thinking about what other people might be thinking and what they might say if I choose certain words or actions, or judging me harshly for historical screw-ups. I'm making a statement to myself, and you, here that I want to break that habit, 'cause there's not a lot I can do to influence you if you already think I'm making a mess of my life, and/or effecting yours in some way. I'm hoping that a more constructive less painful way to live and be is to plan some positive detail for where I want to go right now and into my future, and that if it's interfering with your free will, I guess you will let me know. And if I can change my words and behaviour so that we are both cruising along OK, sharing the universe as harmoniously as possible, then I'll sort it out the best I can. Like I've said before, I would rather leave you alone than deliberately annoy you.
If you are going to attack me I can cope a little better these days with your icy wind, for a few reasons.
1. You can't possibly be as tough on me as I am on me [have a look at the research on the percentage of self-talk that is putting yourself down], so it often helps me see my own self-inflicted pain and at times I can laugh at myself in the face of you thinking you are telling me something new. Regardless of if it's new or not, hearing it may just be the catalyst that gets me to take one more step up my personal differentiation ladder.
2. When you pick on me I often see rainbows (not that I go looking for abuse, though sometimes in hindsight it seems exactly that way), I get to see light bouncing from angles and objects I had not noticed.
3. I'm deliberately taking advice that seems counter intuitive at first.
"If a dog runs at you, whistle for it" Tara Brach
"Lean into the sharp points" Pema Chodron
I'm not on a mission to be different to you just for the sake of difference. It's a lot of fun finding things in common and then exploring those interests together. And if there is going to be some differential competition, then hopefully it's a reciprocally altruistic party! I want to inspire you, and I want you to encourage me to test the limits of fun and science, for the sake of experience, not difference or competition just to find out who is marginally 'better'. I want less pain and more pleasure.
I'm with Epicurus on pleasure and other things...
"Nothing is enough for the man to whom enough is too little."
I'll keep working on simplifying everything to the bare minimum, not to impress anyone, but to get more space and fun from the basics of life like good cheese and bread, and a breath of salty air. I'll always choose half the cheese with twice the quality...
Duck takes a slow breath to appreciate every tiny thing he already has