The Cultural Baggage of Good People

Written by Matthias

We start alone on Valentine’s Day. What thoughts come to your mind? Do you expect a story of depression, loneliness, pining? That’s what I expected, too, as I took a mindful lone walk around my neighborhood, surrounded by decorations and encountering couples.

The bright red heart, beating fast, flushing red, an historic symbol, carrying notions forward, letting some fall away as they interface with us to bring about the new. I decipher my reactions to the symbol, physical and non; how they incline me to feel and behave in particular ways.

I see the overall experience as learning a language–you feel nervous and alien, but the best approach is immersion. Focus on the physical sensation; can I recognize what I physically feel without naming it? I dive through each layer to reach the core.

Sit with any one sensation and it all becomes intense. What is the difference between chills and sex? What filters must be set in place to make such distinctions?

The wind turns my cheeks red. I stroke the rosemary, wondering how often she is touched. She smells wonderful. We take from her to mimic what one can only dream to achieve.

I assume my human touch is prioritized, forgetting the family that lives on and around her. She did not give birth to them–she is, and they come. Some of her family visits from far and wide, perhaps they move in together, but they pick up on her, find her, and do not forget her.

I did not ask before touching. My filters say that I should have. I received no negative feedback. Is this good? Is this right? Is this OK? Am I OK? Am I a good person?

You get (or got) good grades, you help around the house, you donate, you raise awareness, you follow so many communities, you socialize, you bring hits of joy to others, your record is clean. You reflect on your mental health. You spend so much time in your head, you don’t realize how oblivious you’ve become.

The bright red heart, its field surrounds me, and how often do I check on it? It longs to connect only with the ones who can make it expand. They only touch me because I have asked. In return, I have assumed what they will accept from me. I excused myself, and so they let me.

I know nothing of joy, peace, harmony, generosity, kindness, love. I aspire to nothing and yet I must take the first step. Tears shed are superficial reflections, but water fosters all life. Maybe then, the rosemary will grow.

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